*** Subject to modification by the Swiss and French authorities ***
Please consult: https://france-visas.gouv.fr/web/france-visas/conditions-sanitaires.
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
European Economic Area (EEA):
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
A visa is an administrative document authorising nationals of countries subject to the visa requirement to transit through, enter or stay in a foreign country.
The numerous types of visa include, in particular:
Short-stay visas (the Schengen C-type visa),
allow their holders to enter and reside in the Schengen Area for a continuous or non-continuous period not exceeding 90 days within any 180-day period with effect from initial entry into the Schengen Area.
Long-stay visas (D-type visa or national visa for the purposes of taking up employment),
are required for stays of over 90 days and allow the holder to obtain a legitimation document from the Host States, namely:
A carte de légitimation issued by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs ("Swiss card");
A titre de séjour spécial issued by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs ("French card").
Since 5 April 2010, the D-type visa has also been valid for stays of up to three months in the Schengen Area.
Temporary long-stay visa (VLST),
for a stay in France of between 91 days and a maximum of 6 months, which exempts the holder from a special residence permit.
To enter and stay in the Organization’s Host States, Switzerland and France, any national of a third country (i.e. not a national of a country within the European Economic Area or Switzerland) is in principle subject to a visa requirement.
However, under various international agreements, nationals of some third countries are exempt from the visa requirement, mainly for short stays. This applies, for instance, to nationals of Argentina, Australia, Israel, Canada and the United States of America for short stays where the person concerned is not engaged in gainful employment or, in Switzerland only, to British nationals, for short or long stays.
Holders of a valid passport, together with a residence permit (autorisation de séjour) issued by a Schengen country, may travel or stay in the other countries of the Schengen Area for a maximum period of 90 days. This applies to members of the personnel and their family members in possession of legitimation documents issued by the Host States
(see https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/fr/home/themen/einreise/kurzfristig/drittstaaten.html and https://www.immigration.interieur.gouv.fr/Immigration/Les-visas/Les-dispenses-de-visa).
You are reminded that neither photocopies of legitimation documents currently being renewed nor expired documents are valid for crossing borders.
Individuals leaving CERN definitively on completion of their functions may keep their legitimation documents for the period of time required for travel within the Schengen Area provided that the documents are valid throughout the period of travel and that they are returned to CERN once those concerned have reached their new country of residence.
Given the complexity of the matter and the fact that amendments can be introduced at any time, anyone needing to travel to CERN must make prior enquiries at the competent consulate regarding the entry conditions applying to them, indicating the nature and duration of their stay.
4.1 Short-stay (maximum of 90 days in any period of 180 days)
An application must be submitted, accompanied by an official letter of invitation or a Convention d’accueil to obtain a multiple-entry Schengen C-type visa from the Swiss or French consulate competent for the place of residence.
Even if the Schengen C-type visa is obtained from a Swiss consulate on the basis of a letter of invitation, the Convention d’accueil is still required in all cases since it also serves as a work permit in France for nationals of countries who are not members of the European Economic Area or who are not Swiss.
N.B. This visa does not allow the holder to reside in the Schengen Area for more than 90 days within a 180-day period, nor to obtain a titre de séjour. Holders of a short-stay visa must leave the Schengen Area when the visa expires, failing which they may be liable to sanctions (a fine and/or refusal of future visa applications for all Schengen countries).
4.2 Long-stay (more than 90 days)
- For taking up residence in Switzerland for the first time
Prior to departure, a Swiss multiple-entry long-stay D-type visa must be obtained from the Swiss consulate competent for the place of residence.
N.B. This visa does not allow the holder to reside in France. If the member of the personnel finally decides to reside in France, the "removals" procedure below will apply.
- For taking up residence in France for the first time
Prior to departure, a French multiple-entry long-stay D-type visa must be obtained, mentioning "carte PRO-MAE à solliciter dès l'arrivée", from the French consulate competent for the place of residence.
Specific case: in the event of a maximum 6-month full-time contract, a temporary long-stay visa (VLST), exempting the application for a special French card, may be requested.
