All Russian citizens who apply for a Swiss visa will now be subject to the ‘regular rules of the Visa Code’, rather than benefitting from the more lenient terms of the facilitation agreement. Consequently, visa applicants will be required to meet additional criteria, provide documentary evidence, pay higher fees and face longer processing times than before.
A Swiss government statement said: “This does not mean a general visa freeze for Russian nationals.”
The Federal Council confirmed that its decision to suspend the agreement was in solidarity with similar steps taken by the European Union (EU) in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The Council of the EU chose to suspend its own visa facilitation agreement with Russia on 9 September, enabling all EU/Schengen countries to impose general visa rules on Russian citizens.
“It is in Switzerland’s interest to support a common and harmonised European visa policy. Otherwise, evasive movements could lead to a significant increase in visa applications from Russian nationals to the Swiss representations,” the Federal Council said.