Swiss passport

Swiss passport

The front cover of a contemporary Swiss biometric passport

Cover of a non-biometric Swiss passport (2003)
Date first issued March 1, 2010 (current biometric version)
Issued by   Switzerland
Type of document Passport
Purpose Identification
Eligibility requirements Swiss citizenship
Expiration 5 years of issuance for citizens up to the age 17; 10 years for adults
Cost CHF 140 (adult) / CHF 60 (minor)[1]

A Swiss passport is the passport issued to citizens of Switzerland to facilitate international travel. For traveling inside almost all of Europe, Swiss citizens can use an identity card.

History of Swiss passports

The first Swiss passports were issued in 1915. Those were not yet in the famous red colour, but were bound in a grey-green cover. The famous red Swiss passport was created in 1959. Until 1985 the Swiss passport was only printed in the then-official Swiss languages French, German, Italian, and English (in this order of precedence). Romansh was added in the later Pass 85 after it was declared the fourth official Swiss language following a referendum. The precedence of languages was then changed to German, French, Italian, Romansh and English.

The Pass 03 and Pass 06

The Swiss passport is red in colour and raised Swiss crosses on the outside cover (relief print). On the front outside on the right upper corner of the coverpage the words are written «Schweizer Pass» (German), «Passeport suisse» (French), «Passaporto svizzero» (Italian), «Passaport svizzer» (Romansh) and «Swiss passport» (English). Immediately below the writing you will find the Swiss cross. The "Pass 06" and "Pass 10" respectively issued in 2006 and 2010 have an additional contain the logo of the biometric passport on the right lower side of the cover page.

Make up of the new Swiss passport

The new Swiss passports (Pass -03 -06 and -10) now contain 40 pages instead of the previous 32 and an information page. For foreign visas and official stamps there are 37 pages provided. The first page is used for the bearer to sign the passport and beneath it the 11 information: "Official observations" and on page 2 there are the translations of the information page in 13 languages (Pass 03) and 26 (Pass 06 and Pass10) respectively. Each page is designed differently. The Coat of arms of the cantons and an architectural element (famous landmarks of each canton) are printed on the right upper hand side of the page and between page 8 and 33 colours of background motives and the Swiss cross printed in "printing registration". Within the incomplete Swiss cross in printing registration, there is a tiny micro writing with the name of the canton and the year of entry to the Swiss nation marked. This can only be read with a magnifying glass, or microsope.

Biometric passports

Since 15 February 2010, non-biometric passports (Passport 03, 06 and 85) are no longer delivered.

From 1 March 2010 and according to the Schengen Agreement, Swiss passports will all be biometric. This will ensure that travel to the United States will remain visa-free.[2][3]

Physical appearance

Swiss passports are red in colour, with the words Schweizer Pass (German), Passeport suisse (French), Passaporto svizzero (Italian), Passaport svizzer (Romansh) and Swiss passport (English) in the top right corner with the Swiss equilateral white cross below. The standard biometric symbol is placed on the bottom right.

Identity information page

A Swiss passport includes the following data on the full plastic information page [4]

Machine Readable Zone, look under => Machine-readable passport (biometrics).

Different spellings of the same name within the same document

German names containing umlauts (ä, ö, ü; the letter ß is normally not used in Swiss German) are spelled in the correct way in the non-machine-readable zone of the passport, but with simple vowel + E in the machine-readable zone, e.g. Müller becomes MUELLER.

The transcription mentioned above is generally used for airplane tickets etc., but sometimes (like in US visas) also simple vowels are used (MULLER). The three possible spelling variants of the same name (e.g. Müller / Mueller / Muller) in different documents sometimes lead to confusion, and the use of two different spellings within the same document (like in the passport) may give people who are unfamiliar with the German orthography the impression that the document is a forgery.

Page 1


The data page/information page is printed in the four Swiss official languages: German, French, Italian, Romansch. English is also used.[7] (except for the last cover page where certain Information for Swiss citizens is only in the four official languages. On page 2 there are 13 languages, of which 12 are official languages of EU nations (German, French, Italian, Romansh, English, Danish, Greek, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish and Spanish).

On the back coverpage there is the sentence also in all 26 EU official languages.

Languages in the "Pass10"

In the Swiss passport "Pass10", which has been issued since 1 March 2010, there were 13 additional languages added as a good will to help translate the info page to foreign authorities of the extended EU in 2004. Therefore, the Swiss passport "Pass10" has now in total 26 languages on page 2 which supersedes the EU's own passport containing 23 official languages. On the back cover of the Swiss passport "Pass10" contains the sentence in 26 languages: "This passport contains 40 pages".

Timeline of the Swiss passport

Present: Pass 10

Since 1 March 2010 the Swiss passport Pass 10 has been issued with biometric information - photograph and fingerprints. Switzerland had to implement this type of passport in order to keep participating in the Schengen Agreement, which means that Swiss citizens can move across the borders of the Schengen member countries without using a passport or ID card and vice versa for foreigners. On page 2, 26 languages are used to translate the information page of the bearer. Pass 10 is practically the same as Pass 06 except for the chip with the biometric data. The Swiss accepted it in a referendum on 17 May 2009, with 50.1% voting to introduce this new type of passport.

