Swiss cards

Applicable à
General

The CERN administrative department responsible for issuing legitimation cards, i.e. the card service or the user's office, depends on the category of the staff member (see procedure paragraph 1 and the heading contacts, in the right-hand column, depending on the department concerned).

Index

1. Administrative responsibilities

2. First application

2.1 Necessary substantiating documentation

2.2 New arrivals

2.3 Special cases: holders of Swiss "permis" (residence or work permits)

2.3.1  For members of the personnel

2.3.2 For family members 

2.4 Processing of the application

3. Application for a "permis Ci" certificate

4. Renewal

4.1 Supporting documents 

4.2 Processing of the application (not applicable during anti COVID-19 measures at CERN, see above)

5. Removals from France to Switzerland

6. Removals from Switzerland to France

7. Reasons for changing cards

7.1 Promotion (for Staff Members only)

7.2 Change of name or nationality

8. Surrendering cards

8.1 Contract expiry

8.2 Continuation of the stay in Switzerland

8.3 Courtesy period

8.4 Unpaid special leave


The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAE) issues a carte de légitimation to members of the CERN personnel and their family members subject to the following conditions of award. 
Members of the personnel who hold a carte de légitimation enjoy immunity from jurisdiction in Switzerland in exercising their functions. 
In addition, a carte de légitimation (hereinafter referred to as Swiss card) entitles the holder to live in Switzerland and to travel within the Schengen Area without a visa.  

Conditions of award

To obtain a Swiss card, the general conditions relating to the contract of employment or of association are as follows:  

  • working time > 50 %
  • contract duration > 3 months
  • home institute located outside Switzerland.

The category of document issued differs according to the nationality and type of contract of the individual in question, as shown in the table below:

Nationality Category of Members of the Personnel Type of card Members of the family
Resident in Switzerland Resident in France
Not Swiss national Staff Members in grades 1 to 4 E card (violet)
 

The request for a Swiss card is mandatory for the spouse/partner and children who meet the following conditions of award:

  • they must not be of Swiss nationality,
  • they must live under the same roof* as the member of the personnel,
  • children must be unmarried and dependent on the member of the personnel.

The Swiss card request must be made at birth - When the children are no longer living under the same roof as the member of personnel, the card must be returned to the Cards Service who in turn will return it to the Swiss Mission, unless an exemption request is made in the event of studies abroad (article 2.5.1 of the Guidelines). In this case, the request must be completed and sent to the Cards Service / Users' Office (for Users, COAS or VISC) for validation and transmission to the Swiss Mission, who will take a decision regarding the request.

At the latest at the age of 25 years old, should they wish to remain in Switzerland, the children must return their card and must then apply for a residence permit themselves from the Office cantonal de la population et des migrations.

Family members wishing to take up gainful employment in Switzerland must apply for a 'permis Ci' certificate.

Family members living in France do not receive a Swiss card.

https://home.cern/news/official-news/cern/decision-no-longer-issue-legitimation-cards-family-members-personnel

Staff Members in grades 5 to 8
and Fellows
D card (brown)
Staff Members in grades 9 and 10 C card (pink)
Director-General and Directors B card (pink)
Associated members of the personnel
Users, Administrative Students, Technical Students, Doctoral Students, Cooperation Associates, Project Associates, Scientific Associates, Corresponding Associates, Visiting Scientists, Guest Professors and Trainees. 
P card (blue)
 
Swiss nationals

All members of the personnel who are Swiss nationals, regardless of their salary position and contract type, but excluding all other associated members of the personnel.

S card (green)

Swiss cards are not issued to family members. If they are not of Swiss nationality, they must apply for a residence permit from the Office cantonal de la population et des migrations.

N.B.