Except in specific cases, non-EU citizens and their family members holding a residence permit granted by an EU Member State are not exempt from the French "carte PRO-MAE" long-stay visa. Thus, before taking up their appointment, they must make prior enquiries at the competent consulate regarding the entry conditions applying to them, indicating the nature and duration of their stay in France.
N.B. This visa does not allow the holder to reside in Switzerland. If the member of the personnel finally decides to reside in Switzerland, the "removals" procedure below will apply.
- Removals from Switzerland to France
A French long-stay visa (D-type, mentioning "carte PRO-MAE") must be obtained from the French consulate in Geneva with a view to obtaining a special French titre de séjour.
N.B. When taking up their appointment, members of the personnel must present a D-type visa issued by the country of their final residence. Members of the personnel do not need to apply for a Swiss visa if they intend to reside in France. Due to the administrative burden, removal to France is not possible until at least three months have elapsed since their arrival in Switzerland.
- Removals from France to Switzerland
No visa is required for members of the personnel who are already in possession of a Swiss carte de légitimation. Family members will obtain a Swiss carte de légitimation on presentation to the Swiss authorities of a photocopy of their special French titre de séjour.
1. How to obtain a visa
The official invitation procedure must be followed.
This procedure is initiated either by:
- the Cards Service (firstname.lastname@example.org) when the member of the personnel concerned is recruited in the framework of the HR programmes, namely for staff members (STAF), fellows (FELL), scientific associates (SASS), corresponding associates (CASS), guest professors (GPRO), students (DOCT, TECH or ADMI) and trainees (TRNE); or by
- the department secretariat or the secretariat of the host experiment for project associates (PJAS), experiment associates (EXAS), cooperation associates (COAS), visiting scientists (VISC) and users (USER).
The procedure to be followed by users is also available on the website of the Users Office.
All the necessary visas must be obtained prior to arrival at CERN and must be valid for the necessary period of time, since no extension of the stay or change in the type of visa is possible.
To summarise, depending on the duration of the contract and the Host State, applications for the following documents have to be initiated to obtain a visa:
|Duration of the contract|
|=< 90 days||> 90 days
|France||Convention d’accueil||Note verbale|
1.1 For Switzerland
An official letter of invitation (see letter of invitation templates, which must be adapted according to whether the length of stay is shorter or longer than 90 consecutive days), signed by an authorised member of the personnel, is sent to the prospective member of the personnel, either by the HR department or by the secretariat of the group or experiment concerned.
Members of the personnel who require a visa should submit a visa application for themselves and their family to the competent Swiss consulate (normally the one competent for the current place of residence) together with the original of the official letter of invitation.
In the event that members of the personnel are joined by their family after taking up their appointment, family members who are subject to a visa requirement must provide the competent Swiss consulate with a photocopy of the carte de légitimation of the member of the personnel concerned in support of their visa application and the Regroupement familial en Suisse certificate signed by an authorised member of the personnel.
N.B. Swiss consulates may request the following information from associated members of the personnel (type "P" legitimation cards):
- a curriculum vitae (CV) with references;
- copies of university diplomas;
- a letter of motivation or, if possible, a short research report allowing in the meantime to verify the language skills of the member of the personnel;
- any information enabling the Swiss representation to ensure that the financial resources allocated to the researcher by his employer are sufficient to reside in the Geneva region.
1.2 For France
1.2.1 Maximum stay of 90 days in any 180-day period: the Convention d’accueil
The Convention d'accueil is obligatory for any national of a third country (i.e. not a national of a country of the European Economic Area or Switzerland) likely to work on the French part of the site, as it is also valid as a work permit in France.
N.B. From 1 January 2021, while British nationals are exempt from the short-stay visa requirement in France, they must be granted a Convention d’accueil, which is equivalent to a work permit.
Only citizens of countries outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland who are conducting research work or providing university-level education or training at CERN are entitled to a Convention d’accueil.
