Be alert of possible abuses during your journey. For more information consult this page
UNHCR cannot organize evacuations or otherwise facilitate, logistically or financially, the departure of any person who wishes to leave Ukraine.
Travel within the Schengen area and beyond
Ukrainian citizens and Ukrainian resident permit holders can travel in the Schengen area without biometric travel document or visa for up to 90 days.
Many European companies are offering free transport options for refugees fleeing Ukraine. For more information on this and on protection in the EU Member States please consult the following page: Information for people fleeing the war in Ukraine | European Commission (europa.eu)
Travel by public transport for entry or transit through the country is free. Once within Switzerland cantonal authorities can issue free public transport tickets for refugees who need to accomplish administrative procedures (including transport to a federal asylum centre). You can find more information here (and here in Ukrainian).
If you would like to travel to the United States of America or Canada, we invite you to approach the embassies of these countries in the country you are currently in. If you have family members in the UK and would like to join them there we invite you to check the following website.
Please note that UNHCR is not in a position to resettle or relocate you and your family from Switzerland to any other country.
Entry to Switzerland for Ukrainian nationals and Ukrainian resident permit holders
Given the current emergency Ukrainian citizens and Ukrainian resident permit holders can enter Switzerland without a biometric travel document or visa since 28th February 2022. They can stay on Swiss territory without a visa up to 90 days. During the 90-day stay, there is generally no entitlement to social welfare support and health insurance cover and without a visa it is in principle not possible to work. Those who wish to continue their stay in Switzerland after the 90 days without applying for asylum and who fulfil the conditions for legal residence can apply for a visa at the cantonal migration office.
For additional information please visit the dedicated page of Swiss migration authorities: Fragen und Antworten des SEM zum Krieg in der Ukraine (admin.ch); send an email at [email protected].
The Swiss Refugee Council has also put in place a hotline to answer your questions. You can reach it at the following number: +41 58 105 05 55 or send them a message via this contact form
You can also select the dedicated webpage of your Canton of residence in the following document to obtain more specific information provided by local competent authorities.
Asylum in Switzerland
It is not possible to apply for asylum in Switzerland from abroad. For making such a request, you must be present on Swiss territory or at its borders. Responsible for the examination of asylum requests is the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration. UNHCR has no formal role in the asylum procedure and generally does not intervene in individual asylum applications.
If you are currently in Switzerland and wish to apply for asylum you should go to the closest federal asylum center (BAZ) with processing facilities. Please find the list and address of Federal asylum centers here: Addresses (admin.ch)
For more information on the asylum procedure in Switzerland please consult the following websites:
- Information provided by the State Secretary for Migration: https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/asyl/asylverfahren/asylgesuch.html
- Information provided by the Swiss Refugee Council: https://www.refugeecouncil.ch/topics/asylum-in-switzerland/the-asylum-procedure
Please note that all asylum seekers have access to free legal counselling and representation.
On 11th March 2022 Swiss authorities activated a specific protection status, the so-called temporary Protection “Status S”. Refugees from Ukraine will obtain a 1-year long right of residence in Switzerland (renewable), without having to go through the standard asylum procedure.
Every person seeking protection should report to one of the Federal Asylum Centers (BAZ). The authorities examine here – whether the applicant belongs to the group of persons that can benefit from protection status S. This check takes a maximum of 1-3 days.
Federal asylum centers are open for registration of applicants for the protection Status S daily from 9 am to 4pm. You can find here a projection of the registration capacities for each federal asylum center: Homepage (admin.ch)
If you are arriving in Switzerland with a large group of people (more than 30) or with groups of vulnerable people (i.e. unaccompanied children, disabled people) you should contact the authorities by sending an email to [email protected] a few days before arriving at a federal asylum centre so that registration and sufficient accommodation can be organised for the group.
If you already have private accommodation you can alternatively book an appointment through this online platform. If you wish to remain in your current private accommodation after the registration process, you should fill in this form and bring it with you on the day of your appointment at the federal asylum centre. If you have questions you can contact [email protected].
When registering for protection status S you will have to fill out a form. Here you have the possibility to mention whether you have reasons for seeking protection additional to the general threats of the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine. Should this be the case, we strongly advise you to contact the legal aid service in the center and discuss with them whether to apply for asylum.
It is also very important that you already inform the Swiss authorities during the registration process, if you have specific needs. These are for instance health issues (illnesses or disabilities), if you feel you need psychosocial support or if you have experienced violence and abuse on your journey to come here.
After registration at the federal asylum center, beneficiaries of the status-S are assigned to a canton and accommodated free of charge in a cantonal center or with private hosts organized by the Swiss Refugee Council. Please find more information here. If you don’t have private accommodation you can expect to be accommodated in the federal asylum center for an initial period of at least 7 days.
The decision of allocation to a Canton will be communicated to you once you are granted protection status S. If you wish to change the Canton you have been allocated to, you should contact the SEM in writing (see this dedicated form) to explain your reasons within 30 days. Your statement should be sent to the address: State Secretariat for Migration SEM, Taskforce Kantonswechsel Ukraine, Quellenweg 6, 3003 Bern-Wabern. It should clearly indicate both the allocated and requested canton of residence and name all persons to be included in the change of canton.
Non-Ukrainian nationals seeking protection who were in possession of a valid residence permit for Ukraine until the outbreak of hostilities are granted protection status S under certain conditions. If third-country nationals who do not belong to the above-mentioned categories apply for protection in Switzerland, a standard asylum procedure is carried out. This ensures that all persons who need protection receive it.
If your application for protection status S is rejected but you cannot return safely to your country of origin, you can lodge an asylum application. Your application will then be examined through the standard asylum procedure.
N.B. The protection status S is not granted to persons who were already resident in Switzerland at the time of the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Those who, wish to remain in Switzerland with their family, beyond their current residence permit, will have to regularize their stay in application of the ordinary Swiss legislation (application for a renewal of residence permit or standard asylum procedure). Be aware that spouses or registered partners of EU/EFTA nationals or nationals of UK, Canada, US, New Zeeland or Australia, may not be granted protection status S, if Swiss authorities conclude that they can establish themselves safely in the partner’s home country. The protection Status S will also not be granted to those who have already obtain a protection status in another European country.
More information is available in Ukrainian and Russian here: Інформація для осіб з України, що потребують захисту (admin.ch)
If you need legal advice on the above you can also contact one of the free legal aid services available in your Canton of residence or get in touch with a cantonal bar association.
Under Swiss national law, family reunification for S status holders is possible with spouses/registered partners and underage children (under 18 y.o.). These family members can join beneficiaries of S status in Switzerland, where they will receive themselves S status upon arrival. For an overview of the right to family reunification for beneficiaries of other status, please see: https://www.refugeecouncil.ch/topics/asylum-in-switzerland/residence-status.
If you don’t know where your family is you can also contact the Swiss Red Cross Tracing Service. They have a hotline for the Ukraine situation: 0041 58 400 43 80 or they can be contacted by email: [email protected].
Have you travelled to Switzerland with your pets?
Dogs and cats brought by their owners may enter Switzerland even if not all import conditions are met. You should inform the authorities sending the dedicated form to the following address [email protected]
If you have another domestic animal with you, you should contact as soon as possible the veterinary service in the Canton you are currently located. Please consult the list of contacts here . The information is also available in Ukrainian here.
For additional queries please consult the webpage of the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office: Travelling with pets (admin.ch)