  • Staff members in Salary Bands Bc, Cc or Ce before 1st September 2016 keep their D-type carte de légitimation.
  • Apprentices who do not have Swiss nationality receive a permit under ordinary Swiss law.
  • * If member(s) of the personnel are officially separated or they no longer live under the same roof, they must contact hr-cards.support@cern.ch or users.office@cern.ch depending on their status to verify the impact on their family Swiss card(s).
Procédure

1. Administrative responsibilities

The administrative service responsible for the handling depends on the category of the member of the personnel concerned:

a. Staff Members (STAF), Fellows (FELL), Apprentices (APPR), Project Associates (PJAS), Scientific (SASS), Corresponding (CASS), Guest Professors (GPRO), Students (DOCT, TECH, ADMI) and Trainees (TRNE)

  • must contact the Cards Service for all affairs relating to Swiss cards, with the exception of the collecting of Swiss cards and filing of documents which must be done exclusively at the Registration Department (first floor of building 55) only in the afternoon.
  • Whatever the purpose of the deposit, it must be made in an envelope to the attention of the Card Office with the surname, first name and CERN ID of the person concerned and the reason for the deposit, e.g.: renewal, move, change of status, termination of contract, etc.

b. Users (USER), Cooperation Associate (COAS) and Visiting Scientists (VISC) must always contact the Users' Office that informs them also about the collecting of their Swiss card.

In the following text these responsibilities are referred to, according to the category of the member of the personnel.

2. First application

2.1 Necessary substantiating documentation

  Member of the personnel Spouse/Partner Child/Children
Photo taken by the CERN Registration Service
(The photograph appearing on the Swiss card will be the one taken upon issue of the CERN access card. Each family member applying for a Swiss card must visit the Registration Service to have their photograph taken.)
yes yes yes
A scanned photocopy of the passport or ID card (both sides) still valid 6 months before the expiration date. yes yes yes
A scanned photocopy of the Swiss visa (where applicable) yes yes yes
A scanned photocopy of the marriage certificate or partnership certificate (Document drafted in or translated into French, English, German, Spanish or Italian.) no yes no
A scanned photocopy of the birth certificate (Document drafted in or translated into French, English, German, Spanish or Italian.) no no yes

2.2 New arrivals

The procedure depends on the category of the member of the personnel concerned:

  1. Staff Members (STAF), Fellows (FELL), Apprentices (APPR), Project Associates (PJAS), Scientific (SASS), Corresponding (CASS), Guest Professors (GPRO), Students (DOCT, TECH, ADMI) and Trainees (TRNE):
    No further formalities to complete as new arrivals have already uploaded the substantiating documentation (scanned photocopy of their passport or ID card, visa if applicable) during the contract preparation phase.

  2. Users (USER), Cooperation Associate (COAS) and Visiting Scientists (VISC) must go to the Users' Office on the first day of their contract, presenting all necessary documentation for themselves and their family members, in order to apply for a Swiss card.

2.3 Special cases: holders of Swiss "permis" (residence or work permits)

2.3.1 For members of the personnel

Except for trainees and associated members of the personnel whose home institute is Swiss, members of the personnel must surrender their Swiss work or residence permit (e.g. "permis frontalier type G", "permis C" or "permis B") to the Cards Service upon taking up their appointment at CERN. The permit will be returned to the Swiss authorities along with the carte de legitimation application file.
Trainees (TRNE) with a standard permit (L, B or C) may retain it provided that they meet certain conditions, which are examined on a case-by-case basis by the Cards Service.

Associated members of the personnel whose home institute is Swiss must in all cases retain their standard Swiss permit or obtain one via their home institute. N.B. Non-European nationals who do not have the right to long-term residence in France are not entitled to a cross-border commuter (frontalier) permit (cf. the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration website). They are therefore obliged to reside in Switzerland if their home institute is Swiss.

2.3.2 For family members 

Under the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, family members who are nationals of a Member State of the European Union or European Free Trade Association and who are allowed to enter Switzerland on the grounds of family reunification may ask the Cantonal Population Office of their canton of residence to be issued with a residence permit (B permit) instead of a carte de légitimation. Family members who hold a permit are subject to Swiss law and are not entitled to privileges or immunities. (cf. section 2.3 of the Guidelines regarding the issuance of cartes de légitimation of the FDFA to staff members of international organisations, entry into force on 15 July 2015, amended on 15 March 2021).

Family members who already hold a Swiss ordinary permit may ask the Cantonal Population Office of their canton of residence to keep their permit instead of exchanging it for a carte de légitimation. Family members who hold a permit are subject to Swiss law and are not entitled to privileges or immunities. If the family members who are not nationals of a Member States of the EU or the EFTA decide to receive a carte de légitimation in exchange for their permit, this choice is absolute and must be done within two months of the principal beneficiary taking up their duties. (cf. section 4.1 of the Guidelines regarding the issuance of carte de légitimations of the FDFA to staff members of international organisations, entry into force on 15 July 2015, amended on 15 March 2021).

