Every country has its own rules and regulations for entry and stay of non-nationals. As a general rule, while you prepare your relocation to CERN, you should contact the Swiss and the French embassy or consulate in your country to learn about the Swiss and French entry rules. That way you will find out whether or not you will need a long-stay visa (for more than 90 days).
You must get visas before arriving at CERN – it is advisable to start the process 2 to 3 months in advance. If you don’t know in advance where you will live you should get visas for France and for Switzerland.
You will need a CERN Letter of Invitation which should include all your family’s names. The CERN secretariat office where the employee will work arranges for this letter. If your family is relocating with you their names must match on the Letter of Invitation and passports.
Generally, if you are a national of an EU or EFTA country, you will not need a visa for either France or Switzerland. But there are exceptions for new member states of the EU such as Romania and Bulgaria, whose nationals still need a visa.
Canadian and US citizens
If you are a Canadian or US citizen, you will not need a visa for a stay up to 90 days. However, you should not leave Canada or the US without a Visa if you are here for more than 90 days.
US Consular Information can be found on our Finance page.
US Passport Renewals: The US Consulate office in Geneva does all the processing for those living in the local region in France and in Switzerland. Call to schedule your visit, or do it all by mail via express mail with a prepaid return envelope. Turnaround time: approximately 1 week.
The Consulate advises that you renew your passports at least 6 months in advance of its expiration date as passports must be valid for at least 6 months when entering Switzerland. They will also process passport renewals for those living near Geneva in France.
The Consulate requires an official passport photos (the paper is critical). There is a photo shop across the street from them.
Consular Agency Geneva
Located at: rue Versonnex 7, 1207 Geneva, Switzerland +41 22 840 51 60
Mailing Address: c/o U.S. Mission,
11, rte. de Pregny,
10:00 until 13:00, Monday through Friday
E-mail: Geneva-CA@state.gov closed on American and Swiss holidays