Switzerland is a landlocked republic situated in Western-Central Europe. Geographically divided between the Alps, it borders Italy to the south, Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east, and France to the West.
The breathtaking Swiss Alps dominate the majority of the terrain, though most of the eight million people live on the plateau. The two most populated and economically important cities are Geneva and Zurich. There are four official languages: German, French, Italian, and Romansh.
A prosperous and stable modern country, it has low unemployment, a well-educated population, and the the highest GDP per capita in Western Europe.
Switzerland has one of the most peaceful histories in Europe due to its policy of armed neutrality. It has not been in a state of war since 1815. In addition, it is the birthplace of the Red Cross and continues to be involved in peace-building processes around the world.
Switzerland as part of the Schengen Area
Although Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, it is tied to the political and economic block in many aspects.
Switzerland is one of the few non-EU countries to be a part of the Schengen Area. This means that there is free of movement without the need for a visa. There are effectively no borders between Switzerland and their EU neighbors.
This means that a Europe travel visa for Switzerland is only necessary for citizens traveling to Switzerland from countries outside of the Schengen zone. These countries fall into two categories: ETIAS eligible countries and countries who require a Schengen visa (as opposed to an ETIAS visa for Switzerland).
In addition to forming a part of the Schengen Area, Switzerland is also a part of the European single market and has signed a number of treaties which are cornerstones of EU and international law.
Switzerland’s stunning scenery and diverse culture makes a it a popular tourist attraction. Outdoor mountain activities such as skiing and hiking in the Swiss Alps are one of its main draws. Switzerland’s bustling cities such as Zurich and Geneva as well as its quaint, picturesque mountain towns also showcase different sides of Switzerland’s varied culture and heritage.
What to see and do in Switzerland?
Yodelling and cuckoo clocks are synonymous with Switzerland, but unless you actively search for these things they are unlikely to form a meaningful part of any trip there.
Switzerland’s jaw-dropping landscapes which include jutting, snow-tipped mountains, vast lakes, vibrant vineyards, and long valleys provide an unforgettable backdrop for outdoor activities.
Aside from skiing, snowboarding and hiking, you can go white-water rafting, parachuting, hot-air ballooning and mountaineering. Whether you want the relax and enjoy the views, or are looking for an adrenaline-fuelled rush, there is something for everyone in Switzerland.
As well as natural beauty, there is also Switzerland’s rich culture to discover in its towns and cities. Bern, the capital, is known for its medieval old town and world-class modern art scene. Zurich is famed for its cool bars and nightlife. Basel is renowned for its striking, Germanic architecture, and throughout the country you can discover a blossoming modern gastronomy scene.
Smaller towns and villages are characterized by traditional markets, seasonal celebrations, fairs, and food, and idyllic timber chalets. Tradition is rooted in the agricultural calendar and each season has its own distinct flavor.
ETIAS requirements for Switzerland
From January 2020, ETIAS will be a legal requirement for non-EU travelers entering Switzerland. The ETIAS for Switzerland will allow eligible citizens to travel to and around this great country for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
To obtain a Switzerland visa waiver there are certain requirements that each applicant must meet when completing the online ETIAS application.
The ETIAS application form requires the applicant to enter personal information, passport details, and asks some basic security questions regarding health and travel safety.
The ETIAS Switzerland form will be screened before the approved ETIAS visa waiver is sent to the applicant by email.