2.4 Processing of the application

The file is sent to the Swiss authorities electronically and the card will be issued within approximately 2-3 weeks.
Members of the personnel are informed of the arrangements for collecting their Swiss card dès réception de celle-ci par le service concerné (see procedure paragraphe 1).

3. Application for a "permis Ci" certificate

This work permit can only be requested for family members who wish to take up gainful employment in Switzerland and meet the conditions of award of a B, C, D, E or P-type legitimation document.

To this end, the applicant must complete the on-line application form, print it out, sign it and forward it to the Cards Service/Users' Office, depending on the member of the personnel category.

The "permis Ci" certificate is then sent directly to the applicant's home address – not via CERN – within a minimum of three weeks.

Additional information:

4. Renewal

The staff member is notified of the expiration of his/her card by automatic reminder approximately 40 days before the expiration date. Each family member's card must be renewed at the same time as the staff member's.

Applications for extensions can only be made four weeks before the card's expiry date, at the earliest. The card of each family member must be renewed at the same time as that of the member of the personnel.

4.1 Supporting documents

The staff member must file the following documents with the Registration Department (in Building 55) or the user's office, depending on the staff member's category (see procedure paragraph 1):

  • the carte de legitimation (and those of the family members where applicable),
  • a photocopy of both sides of each card,
  • a photocopy of the passport or ID card,
  • a recent, passport-format photograph if the cards were issued more than 4 years previously.

4.2 Processing of the application

Upon submission of the necessary supporting documents and if necessary, a certified copy of the carte de legitimation can be given to the staff member, but this is not valid for border crossings within the Schengen area.

The file is sent to the Swiss authorities and the card will be issued within approximately 2-3 weeks.
Members of the personnel are informed of the arrangements for collecting their Swiss card upon receipt by the department concerned, depending on the category of the staff member.

5. Removals from France to Switzerland

Firstly, the member of personnel must register their new private address via Changement d'adresse locale / Change of local address in EDH.

The HR Department is responsible for informing the Swiss mission of changes of private address. However, members of personnel are recommended by Swiss authorities to announce their arrival in Switzerland as well as any change of address with 14 days:

For information on the export/import formalities relating to personal effects and vehicles, please consult the web pages of the Installation Service.

N.B. For the member of the personnel, a removal from France to Switzerland does not require any change in the carte de legitimation.

The initial application procedure must be followed for family members who fulfill the conditions of award.

6. Removals from Switzerland to France

Firstly, the member of personnel must register their new private address via Changement d'adresse locale / Change of local address in EDH.​Where applicable, the Swiss cards of family members must be surrendered to If necessary, he/she must deposit the Swiss cards of his/her family members at the Registration Department in building 55 or at the Cards Service/Users' Office, depending on the member of the personnel category (see procedure paragraph 1), for cancellation.

The HR Department is responsible for informing the Swiss mission of changes of private address. However, members of the personnel are recommended by Swiss authorities to announce their departure from Switzerland as well as any change of address with 14 days:

For information on the formalities relating to the French card, see the corresponding procedure

For information on the export/import formalities relating to personal effects and vehicles, please consult the web pages of the Installation Service.

A departure certificate is mandatory for certain formalities relating to a departure from Switzerland (customs, insurance companies, etc.). It is valid for two months and can be issued no earlier than one month prior departure.

The procedures to follow are the following:

  • For members of the personnel leaving the Canton of Geneva, it is strongly recommended to:

  • For members of the personnel leaving the Canton of Vaud, it is strongly recommended to:

    • appear in person before the Contrôle de l'habitant of their local municipal authority (Commune) with their carte de légitimation du Département fédéral des Affaires étrangères.

N.B. For the member of the personnel, a removal from Switzerland to France does not require any change in carte de legitimation.

7. Reasons for changing cards

7.1 Promotion (for Staff Members only)

Promotion to grade 5 and grade 9 give rise to a change in Swiss card (except for Swiss nationals Staff Members, holders of S-type cards). Following their promotion, the concerned Staff Members are notified of the details by e-mail.

7.2 Change of name or nationality

Any change of name or nationality may give rise to a change in Swiss card. In such cases, please contact the Cards Service/Users' Office, depending on the member of the personnel category.

