Schengen, Dublin and Switzerland FAQ

January 6, 2009

• Are Swiss visas issued before the 12.12.2008 still valid?
Yes, they are valid. However, Swiss visas issued before the 12.12.2008 are only valid for Switzerland. If the person wishes to travel to another Schengen State, he has to apply for a Schengen visa in the corresponding country.

• May I as a third-country national requiring a visa with an annual or permanent residence permit (Permit B or C) travel without a visa throughout the Schengen area after the entry into force…
In principle, yes. But I take my passport with me. For questions regarding the requirements governing entry to other countries, I contact the competent authorities of the country concerned.

• Does a Romanian or Bulgarian passport entitle the holder to enter Switzerland without a visa?
Under prevailing law, Romanian and Bulgarian nationals require a passport for entry to Switzerland without a visa.

• I am an Indian national and the holder of an American Green Card. Do I require a visa for entry to Switzerland after the entry into force of the SAA?
Yes. The same also applies for third-country nationals living in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

• Under what conditions is a passport recognised?
A passport is recognised if it indicates the identity of the holder as well as the fact that he/she is a national of the issuing country, the fact that it has been issued by a country recognised by Switzerland and that this country guarantees the return of its nationals at all times. The FOM may authorise exceptions from the passport requirement.

Please find the above frequently asked questions and their answers among others at the homepage of the Federal Office for Migration.


Switzerland welcomed as 25th Schengen country

November 27, 2008

Bruxelles, November 27, 2008 (swissreviews)

December 12, 2008, marks the date in history when Switzerland will join the passport-free zone of the Schengen countries, after interior and justice ministers of the 27 EU member states formally approved the accession of this non-EU country today.

Switzerland will be the 25th member of the Schengen area which counts three other non-EU countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) among its members.

All land border checkpoints are to be closed on that date, while people entering Switzerland by air from another Schengen country will still have their passports checked until March 29, 2009. This is good news not only for tourists who can hence travel freely into Switzerland using their Schengen visa. Non-EU residents of Switzerland will no longer need to apply for a visa to cross the Swiss borders but will be able to travel freely to the neighboring Schengen countries.

The agreement to set up the Schengen zone was signed in Schengen, Luxembouerg in 1985. The EU member states Britain and Ireland have abstained from Schengen membership, which among other things grants access to Interpol, a common police database.

NY Times on Swiss Pre-Election Riots

October 14, 2007

The electorial compaign of the SVP (Swiss People’s Party) as discussed in the most recent post has brought forth some strange fruits. Not only did they provoke with posters showing white sheep (lawful citizens) kicking out a black sheep (criminal foreigner). By the way, the idea has found copy cats:(Forum

The poster is not the creation of a fringe movement, but of the most powerful party in Switzerland’s federal Parliament and a member of the coalition government, an extreme right-wing party called the Swiss People’s Party, or SVP. It has been distributed in a mass mailing to Swiss households, reproduced in newspapers and magazines and hung as huge billboards across the country.The poster is not the creation of a fringe movement, but of the most powerful party in Switzerland’s federal Parliament and a member of the coalition government, an extreme right-wing party called the Swiss People’s Party, or SVP. It has been distributed in a mass mailing to Swiss households, reproduced in newspapers and magazines and hung as huge billboards across the country.

About 28% of the voters are expected to elect MPs of this party. The people who vote are not extreme right-wing, but the methodology can be called “extreme right wing”. Extreme right-winger NPD in Germany obviously likes the methodology. But still, the program of the Swiss People’s party should not be compared with any movement abroad.

As voters prepare to go to the polls in a general election on Oct. 21, the poster — and the party’s underlying message — have polarized a country that prides itself on peaceful consensus in politics, neutrality in foreign policy and tolerance in human relations. Suddenly the campaign has turned into a nationwide debate over the place of immigrants in one of the world’s oldest democracies, and over what it means to be Swiss.

