British Ambassador to Switzerland
We support the important links between Britain and Switzerland. We develop trade,investment and financial cooperation and work with the Swiss government on a range of international issues. (We also cover Liechtenstein remotely.)
Through our public affairs team we offer a wide range of information services to the general public, schools, universities, government departments and the media. Our Science and Innovation (SIN) Section works with UK stakeholders, local Swiss partners and SIN colleagues elsewhere in Europe on targeted activities, designed to facilitate science collaboration and R&D business deals.
We provide full consular, nationality and notarial services for the whole of Switzerland and provides an emergency passport service. Visas are issued at the British Consulate-General in Paris. We also represent the UK’s interests in Liechtenstein.The British Embassy is also the NATO Contact Point Embassy for Switzerland in 2013-14.
Out-of-hours emergency assistance
British nationals who need emergency assistance outside normal office hours should call +41 (0)31 359 77 00 where they will be given details on how to proceed and how to contact a duty officer if needed.
Emergency travel documents
If you have an urgent need to travel and your passport is not available, you may be able to apply for an Emergency Travel Document (ETD). You can book an appointment online at the following British Embassy in Switzerland:
If you plan to travel before the first available appointment, please call us on 031 359 77 00. (local call) or 0041 31 359 77 00 (if calling from an overseas number).
General information about how to get an ETD if your UK passport is lost,stolen or is otherwise unavailable due to visa application or passport renewal.
Urgent Travel for First Time Applicants
Please note that Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) can only ever be issued to First Time Applicants (FTAs - those who have never held a passport before) in very exceptional circumstances where there is an urgent need to travel and there are serious and unforeseen compassionate issues.
If the traveller is a dual national, you will first need to fully explore all other options, ie travelling on / applying for another passport, before we will consider your application for a FTA ETD.
The British Embassy in Berne, therefore, will not accept or process FTA ETD applications unless we are completely satisfied there is an urgent need to travel and the applicant is eligible. You should also be aware that the process of determination will take longer in these cases.
We advise applicants to apply for a full validity passport as soon as you can. To speed up the process make sure you have all the documents needed for a local Swiss Birth Certificate in order not to delay the passport application process. In that regard, we recommend liaising with your local registry office ahead of the birth in order to find out about the administrative process and documents.
For information on how to apply for your first passport or renew an existing passport, please visit the passport section of this website.
Please note that our Consular section cannot deal with individual enquiries about passport applications.
For information on whether you require a visa for the United Kingdom and how to apply go to the UK Border Agency website
Please note that our Consular section cannot deal with individual enquiries about visa applications. For all visa enquiries, please contact the UK Border Agency.
Notarial and documentary services
Information about official documents, certificates and notes available at the Consular section Berne.
Registering a birth or death
Understanding your legal requirements in Switzerland and how you can register a birth or death, and information on legal documents for couples marrying or marrying or entering into civil partnerships abroad.
List of lawyers and interpreters
A list of English speaking lawyers and interpreters who may be able to help you with official transactions in Switzerland. Please note that inclusion in this list does not constitute official endorsement by the British Embassy or the UK government.
Guides we produce
We also produce guides for British nationals who need information about services that are not provided by the Consular section, but that you may find useful in specific circumstances.
- Living in Switzerland – a general set of information and links for British nationals who live in Switzerland.
How else we can help
In addition to the services listed above we can also:
provide information about transferring funds
provide appropriate help if you have suffered rape or serious assault, are a victim of other crime, or are in hospital
help people with mental illness
do all we properly can to contact you within 24 hours of being told that you have been detained
offer support and help in a range of other cases, such as child abductions, death of relatives overseas, missing people and kidnapping
contact family or friends for you if you want
make special arrangements in cases of terrorism, civil disturbances or natural disasters
UK law says we have to charge for some services. Details of our current fees and the standards of service you can expect to receive are on display in all our consular offices
What our consular section cannot do for you
Although we try to help British nationals in a wide range of situations, we cannot:
get you out of prison, prevent the local authorities from deporting you after your prison sentence, or interfere in criminal or civil court proceedings
help you enter a country, for example, if you do not have a visa or your passport is not valid, as we cannot interfere in another country’s immigration policy or procedures
give you legal advice, investigate crimes or carry out searches for missing people, although we can give you details of people who may be able to help you in these cases, such as English-speaking lawyers
get you better treatment in hospital or prison than is given to local people
pay any bills or give you money (in very exceptional circumstances we may lend you some money from public funds, which you will have to pay back)
make travel arrangements for you, or find you work or accommodation
make business arrangements on your behalf
Travel advice for Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Travel advice for Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Information, news and updates for Switzerland and Liechtenstein to ensure you stay safe, avoid problems, and make informed decisions when living or travelling in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Deputy Head of Mission, Switzerland