8. Surrendering cards

8.1 Contract expiry

Upon contract expiry, the cards of the member of the personnel and family members must be surrendered to the Registration Department in building 55) or to the Cards Service/Users' Office, depending on the member of the personnel category (see paragraph 1).
If necessary, the member of the personnel can be given a certified copy, in particular to facilitate the departure travel.

Surrendering these cards is a pre-condition for the issue of other documents by the Swiss authorities in the future (residence permits, etc.).

8.2 Continuation of the stay in Switzerland

Persons wishing to maintain their principal place of residence in Switzerland after expiry of their contract must apply for a residence permit either from the Office cantonal de la population et des migrations de Genève or from the Contrôle des habitants du canton de Vaud.

Under certain conditions, a courtesy period or a usual delay may be granted by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland. For further details, the members of the personnel may contact the Cards Service/Users' Office, depending on the member of the personnel category.

8.3 Courtesy period

People who require a visa for their stay in Switzerland must be in possession of a valid carte de légitimation when they leave the country. Departure must take place before the expiry of the courtesy period allowed by the Swiss authorities, i.e. 2 months following the end of the employment contract.
 
Applications to extend the validity of the carte de légitimation must be completed at least one month before its expiry in order to be sure that the person has it in their possession upon departure.
 
If travelling through another country in the Schengen Area en route to the destination country, the carte de légitimation must be presented to the border police along with the travel document (passport).
 
Upon arrival in the destination country, the carte de légitimation must be returned to the Swiss Permanent Mission, either by sending it back to CERN, or by handing it in to the local Swiss Embassy or Consulate.

8.4 Unpaid special leave

Members of the personnel who have been granted special leave or an authorised absence (unpaid) must surrender their card and those of family members before their leave period commences if it lasts more than 2 months and if they leave the local area.

Persons wishing to maintain their principal place of residence in Switzerland during their period of special leave must apply for a residence permit either from Office cantonal de la population et des migrations de Genève or from the Contrôle des habitants du canton de Vaud.

Révisions
No revision Modifications Approved
1 Applications for extensions can only be made six weeks before the card's expiry date, at the earliest.  11.03.2014
2 Documentation of Swiss cards for members of the personnel managed by the Users Office; details reagarding courtesy period granted at termination of contract.  10.11.2014
3 Members of the personnel are invited to contact the local authorities (Office cantonal de la population de Genève-OCPM) to register their new address. 02.02.2016
4 Guidelines regarding the issuance of FDFA legitimation cards (entry into force on 15 January 2016). 15.01.2016
5 Courtesy period for people who require a visa for their stay in Switzerland. 22.04.2016
6 New career structure on 01.09.2016. Council, 15.12.2015
7 Clarification for MPA whose home institute is Swiss. 19.12.2017
8 The Swiss card must be returned during a special leave or an authorised absence (unpaid) if it lasts more than 2 months. 08.03.2019
9 New special cases for family members holding or wishing a Swiss permit. 06.09.2019
10
Following a communication from the Swiss Mission, modification of the procedure for thefts and losses of Swiss cards. Two new forms for the declaration of loss or theft.
12.11.2019
11 Modification on paragraphs 5 and 6 (removal from France to Switzerland / Switzerland to France) 14.02.2020
12 Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no visa is currently issued by the French authorities. 18.05.2020
13 Visa type D applications are once again accepted by the French authorities. 17.06.2020
14 Addition of the form for a request for exemption from the obligation to return the legitimation card for children studying abroad     23.09.2020
15 Family members living in France do not receive a Swiss card 20.04.2021
16 If member(s) of the personnel are officially separated or they no longer live under the same roof, they must contact hr-cards.support@cern.ch or users.office@cern.ch depending on their status to verify the impact on their family Swiss card(s). 04.06.2021
17 Modification of the paragraphe 9.2: Members of the personnel who have been granted special leave or an authorised absence (unpaid) must surrender their card and those of family members before their leave period commences if it lasts more than 2 months and if they leave the local area. 30.06.2021
18 The Users' Office will be open to the public from 19th, July 2021 13.07.2021
19 The Lost and theft section has been transferred to a new procedure. Creation of an index. 02.08.2021
20 Update of paragraph 4. Renewal: Applications for extensions can only be made four weeks before the card's expiry date, at the earliest. 08.11.2021

General

The CERN administrative department responsible for issuing legitimation cards, i.e. the card service or the user's office, depends on the category of the staff member (see procedure paragraph 1 and the heading contacts, in the right-hand column, depending on the department concerned).

