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Switzerland

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There is a threat of terrorism throughout the world and in Europe. Terrorist attacks have occurred in a number of European cities, and there is a potential for other violent incidents. The Swiss Federal Intelligence Service’s 2017 situation report indicated that the terrorist threat remains at a heightened level. According to the report, the main threat comes from jihad-motivated terrorism. We advise Singaporeans travelling or living in Switzerland to take the necessary precautions and exercise personal responsibility at all times. Singaporeans should also monitor the local news networks, such as “The Local” (www.thelocal.ch), for news updates and follow the advice of local authorities.


Singaporeans can visit Switzerland for a period of up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa, provided that no employment is being pursued.

Switzerland is part of the Schengen area. Entry into any of the 26 European countries in the Schengen area for short-term tourism, a business trip, or in transit to a non-Schengen destination, requires a minimum 3 months passport validity beyond the intended date of departure. (We recommend that travellers should have at least 6 months passport validity.) Singaporeans should have their passports with them when crossing borders, even within the Schengen area.

As visa requirements often change at short notice, we advise you to contact your travel agency, or the nearest Embassy of Switzerland for up-to-date information.

Petty crime: In the major cities such as Geneva, Zurich and Bern, petty crimes like theft, purse snatchings and pick-pocketing most commonly occur in crowded areas, transport hubs (train and bus stations), airports, tourist attractions, and some public parks, especially during peak tourist periods (e.g. during summer months of June to September and the Christmas holidays in December) and when there are major conferences or exhibitions. Thieves may operate in pairs or as a group, with one creating a diversion while the other steals unguarded items. Travellers should also be alert to theft from unattended rented vehicles and theft of personal belongings on overnight trains. The United Nations Office at Geneva had highlighted incidents of theft perpetrated by individuals posing as Geneva Police. Do not hesitate to seek verification of Police identification if confronted by such situations.

Demonstrations: Public demonstrations occasionally occur in Switzerland. In the event of a protest, travellers are encouraged to avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. If you encounter a demonstration, exercise caution, leave the area as soon as possible, and check the local media for updates on the situation and traffic.

Driving in Switzerland: Road conditions are generally of a high standard but drivers should pay particular attention to road conditions during winter especially on narrow and winding mountain roads. Follow local advice on the use of snow tyres and snow chains.

Singaporeans should take note of the following local traffic rules when driving in Switzerland:

  1. Vehicle headlights must be on at all times, including daylight hours

  2. Vehicles travelling on motorways must display a valid vignette (car sticker)

  3. All vehicles must be equipped with a first aid kit and a warning triangle for use during breakdowns or accidents

  4. Vehicles crossing the borders into France, Germany and Italy must also carry a fluorescent safety vest, to be worn whenever the warning triangle is used

  5. Radar detectors and the use of mobile phones while driving (unless they are fitted with a hands free device) are prohibited

  6. Penalties, including on-the-spot fines, apply. If you wish to challenge the fine, you can appeal in writing to the competent Swiss authority by the deadline, giving your reasons and presenting documentary proof. Under Swiss federal law, unpaid fines can subsequently be changed into a prison sentence. Fines imposed by the Swiss authorities can be enforced on Swiss territory for a period of 3 years. 

We advise Singaporeans to adhere to local laws during their stay in Switzerland. Singaporeans are subject to all local laws and penalties. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Singaporeans are advised to research local laws prior to arrival, especially for extended stays. Please note the following:

  1. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs are severe and include imprisonment and/or fines. Singaporeans should note that under the Misuse of Drugs Act, Singaporeans and Permanent Residents who take drugs overseas can be prosecuted in Singapore.

  2. It is illegal to cover your face in public places in the Swiss Canton of Ticino. Failure to comply is punishable by a fine ranging from CHF 100 to CHF 10,000. The law also applies to tourists.

  3. Switzerland is party to the European Convention on Human Rights, which mandates that:

  • Arrestees must be informed promptly, in a language he/she understands, of the reasons for the arrests and any charges.

  • Arrestees must be promptly brought before a judge and be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial.

Singaporeans who are arrested or detained are advised to ask the police or prison officials to contact the Singapore Permanent Mission in Geneva immediately to seek consular assistance.


Alpine regions: The weather in alpine regions is unpredictable and can change suddenly. Avalanches, flash flooding and landslides may occur without warning. Singaporeans who intend to engage in outdoor activities (e.g. hiking, skiing) are advised to stay on designated paths, check weather conditions and follow local advice before going. They should also purchase travel insurance that adequately covers these activities, including medical evacuation and mountain rescue services.

Overseas Travel - Be Safe and Be Informed [29 May 2019] 

In view of the upcoming school holidays, Singaporeans planning overseas travel are reminded to take necessary precautions, including being prepared to deal with accidents, natural disasters or terrorism. Singaporeans are also reminded to be familiar with your destination’s local laws and customs restrictions, including immigration procedures and entry requirements.

Singaporeans travelling to and from Malaysia, in particular via the land checkpoints, are reminded to ensure that your passport is presented to a Malaysian immigration officer and stamped correctly before leaving the Malaysian immigration booth. Failure to do so is an immigration offence in Malaysia and the penalties can be severe, including detention, a fine, and a ban from future entry into the country.

In 2019, demonstrations have occurred in several major cities across the world. Such demonstrations can sometimes escalate into violence. It is important for Singaporeans to keep abreast of local news, avoid any protests or demonstrations and to heed advice of the local authorities. 

For those planning to travel, here are some tips:

Before travelling

  • Familiarise yourself with our network of overseas missions.
  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance and be familiar with the terms and coverage.
  • Equip yourself with research about your destination’s entry requirements, current situation, local laws and customs.
  • eRegister with us on our website (https://www.mfa.gov.sgso that we may reach out to you during an emergency.

While travelling

  • Always take care of your personal safety, remain vigilant and monitor local weather news, advisories, and security developments.
  • Exercise caution around large gatherings and avoid locations known for demonstrations or disturbances.
  • Be prepared for possible delays and last-minute changes in travel plans especially during unforeseen events such as natural disasters or terror attacks.
  • Stay connected with your friends and family. Inform them of your whereabouts and provide them with your overseas contact details.

In the event that you require consular assistance, please contact the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/8855.

 

Advisory: Email Scams [Updated: 12 May 2016]

There has been an increasing number of reports in recent years of individuals receiving scam emails purportedly sent from friends in distress overseas.  These emails typically originate from an email address known to the receiver bearing claims of the sender getting into trouble overseas and urgently requesting financial assistance.  The sender would also claim to have approached a Singapore Embassy/Consulate and the local Police for help to no avail.

MFA takes the safety of all Singaporeans very seriously.  Singaporeans in distress approaching our Overseas Missions for assistance will be rendered with all necessary consular assistance.  If you receive such emails from purported friends seeking funds transfers, we strongly advise you to call them first to verify the authenticity of the emails before responding to their request.  It is also not advisable to give out any personal information such as NRIC/passport nos., address, telephone number, etc.  Any form of reply, even one of non-interest, could result in more unsolicited emails.  Members of the public who suspect that they have fallen prey to such scams should report the matter to the Police immediately.  Should Singaporeans abroad require consular assistance, they can contact the nearest Mission or call the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 24-hr Duty Office at +65 6379 8800/+65 6379 8855.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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