Switzerland and Liechtenstein - Consular Information Sheet
September 4, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTIONS: Switzerland is a highly developed
democracy. Liechtenstein is a democratically run constitutional
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport is required for travel
to both Switzerland and Liechtenstein. A visa is not required
for U.S. citizens for stays of up to 90 days in either country.
For more information on entry requirements for both countries,
travelers may contact the Embassy of Switzerland at 2900 Cathedral
Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 745-7900,
or the nearest
Swiss Consulate General in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los
Angeles, New York, or San Francisco. Additional information for
both countries is available at http://www.swissemb.org.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated new procedures at entry/exit points. These procedures
often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and
permission for a child to travel, if the parent(s) or legal guardian
is not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not
required, may facilitate entry/departure.
DUAL NATIONALITY: U.S. citizens who are also considered
by the Swiss Government to have Swiss citizenship may be subject
to compulsory military service and other requirements while in
Switzerland. Those who might be affected should inquire at a Swiss
Embassy or Consulate regarding their status. In some instances,
dual nationality may hamper U.S. government efforts to provide
protection abroad. In addition to being subject to all Swiss laws
affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to
other laws that impose special obligations on Swiss citizens.
For additional information, see
CRIME: Switzerland has a low rate of violent crime. However,
pick-pocketing and purse snatching do occur in the vicinity of
train and bus stations, airports, and some public parks, especially
during peak tourist periods (such as summer and Christmas) and
when conferences, shows, or exhibits are scheduled in major cities.
Liechtenstein has a low crime rate.
Travelers may wish to exercise caution on trains, especially
on overnight trains to neighboring countries. Even locked sleeping
compartments can be entered by thieves, who steal from passengers
while they sleep. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport
should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest
U.S. Embassy or Consulate. U.S. citizens may refer to the Department
of State's pamphlet, A
Safe Trip Abroad to promote a more trouble-free journey.
The pamphlet is available from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, and via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Good medical care is widely available.
Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical
evacuation to the United States can cost many thousands of dollars.
Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior
to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas
and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs
incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage
is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do
not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance
plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including
emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme
difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your
trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare
provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses
you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage,
including provision for mountain rescue and/or medical evacuation,
is strongly advised, particularly for those who plan to participate
in mountain activities (summer or winter). Rescue insurance is
available inexpensively in Switzerland. Information can be obtained
from the Swiss National Tourist Office or the U.S. Embassy in
Bern. Such insurance has proved useful as uninsured rescues can
easily cost $25,000 or more.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad,
or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for International
Travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via their Internet
site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Switzerland and Liechtenstein is provided for
general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular
location or circumstance.
Safety of public transportation: Excellent
Urban road conditions/maintenance: Excellent
Rural road conditions/maintenance: Excellent
Availability of roadside assistance: Excellent
Although many roads are mountainous and winding, road safety
standards are high. In some mountain areas, vehicle snow chains
are required in winter. Road travel can be more dangerous during
summer, winter holidays, and Whitsunday weekend (late spring)
because of increased traffic. Travel on highways (indicated by
green signs with a white highway symbol) requires purchase of
a sticker ("vignette") which must be affixed to the
car's windshield. Vignettes can be purchased at most border crossing
points and at Swiss post offices. Drivers using the highway system
without a vignette are subject to hefty fines levied on the spot.
All forms of public transportation in Switzerland and Liechtenstein
are generally excellent.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Swiss civil aviation authority's oversight
of Switzerland's air carrier operations as category 1 -- in compliance
with international aviation safety standards.. For further information,
travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within
the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the
FAA Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/
avr/iasa/index/htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately
assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official
providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy
on specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon at 703-697-7288.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Switzerland's customs authorities
encourage the use of an ATA (Admission Temporair/Temporary Admission)
Carnet for the temporary admission of professional equipment,
commercial samples, and/or goods for exhibitions and fair purposes.
ATA Carnet Headquarters, located at the
U.S. Council for International Business, 1212 Avenue of the
Americas, New York, N.Y. 10036, issues and guarantees
the ATA Carnet in the United States. For additional information
call 212-354-4480, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or visit
http://www.uscib.org for details.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: U.S. citizens are subject to the laws
of the country in which they are traveling. Sometimes these laws
can differ significantly from those in the United States and may
not afford the protections available to individuals under U.S.
law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in
the United States for similar offenses. In Switzerland and Liechtenstein,
penalties for possession, use, and dealing in illegal drugs are
strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on the international adoption of children, international
parental child abduction, and international child support enforcement
issues, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/childrens-issues.html
or tel. (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION AND EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: U.S.
citizens may register and obtain updated information on travel
and security within Switzerland at the locations below:
The U.S. Embassy in Bern is located at Jubilaeumstrasse 93,Telephone
(41)(31) 357-7011, FAX (41)(31) 357-7280.
The 24 hours emergency telephone number is (41)(31) 357-7218.
Embassy website at http://www.us-embassy.ch answers many questions
of interest to Americans visiting and residing in Switzerland.
The U.S. Consular Agency in Zurich is located at the American
Center of Zurich, Dufourstrasse 101, 8008 Zurich, telephone (41)(1)
422-2566, FAX(41) (1) 383-9814.
The U.S. Consular Agency in Geneva is located at the American
Center Geneva, 7 Rue Versonnex, 1207 Geneva, telephone (41)(22)
840-5160, fax (41)(22) 840-5162.
U.S. Consular Agencies offer limited consular services to U.S.
There is no U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Liechtenstein. For assistance
and information on travel and security in Liechtenstein, U.S.
citizens may contact or register at the U.S. Embassy in Bern at
the address above.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated September
9, 1999, to update information on Medical Insurance and Traffic
Safety and Road Conditions.