Index

1. Administrative responsibilities

2. First application

2.1 Necessary substantiating documentation

2.2 New arrivals

2.3 Special cases: holders of Swiss "permis" (residence or work permits)

2.3.1  For members of the personnel

2.3.2 For family members 

2.4 Processing of the application

3. Application for a "permis Ci" certificate

4. Renewal

4.1 Supporting documents 

4.2 Processing of the application (not applicable during anti COVID-19 measures at CERN, see above)

5. Removals from France to Switzerland

6. Removals from Switzerland to France

7. Reasons for changing cards

7.1 Promotion (for Staff Members only)

7.2 Change of name or nationality

8. Surrendering cards

8.1 Contract expiry

8.2 Continuation of the stay in Switzerland

8.3 Courtesy period

8.4 Unpaid special leave


The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAE) issues a carte de légitimation to members of the CERN personnel and their family members subject to the following conditions of award. 
Members of the personnel who hold a carte de légitimation enjoy immunity from jurisdiction in Switzerland in exercising their functions. 
In addition, a carte de légitimation (hereinafter referred to as Swiss card) entitles the holder to live in Switzerland and to travel within the Schengen Area without a visa.  

Conditions of award

To obtain a Swiss card, the general conditions relating to the contract of employment or of association are as follows:  

  • working time > 50 %
  • contract duration > 3 months
  • home institute located outside Switzerland.

The category of document issued differs according to the nationality and type of contract of the individual in question, as shown in the table below:

Nationality Category of Members of the Personnel Type of card Members of the family
Resident in Switzerland Resident in France
Not Swiss national Staff Members in grades 1 to 4 E card (violet)
 

The request for a Swiss card is mandatory for the spouse/partner and children who meet the following conditions of award:

  • they must not be of Swiss nationality,
  • they must live under the same roof* as the member of the personnel,
  • children must be unmarried and dependent on the member of the personnel.

The Swiss card request must be made at birth - When the children are no longer living under the same roof as the member of personnel, the card must be returned to the Cards Service who in turn will return it to the Swiss Mission, unless an exemption request is made in the event of studies abroad (article 2.5.1 of the Guidelines). In this case, the request must be completed and sent to the Cards Service / Users' Office (for Users, COAS or VISC) for validation and transmission to the Swiss Mission, who will take a decision regarding the request.

At the latest at the age of 25 years old, should they wish to remain in Switzerland, the children must return their card and must then apply for a residence permit themselves from the Office cantonal de la population et des migrations.

Family members wishing to take up gainful employment in Switzerland must apply for a 'permis Ci' certificate.

Family members living in France do not receive a Swiss card.

https://home.cern/news/official-news/cern/decision-no-longer-issue-legitimation-cards-family-members-personnel

Staff Members in grades 5 to 8
and Fellows
D card (brown)
Staff Members in grades 9 and 10 C card (pink)
Director-General and Directors B card (pink)
Associated members of the personnel
Users, Administrative Students, Technical Students, Doctoral Students, Cooperation Associates, Project Associates, Scientific Associates, Corresponding Associates, Visiting Scientists, Guest Professors and Trainees. 
P card (blue)
 
Swiss nationals

All members of the personnel who are Swiss nationals, regardless of their salary position and contract type, but excluding all other associated members of the personnel.

S card (green)

Swiss cards are not issued to family members. If they are not of Swiss nationality, they must apply for a residence permit from the Office cantonal de la population et des migrations.

N.B.

  • Staff members in Salary Bands Bc, Cc or Ce before 1st September 2016 keep their D-type carte de légitimation.
  • Apprentices who do not have Swiss nationality receive a permit under ordinary Swiss law.
  • * If member(s) of the personnel are officially separated or they no longer live under the same roof, they must contact hr-cards.support@cern.ch or users.office@cern.ch depending on their status to verify the impact on their family Swiss card(s).