Actually, there were more extreme people’s initiatives in the past. One of them asked for a referendum vote that the Swiss constitution should generally limit the portion of foreign residents in this country to 18% (September 2000). This was before the bilateral treaty with the European Union regarding free movement of workforce within Europe came into effect, but still AFTER the number of foreign residents had already exceedeed the hurdle of 18%.

As part of its platform, the SVP party has begun a campaign seeking the 100,000 signatures necessary to force a referendum to let judges deport foreigners after they serve prison sentences for serious crimes. The measure also calls for the deportation of the entire family if the convicted criminal is a minor.

Well, the new initiative in fact goes like this:Bottom line: It aims to expel from the country all foreign citizens who commit a crime or who abuse the social system. It is feared that, if it is the supporter of a family who will be subject of such a “spell”, the whole family (under given circumstances) may face deportation. I didn’t explicitly find this in the draft though.

A week ago, a march of several thousand SVP supporters in Bern ended in clashes between hundreds of rock-throwing counterdemonstrators and riot police officers, who used tear gas to disperse them. The opponents of the rally, organized by a new group called the Black Sheep Committee, had tried to prevent the demonstrators from marching to Parliament.

They didn’t like it. It reminded them too much of the Nazi marches of the thirties. Exponents of two left wing parties including the Green Party and a local community officer stirred up this anger against the SVP party. Out of their hiding places, once the police was busy in other areas downtown, the Black Bloc activists (not black sheep) started to beat down women, children, musicians, their instruments, anything that came in their way on the Bundesplatz, benches, tables, and completely devastated the square of the SVP festivities in front of the Parliament House (Bundeshaus).

The NY Times also mentions the new election campaign video “Heaven and Hell” which contrasts riots like last weekend’s with the SVP heaven. Now they (SVP) managed to provoke enough anger among left wing activists in order to stage a reality show in the Swiss Capitol with black bloc devils destroying the SVP heaven.
Vido “Heaven or Hell” (Himmel oder Hölle)

Swiss Xenophobia for a Cause

September 22, 2007

Has Switzerland become Europe’s Heart of Darkness?
This provoking sentence was found in the lead of an article of
THE INDEPENDENT as published on 7 September 2007. Switzerland is under U.N. observation for its occurrences of racism. Commenting recent incidents of discrimination, the Federal Council of Switzerland wrote an official reply to Mr. Diene, UN Special Rapporteur on racism in March this year. However, they also pointed out that the asylum act referred to by the special rapporteur had been approved by the sovereign with a large majority. It was convinced that the implementation of the act would not lead to acts of discrimination.

The Anti-Racism Law of Switzerland

Who publicly calls for hatred or discrimination against a person or group of people because of race, ethnics, or religion;
whoever publicly spreads idiologies that aim systematic libel of the members of a race, ethnic group, or religion, who stimulates, organises or takes part in propaganda action plans;
whoever publicly belittles or discriminates or denies, downplays or justifies out of one of the reasons “genocide or “other crimes against humanity” vocally, written, visually, by gesturing, violence or in any other manner a person or group of people because of their race, ethnics, or religion in a way that is beneath human dignity;
whoever refuses a service which is indended to be for public use, to any person or group of people because of their race, ethnics or religion;
will be charged with emprisonment or fines.

What do Switzerland and the U.S. have in commmon? They reflect “the promised land”, garden Eden, and whatever bed of roses that may pop up in the minds of people all over the world who do not know the whole picture about living in Switzerland. Yes, there is the desire to live in peace, freedom, prosperity and in one of the world’s most advanced civilizations and democracies. Fact is, Switzerland is much smaller. It consists of numerous little valleys, remote places in 26 cantons (provinces), each one of them with their own culture, identity and even numerous German dialects next to French, Italian and Romansh…The typical Swiss is somewhat cosmopolitan but likes to withdraw to his or her cosy home again after some exposure to foreign cultures.