The Convention d’accueil form duly completed and signed by one of the authorised persons is forwarded to the Relations with the Host States service. The latter service appends its seal, has the Convention d’accueil signed by the Sub-Prefecture in Gex (on Mondays only, except in emergencies to be arranged with the Relations with the Host States service) and returns it the same day to the authorised person concerned. The latter forwards the Convention d’accueil to the applicant, in principle attaching it to the official letter of invitation for Switzerland.
If a visa is required, the applicant submits a visa application to the competent consulate together with the original of the Convention d’accueil.
1.2.2 A stay of over 90 days: Note verbale to the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs
This procedure applies to people who are entitled to a titre de séjour spécial issued by the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.With regard to family members, only married spouses, partners officially recognised by the Organisation and dependent children under the age of 21 are eligible. Exceptionally, it may apply to dependent ascendants and disabled children under 25 years of age.
The latter service forwards the Note verbale to the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, which carries out the necessary checks and approves the issuing of a D-type long-stay visa marked “carte PRO-MAE à solliciter dès l’arrivée” or the temporary long-stay visa (VLST).
No sooner than one week and no later than two months after the Note verbale is dispatched, the applicant must go to the consulate or to the relevant visa centre to complete the formalities. However, if the competent consulate is in Geneva (for people residing in the cantons of Geneva or Vaud), he should wait to be contacted by the Cards Office in the CERN HR department.
In the event that members of the personnel are joined by their family after taking up their appointment, family members subject to a long-stay visa requirement must also follow the Note verbale procedure described above. It takes about three weeks to complete the various steps to obtain a long-stay visa, which should therefore be started in good time (up to three months, but no less than six weeks, before the appointment begins).
N.B. The titre de séjour spécial must be applied for immediately upon arrival in France since the D-type visa is only valid for a maximum of 90 days and the time limit for obtaining the titre de séjour spécial is approximately six weeks from the date the application is sent to the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. Holders of VLST visas do not need to apply for a special residence permit, unless their contract is extended beyond 6 months. In this case, the application must be made at least 6 weeks before the visa expires.
The people authorised to initiate the official invitation procedure are listed in the document Visas for Switzerland and France - signature rights published on the website of the Relations with the Host States service under the Visas, residence heading.
|1||Additional information: the Convention d'accueil is valid also as a work permit in France.||24.03.2011|
|2||Additional information: annotation (+ Etats Schengen) for D-type visa||27.07.2011|
|3||"Convention d'accueil" replaces "Protocole d'accueil" (Directive européenne2005/71/CE)".||09.01.2012|
|4||Additional information: Croatia in the list of European Economic Area (EEA)||02.11.2015|
|5||Additional information: when taking up their appointment, members of the personnel must present a D-type visa issued by the country of their final residence.||10.09.2018|
|6||Change references to "3 months" in "90 days" and "6 months" in "180 days" to ensure precision.||08.10.2018|
|7||New revision following UK's Brexit||13.02.2020|
|8||Visas with the COVID-19.||20.03.2020|
|9||Extension of French long-stay visas during COVID-19||18.05.2020|
|10||- Visa type D applications are once again accepted by the French authorities.
- 6-month extension of visas expiring between 16 March and 15 June 2020.
- If the member of personnel is the beneficiary of an expired French D visa, he must download the documents "General information on the extension of residency documents" and present them with his expired French D visa.
- The procedure for issuing D visas "PRO-MAE card" (1.2.2) remains unchanged.
- Exception for members of personnel taking up their duties and their families.
- Update of the Note verbale from the MEAE and a new annex.
|11||The UK ceased to be part of the EEA since 31.12.2020.||19.01.2021|
|12||Update of information related to the COVID-19.||04.02.2021|
|13||Applicability of the procedure in paragraph 1.2.2 A stay of over 90 days: Note verbale to the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has been clarified.||15.02.2021|
|14||Modification of the visa procedure (P-card only for MPAs),
Addition of a special case on VLST visas (temporary long-stay visa of less than 6 months).
|15||Modification of the information at the top of the procedure.||08.11.2021|
|16||New status EXAS.||02.03.2022|