Procedure

1. Administrative responsibilities

The administrative service responsible for the handling depends on the category of the member of the personnel concerned:

a. Staff Members (STAF), Fellows (FELL), Apprentices (APPR), Project Associates (PJAS), Scientific (SASS), Corresponding (CASS), Guest Professors (GPRO), Students (DOCT, TECH, ADMI) and Trainees (TRNE)

  • must contact the Cards Service for all affairs relating to Swiss cards, with the exception of the collecting of Swiss cards and filing of documents which must be done exclusively at the Registration Department (first floor of building 55) only in the afternoon.
  • Whatever the purpose of the deposit, it must be made in an envelope to the attention of the Card Office with the surname, first name and CERN ID of the person concerned and the reason for the deposit, e.g.: renewal, move, change of status, termination of contract, etc.

b. Users (USER), Cooperation Associate (COAS) and Visiting Scientists (VISC) must always contact the Users' Office that informs them also about the collecting of their Swiss card.

In the following text these responsibilities are referred to, according to the category of the member of the personnel.

2. First application

2.1 Necessary substantiating documentation

  Member of the personnel Spouse/Partner Child/Children
Photo taken by the CERN Registration Service
(The photograph appearing on the Swiss card will be the one taken upon issue of the CERN access card. Each family member applying for a Swiss card must visit the Registration Service to have their photograph taken.)
yes yes yes
A scanned photocopy of the passport or ID card (both sides) still valid 6 months before the expiration date. yes yes yes
A scanned photocopy of the Swiss visa (where applicable) yes yes yes
A scanned photocopy of the marriage certificate or partnership certificate (Document drafted in or translated into French, English, German, Spanish or Italian.) no yes no
A scanned photocopy of the birth certificate (Document drafted in or translated into French, English, German, Spanish or Italian.) no no yes

2.2 New arrivals

The procedure depends on the category of the member of the personnel concerned:

  1. Staff Members (STAF), Fellows (FELL), Apprentices (APPR), Project Associates (PJAS), Scientific (SASS), Corresponding (CASS), Guest Professors (GPRO), Students (DOCT, TECH, ADMI) and Trainees (TRNE):
    No further formalities to complete as new arrivals have already uploaded the substantiating documentation (scanned photocopy of their passport or ID card, visa if applicable) during the contract preparation phase.

  2. Users (USER), Cooperation Associate (COAS) and Visiting Scientists (VISC) must go to the Users' Office on the first day of their contract, presenting all necessary documentation for themselves and their family members, in order to apply for a Swiss card.

2.3 Special cases: holders of Swiss "permis" (residence or work permits)

2.3.1 For members of the personnel

Except for trainees and associated members of the personnel whose home institute is Swiss, members of the personnel must surrender their Swiss work or residence permit (e.g. "permis frontalier type G", "permis C" or "permis B") to the Cards Service upon taking up their appointment at CERN. The permit will be returned to the Swiss authorities along with the carte de legitimation application file.
Trainees (TRNE) with a standard permit (L, B or C) may retain it provided that they meet certain conditions, which are examined on a case-by-case basis by the Cards Service.

Associated members of the personnel whose home institute is Swiss must in all cases retain their standard Swiss permit or obtain one via their home institute. N.B. Non-European nationals who do not have the right to long-term residence in France are not entitled to a cross-border commuter (frontalier) permit (cf. the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration website). They are therefore obliged to reside in Switzerland if their home institute is Swiss.

2.3.2 For family members 

Under the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, family members who are nationals of a Member State of the European Union or European Free Trade Association and who are allowed to enter Switzerland on the grounds of family reunification may ask the Cantonal Population Office of their canton of residence to be issued with a residence permit (B permit) instead of a carte de légitimation. Family members who hold a permit are subject to Swiss law and are not entitled to privileges or immunities. (cf. section 2.3 of the Guidelines regarding the issuance of cartes de légitimation of the FDFA to staff members of international organisations, entry into force on 15 July 2015, amended on 15 March 2021).

Family members who already hold a Swiss ordinary permit may ask the Cantonal Population Office of their canton of residence to keep their permit instead of exchanging it for a carte de légitimation. Family members who hold a permit are subject to Swiss law and are not entitled to privileges or immunities. If the family members who are not nationals of a Member States of the EU or the EFTA decide to receive a carte de légitimation in exchange for their permit, this choice is absolute and must be done within two months of the principal beneficiary taking up their duties. (cf. section 4.1 of the Guidelines regarding the issuance of carte de légitimations of the FDFA to staff members of international organisations, entry into force on 15 July 2015, amended on 15 March 2021).