Pass 06

Pass 06 was issued from 2006 onwards. It contains biometric data within an RFID chip. This was a prototype of the newest Pass 10 but only has a 5-year validity. On page 2, there are 13 languages to translate the information on the info page of the bearer. The older version, Pass 03 is still usable until their date of expiry, but because of the Schengen Treaty had to be replaced with Pass 06. [1]

Temporary passport (emergency passport)

The temporary passport is often called an "emergency passport." It can be issued according to the Swiss passport laws only in an emergency, when there is no time to apply for a regular passport, or a regular valid passport could not be presented (if the regular passport was misplaced), or if a valid passport does not meet the necessary requirements for travel (for instance when the time of validity is not long enough to enter a foreign country, e.g., Russia and China require more than 6 months period of validity).

The temporary passport is the same as Pass 03, meaning it contains no biometric information. Even after 1 March 2010 the temporary passport will not contain any biometric information.

The front cover of the temporary passport is clearly marked with the white band on the lower half of the cover to distinguish it from a regular passport. The temporary passport only has 16 pages as opposed to Pass 03, which has 32 pages. There is no polycarbonate card, a laminated security paper page with the personal information of the bearer. The temporary passport matches the international security standards for these types of documents and is machine readable.

The temporary passport can only be applied for abroad at any Swiss consulate or embassy. There is also the possibility to apply for it at Zurich, Basel and Geneva airports.

Pass 03

Pass 03 was first issued on 1 January 2003 as the replacement of Pass 85 because the older version did not match the current international standards of the time. Pass 03 is also the first Swiss passport which has been equipped with a polycarbonate card page, which made it machine readable. It is identical with Pass 06, except it contains no biometric data.

Pass 85

Pass 85 was first introduced on 1 April 1985 but does not contain any polycarbonate card and therefore is not machine readable. On the red front over in the centre there is a large Swiss cross where from the right upper corner vertically the words "Swiss Passport" are written in 5 languages. An earlier version of Pass 85 only had 4 languages, right until the Romansh language was made a national language in Switzerland in the late 1980s. The safety features are UV reactory paper, watermarks with the page number and Swiss cross, a Guilloché printing technique with colour changing ink, and printing registration with printed elements when the passport is tilted against the light on the inner coverpage. The photograph of the bearer was stuck in the passport with an official relief stamp. Also, B/W pictures were acceptable to be placed in Pass 85. As with older passport versions, the bearer's hair and eye colour were mentioned.

Pass 59

Pass 59, which was introduced in 1959, had a dark red coverpage with a Swiss coat of arms on the left and on three lines «Passeport Suisse», «Schweizerpass» and «Passaporto Svizzero». The inner pages were in four languages: French, German, Italian - the then official languages - and English. Security feature were watermarks and Guilloché printing.

Pass 1932

Pass 1932 was brown on the cover page and had in the centre a Swiss coat of arms. It had white pages inside. It did not have any security features at the time. Also, there was no Romansh language in it.

Pass 1915

Pass 1915 was green on the cover page with no printing on it and also only had the three Swiss official languages. There were no security features in this first series of Swiss passports. The picture of the bearer had no limits on dimensions and could be placed over the marked lines of the outer lines of the page.

The travel freedom of Swiss citizens

Visa requirements for Swiss citizens

According to the 2015 Visa Restrictions Index, holders of a Swiss passport can visit 172 countries visa-free or with visa on arrival (as of 2015). In the Index, Switzerland was ranked 5th in terms of travel freedom (together with Austria, Ireland, and Singapore).

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is allowed in Switzerland, but the conditions for the naturalization of foreigners vary from canton to canton. Male Swiss citizens, including male dual citizens, can be required to perform military or civilian service, and Swiss citizens are not allowed to work for a foreign (non-Swiss) military, unless they are a citizen - and are resident in - the country in question. (The Swiss Guards of the Vatican are regarded as a "house police" and not as an army.)


Prices in Swiss Francs (CHF) as of 25 January 2010 [8]

Passport10 Combined with ID card Temporary Passport IDK
Children up to 18 CHF 60 CHF 68 CHF 100 CHF 30
Adult CHF 140 CHF 148 CHF 100 CHF 65

See also

References and sources

  1. Gebühr/Preis und Gültigkeit
  2. "Einführung des neuen Schweizer Passes 10: Neue Rechtsgrundlagen treten per 1. März 2010 in Kraft" [Introduction of the new Swiss passport 10: New legal bases occur at 1 March 2010 in force]. Aktuell (in German). The Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation. 2010-01-25. Retrieved 2010-03-25.
  3. "Pass 10" [Passport10] (in German). The Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation. 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2010-03-25.
  4. "Pass und in IDK Der Ausweis enthält folgende Daten:" [Passports and Identity document content]. The Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation (in German). 2010-01-26. Retrieved 2010-03-25.
  5. "Passeports suisses à partir du 01.03.2010" (in French). 2010-03-05. Retrieved 2010-03-25.
  6. "Verordnung des EDA vom 13. November 2002 zur Ausweisverordnung (VVAwG)" [Order of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs about Identity documents of Swiss nationals]. The Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation (in German). Chancellerie fédérale. Die Bundesbehörden der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft. 01-0-2007. Retrieved 2010-03-25. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. Image of cover and data page
  8. Procédure de demande de l'offre combinée
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