Guidance

Switzerland: notarial and documentary services

How someone in Switzerland can get documents united, witnessed or certified, take an oath of British citizenship and view informative notes.

Overview

The British embassy can provide a range of notarial and documentary services for British nationals in Switzerland.

Where local notaries can provide services, the British consulate will not provide them. In many cases local notaries or lawyers can provide services more cheaply, quickly and conveniently.

Some services may be available by post. You must make an appointment for each service that requires your personal attendance. Please use the links after each service to make an appointment.

Before booking, make sure you have selected the correct service and that the document will be accepted by the relevant authority. This could be the local town hall, registry office, tax authorities, immigration office or another authority either in Switzerland, the UK or a third country.

At the bottom of this page you can also find some Informative Notes which you can print off and present to Swiss authorities if they require an explanation of certain UK laws.

Services we provide in Switzerland

Consular staff in Switzerland can:

Customers must provide written confirmation from the requesting authority and the applicant that no other alternative notarial body can perform this act. We will only then consider your application for notarial services. If you cannot provide us with this proof, we are unable to conduct this service.

If you can’t find the service you are looking for on this page including further below, please see more services provided by the British Embassy in Switzerland.

What to bring to your appointment

See the individual services below for details of supporting documents to bring. Make sure you have acceptable proof of address and identity, and payment for any fees. See the full list of consular fees.

Payment

We accept payment by Visa, MasterCard, Maestro or cash in the local currency on the day of the appointment.

Proof of address and identity

For all appointments for notarial services you will need to bring acceptable proof of your identity and address.

We accept passports as proof of identity.

We accept Swiss residence permit, utility bill, rental agreement or tax return as proof of your address.

Administer an oath, affirmation or affidavit

This service is for people who need to swear an oath, make an affirmation or make an affidavit in front of a consular officer. The Embassy has a prepared document for you, which will state your name, current residential address and civil status. This service is for non-marriage purposes only. It applies to customers who need to provide a declaration of civil status to the local authorities (in English, German, French or Italian). Please be aware that we do not handle wills or probate nor do we witness Deed Polls.

What you will need to bring with you:

Customers must provide written confirmation from the requesting authority and the applicant that no other alternative notarial body can perform this act. We will only then consider your application for notarial services. If you cannot provide us with this proof, we are unable to conduct this service.

Book an appointment for an oath, affirmation or affidavit at the Embassy in Berne

Witness a signature

Please be aware that the Consular Officer will ONLY carry out this act if no alternative service provider can be found (notary or lawyer). We do not handle wills or probate nor do we witness Deed Polls. This service applies to anyone who requires their signature to be witnessed by a Consular Officer. This document should only be signed before a Consular Officer.

The British embassy does not accept responsibility for the contents of the document. Please contact the Consular Section before you book your appointment.

Please do not sign the document before your appointment.

What you will need to bring with you:

Customers must provide written confirmation from the requesting authority and the applicant that no other alternative notarial body can perform this act. We will only then consider your application for notarial services. If you cannot provide us with this proof, we are unable to conduct this service.

Book an appointment for witness a signature at the Embassy in Berne

Make a certified copy of a document

This service is for customers who need certified photocopies of British passports, Home Office registration/naturalisation certificates, UK educational documents (only those that have been issued in the UK by a recognised institution and are listed on the Legalisation Office website and which are required to be sent to the FCO Legalisation Office), British driving licences and British divorce decrees.

Customers must provide written confirmation from the requesting authority and the applicant that no other alternative notarial body can perform this act. We will only then consider your application for notarial services. If you cannot provide us with this proof, we are unable to conduct this service. For more information, please see our Informative Note.

Once you have booked an appointment request you will receive an email from us requesting a scan of the document(s) in question, as well as written evidence mentioned above, to ensure that we can conduct this service. We will only then confirm the appointment.

Please be aware that if you attend the consulate without emailing beforehand, your appointment will not be confirmed and we cannot guarantee that we can perform the service requested.

What you will need to bring with you:

Customers must provide written confirmation from the requesting authority and the applicant that no other alternative notarial body can perform this act. We will only then consider your application for notarial services. If you cannot provide us with this proof, we are unable to conduct this service.

Book an appointment for a certified copy of a document at the Embassy in Berne

Unite documents

This service joins documents together using ribbon and a seal and is usually only needed for legal reasons.

What you will need to bring with you:

Customers must provide written confirmation from the requesting authority and the applicant that no other alternative notarial body can perform this act. We will only then consider your application for notarial services. If you cannot provide us with this proof, we are unable to conduct this service.

Book an appointment for uniting documents at the Embassy in Berne

Other services we provide

Civil Status Declaration for Marriage

This service is usually required for a British national not resident in Switzerland and getting married in Switzerland.

Please check with your local registrar for other documentary requirements.

This service is done while you wait. The certificate will be issued in the language of the Canton in which you are planning to get married.

What you will need to bring with you:

Customers must provide written confirmation from the requesting authority and the applicant that no other alternative notarial body can perform this act. We will only then consider your application for notarial services. If you cannot provide us with this proof, we are unable to conduct this service.

Book an appointment for an oath, affirmation or affidavit at the Embassy in Berne

Informative Notes

The following informative notes are required for a variety of notary and bureaucratic procedures in Switzerland. Should the Swiss authorities need an explanation of English law, you will need an informative note. These notes cannot be personalised. You can print the note and give it to the Swiss authorities.

Change of name in the UK

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email webmaster@digital.fco.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Civil partnerships in the UK

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Common-law spouses in the UK

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Dual nationality in the UK

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Family certificate and civil status in the UK

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Recognition or validity of marriage in the UK

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Military service in the UK

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Nationality: confirmation of British nationality

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Nationality: Holder of a British Passport

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UK passport number changes with passport renewal

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Holder of two passports in the UK

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Services provided elsewhere

We no longer provide life certificates for British nationals claiming a British pension abroad. Please refer to the list of people working in a recognised profession who can do this for you.

Data protection

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office holds and uses data for purposes notified to the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act 1998. Such personal data may be disclosed to other UK government departments and public authorities.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy / consulate by the relevant authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. Accordingly the FCO and the British embassy / consulate will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. For all notarial and legalisation services it is the responsibility of the customer to ascertain the precise requirements of the person requesting the notarial or legalisation service and to satisfy themselves that the service provided by the embassy/consulate will be accepted.

Published 5 April 2013
Last updated 2 June 2015 + show all updates
  1. Added informative notes that can be printed and presented to Swiss authorities.
  2. Change appointment booking process for British Embassy Berne to online system.
  3. Process for Life Certificates added
  4. First published.