2.4 Processing of the application

The file is sent to the Swiss authorities electronically and the card will be issued within approximately 2-3 weeks.
Members of the personnel are informed of the arrangements for collecting their Swiss card dès réception de celle-ci par le service concerné (see procedure paragraphe 1).

3. Application for a "permis Ci" certificate

This work permit can only be requested for family members who wish to take up gainful employment in Switzerland and meet the conditions of award of a B, C, D, E or P-type legitimation document.

To this end, the applicant must complete the on-line application form, print it out, sign it and forward it to the Cards Service/Users' Office, depending on the member of the personnel category.

The "permis Ci" certificate is then sent directly to the applicant's home address – not via CERN – within a minimum of three weeks.

Additional information:

4. Renewal

The staff member is notified of the expiration of his/her card by automatic reminder approximately 40 days before the expiration date. Each family member's card must be renewed at the same time as the staff member's.

Applications for extensions can only be made four weeks before the card's expiry date, at the earliest. The card of each family member must be renewed at the same time as that of the member of the personnel.

4.1 Supporting documents

The staff member must file the following documents with the Registration Department (in Building 55) or the user's office, depending on the staff member's category (see procedure paragraph 1):

  • the carte de legitimation (and those of the family members where applicable),
  • a photocopy of both sides of each card,
  • a photocopy of the passport or ID card,
  • a recent, passport-format photograph if the cards were issued more than 4 years previously.

4.2 Processing of the application

Upon submission of the necessary supporting documents and if necessary, a certified copy of the carte de legitimation can be given to the staff member, but this is not valid for border crossings within the Schengen area.

The file is sent to the Swiss authorities and the card will be issued within approximately 2-3 weeks.
Members of the personnel are informed of the arrangements for collecting their Swiss card upon receipt by the department concerned, depending on the category of the staff member.

5. Removals from France to Switzerland

Firstly, the member of personnel must register their new private address via Changement d'adresse locale / Change of local address in EDH.

The HR Department is responsible for informing the Swiss mission of changes of private address. However, members of personnel are recommended by Swiss authorities to announce their arrival in Switzerland as well as any change of address with 14 days:

For information on the export/import formalities relating to personal effects and vehicles, please consult the web pages of the Installation Service.

N.B. For the member of the personnel, a removal from France to Switzerland does not require any change in the carte de legitimation.

The initial application procedure must be followed for family members who fulfill the conditions of award.

6. Removals from Switzerland to France

Firstly, the member of personnel must register their new private address via Changement d'adresse locale / Change of local address in EDH.​Where applicable, the Swiss cards of family members must be surrendered to If necessary, he/she must deposit the Swiss cards of his/her family members at the Registration Department in building 55 or at the Cards Service/Users' Office, depending on the member of the personnel category (see procedure paragraph 1), for cancellation.

The HR Department is responsible for informing the Swiss mission of changes of private address. However, members of the personnel are recommended by Swiss authorities to announce their departure from Switzerland as well as any change of address with 14 days:

For information on the formalities relating to the French card, see the corresponding procedure

For information on the export/import formalities relating to personal effects and vehicles, please consult the web pages of the Installation Service.

A departure certificate is mandatory for certain formalities relating to a departure from Switzerland (customs, insurance companies, etc.). It is valid for two months and can be issued no earlier than one month prior departure.

The procedures to follow are the following:

  • For members of the personnel leaving the Canton of Geneva, it is strongly recommended to:

  • For members of the personnel leaving the Canton of Vaud, it is strongly recommended to:

    • appear in person before the Contrôle de l'habitant of their local municipal authority (Commune) with their carte de légitimation du Département fédéral des Affaires étrangères.

N.B. For the member of the personnel, a removal from Switzerland to France does not require any change in carte de legitimation.

7. Reasons for changing cards

7.1 Promotion (for Staff Members only)

Promotion to grade 5 and grade 9 give rise to a change in Swiss card (except for Swiss nationals Staff Members, holders of S-type cards). Following their promotion, the concerned Staff Members are notified of the details by e-mail.

7.2 Change of name or nationality

Any change of name or nationality may give rise to a change in Swiss card. In such cases, please contact the Cards Service/Users' Office, depending on the member of the personnel category.