I am not surprised about the above “Little sheep poster”. It is election time. The Swiss peoples’ party (SVP) which stirres this campaign that is being noticed as racist by many foreign citizens of this country, is and is expected to be the strongest political party in Switzerland. Either you hate them or love them. Those posters with Bundesrat (minister) Blocher, the SVP representative in the Swiss government, had to be removed. Blocher’s face was mistreated completely. The poster with the white sheep kicking out a black sheep ‘for security reasons’ is more prominent. Every child knows it. Children play using “SVP” or Buh-bad instead of “get out” when another child is not wanted in a group!

This is only the tip of the iceberg. I believe the more the U.N. tries to intervene against racism, the stronger xenophobia in Switzerland will become. We have much to lose, this is what our problem is. Expect more political action plans which will be within the above law. When it comes to Islamic minarets, the whole world will look at Switzerland. How come? The Swiss probably maintain the most advanced democracy in the world. This is the reason why there has started a great discussion about the yes or niet of Islamic minarets in Switzerland. It is sometimes seen as if Swiss christians would build crusaders’ fortresses in an Islamic country, and the establishment of parallel Islamic law in Switzerland is feared (Sharia). In the eyes of a commitee against the building of minarets, the building of such towers have nothing to do with integration but with a symbol of Islamic conquest. Expect more from my end or my country about this subject.
Link to the committee:

Federer Residences Oberwil and Wollerau

May 5, 2007


Oberwil, Canton Basel-Land and Wollerau, Canton Schwyz

“Tennis champion “Roger Federer” is leaving Basel-Land: He will move into a rented apartment. However, he doesn’t want to pay his taxes on the Lake of Zurich, but still in Oberwil Basel-Land, at least for now.”

The above lead was read in “Basler Zeitung” on it’s May 4, 2007, issue. Yes, it IS an issue in Switzerland where “The World Sportsman” of the years 2005, 2006 AND 2007 and PR icon for Swiss Dairy Food products Emmi and Swiss Coffee giant Nespresso
should pay his taxes.

Roger Federer indead wants to move out – and since Wednesday, the whole of Switzerland knows it. “Tele Zueri” had the workmen in front of the camera, “Radio Central” had a group of regulars in front of their microphone and what about the BaZ newspaper? They had the parents on the phone. Although Lynette and Robert Federer don’t want to comment on any of the rumours, they are very open, inofficially. “Roggie takes a rented appartment. But he stays registered in Oberwil”, says the father and bids a firm yet polite good bye.

According to BaZ, this is not the first time that stories about moving plans of Roger are traded in the Swiss media. He presented his interest in a lot in Grandvaux, Canton Vaud, in the midst of Lavaux vignards high above Lake Geneva, with a view to the French and Swiss Alps.

WITH SAUNA. Well, Roger Federer will have to do without the alps in Wollerau but will instead enjoy a lake. As pictures as published by “Basler Zeitung” suggest, the tennis star will enjoy a beautiful lake view from his rented terrace house apartment on the forth floor in the village of Bäch (Wollerau town), “Canton Schwyz”. The local newspaper “Südostschweiz” gossipped about the “very generously equipped apartment” with a sauna. But WHEN the very talkative workmen will have finished the interior construction remains a secret for now.

But this is also not the point. “Wollerau” and the neighboring “Freienbach” are two of the most tax friendly towns in Switzerland. This fact is being taken advantage of by UBS top banker “Marcel Ospel”, CS top banker “Oswald Grübel”, the tennis players “Martina Hinggis” and “Patty Schnyder” and even the Formula-1 pilote “Kimi Räikkönen” and “Felipe Massa” to file his tax return sheet in Oberwil, that costs him around 4,2 Millions Swiss Francs (almost 4 Million Dollars) of taxes a year according to boulevard tabloid “Blick”.

Now the Baz newspaper rambles in “Swissness style” about talks of Mayors regarding the tax laws and potentials. I’ll spare you all of it, well except for one interesting detail, as Rudolf Mohler, mayor of Oberwil puts it: “Our municipal finances will not be a disaster in case Roger Federer moves out for good. We ve’got more quiet co-citizens who pay more!”