8. Surrendering cards

8.1 Contract expiry

Upon contract expiry, the cards of the member of the personnel and family members must be surrendered to the Registration Department in building 55) or to the Cards Service/Users' Office, depending on the member of the personnel category (see paragraph 1).
If necessary, the member of the personnel can be given a certified copy, in particular to facilitate the departure travel.

Surrendering these cards is a pre-condition for the issue of other documents by the Swiss authorities in the future (residence permits, etc.).

8.2 Continuation of the stay in Switzerland

Persons wishing to maintain their principal place of residence in Switzerland after expiry of their contract must apply for a residence permit either from the Office cantonal de la population et des migrations de Genève or from the Contrôle des habitants du canton de Vaud.

Under certain conditions, a courtesy period or a usual delay may be granted by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland. For further details, the members of the personnel may contact the Cards Service/Users' Office, depending on the member of the personnel category.

8.3 Courtesy period

People who require a visa for their stay in Switzerland must be in possession of a valid carte de légitimation when they leave the country. Departure must take place before the expiry of the courtesy period allowed by the Swiss authorities, i.e. 2 months following the end of the employment contract.
 
Applications to extend the validity of the carte de légitimation must be completed at least one month before its expiry in order to be sure that the person has it in their possession upon departure.
 
If travelling through another country in the Schengen Area en route to the destination country, the carte de légitimation must be presented to the border police along with the travel document (passport).
 
Upon arrival in the destination country, the carte de légitimation must be returned to the Swiss Permanent Mission, either by sending it back to CERN, or by handing it in to the local Swiss Embassy or Consulate.

8.4 Unpaid special leave

Members of the personnel who have been granted special leave or an authorised absence (unpaid) must surrender their card and those of family members before their leave period commences if it lasts more than 2 months and if they leave the local area.

Persons wishing to maintain their principal place of residence in Switzerland during their period of special leave must apply for a residence permit either from Office cantonal de la population et des migrations de Genève or from the Contrôle des habitants du canton de Vaud.

Revisions

No revision Modifications Approved
1 Applications for extensions can only be made six weeks before the card's expiry date, at the earliest.  11.03.2014
2 Documentation of Swiss cards for members of the personnel managed by the Users Office; details reagarding courtesy period granted at termination of contract.  10.11.2014
3 Members of the personnel are invited to contact the local authorities (Office cantonal de la population de Genève-OCPM) to register their new address. 02.02.2016
4 Guidelines regarding the issuance of FDFA legitimation cards (entry into force on 15 January 2016). 15.01.2016
5 Courtesy period for people who require a visa for their stay in Switzerland. 22.04.2016
6 New career structure on 01.09.2016. Council, 15.12.2015
7 Clarification for MPA whose home institute is Swiss. 19.12.2017
8 The Swiss card must be returned during a special leave or an authorised absence (unpaid) if it lasts more than 2 months. 08.03.2019
9 New special cases for family members holding or wishing a Swiss permit. 06.09.2019
10
Following a communication from the Swiss Mission, modification of the procedure for thefts and losses of Swiss cards. Two new forms for the declaration of loss or theft.
12.11.2019
11 Modification on paragraphs 5 and 6 (removal from France to Switzerland / Switzerland to France) 14.02.2020
12 Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no visa is currently issued by the French authorities. 18.05.2020
13 Visa type D applications are once again accepted by the French authorities. 17.06.2020
14 Addition of the form for a request for exemption from the obligation to return the legitimation card for children studying abroad     23.09.2020
15 Family members living in France do not receive a Swiss card 20.04.2021
16 If member(s) of the personnel are officially separated or they no longer live under the same roof, they must contact hr-cards.support@cern.ch or users.office@cern.ch depending on their status to verify the impact on their family Swiss card(s). 04.06.2021
17 Modification of the paragraphe 9.2: Members of the personnel who have been granted special leave or an authorised absence (unpaid) must surrender their card and those of family members before their leave period commences if it lasts more than 2 months and if they leave the local area. 30.06.2021
18 The Users' Office will be open to the public from 19th, July 2021 13.07.2021
19 The Lost and theft section has been transferred to a new procedure. Creation of an index. 02.08.2021
20 Update of paragraph 4. Renewal: Applications for extensions can only be made four weeks before the card's expiry date, at the earliest. 08.11.2021