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Old 14.08.2012, 17:36
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Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

Hi All,

I have a question for those who have gone before me...

We are landing in Geneva next week, and will be staying in a hotel for the first 3-4 days until the lease becomes effective on September 1st. The kids are enrolled in school, place to live hammered out, all of the details dealt with as much as possible. Unfortunately, it's starting to look as if the visa process may not be completed until some time after that.

I understand that we can stay in the country for 90 days on visa waiver, and this will be more than adequate for the permanent documents to be issued. My question is, what should the response be if the Customs folks ask where we are staying and the duration of our visit. We will ultimately be in residence permanently, but will probably enter the country as tourists, unless the visas come through in the next 10 days or so.

Not looking to hide anything, I'm simply hoping for advise on how to best explain/document this so as to facilitate the move.

Thanks
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Old 14.08.2012, 17:37
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

Can you give them the details of the hotel (confirmation, etc) and show them the contract for your new place? That should look permanent enough.
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Old 14.08.2012, 17:38
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

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if the Customs folks ask where we are staying and the duration of our visit
Any Hotel / Hostel will do. I doubt they will ask you anyway.
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Old 14.08.2012, 17:52
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

Thanks for the quick response. I can provide lodging details easily enough, but I guess that the meat of my question has to do with duration of visit. As of now, I'm planning to be in CH for about two years, pending residence visas being issued. I know that visas are in the works and have no reason to think that they won't come through in the next few weeks.

On that basis, I'm entering the country with documentation for short and long term lodging, but without a residence permit being issued yet.

Am I better off to try to explain all of this if asked, or just stick with "hi I'm a tourist, which way to the swiss army knife museum?"
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Old 14.08.2012, 18:32
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

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Thanks for the quick response. I can provide lodging details easily enough, but I guess that the meat of my question has to do with duration of visit. As of now, I'm planning to be in CH for about two years, pending residence visas being issued. I know that visas are in the works and have no reason to think that they won't come through in the next few weeks.

On that basis, I'm entering the country with documentation for short and long term lodging, but without a residence permit being issued yet.

Am I better off to try to explain all of this if asked, or just stick with "hi I'm a tourist, which way to the swiss army knife museum?"
Did you receive the permit and are waiting for the visa - or are you still waiting for the work permit approval? A visa by no means takes "weeks" to be issued.
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Old 14.08.2012, 18:50
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

Sorry, It's my wife's work visa that is in the works.
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Old 14.08.2012, 18:58
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

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Sorry, It's my wife's work visa that is in the works.
I think Shorrick's question was about whether your wife has work permit approval. The process (for non-EUers) is that your wife gets the work permit approval and you get the associated dependent permit approval. Then, the consulate in the US can issue you entry visas, which give you an approximate 3 month window to enter Switzerland. Once you're here, you go to the town hall and apply for your actual physical permits). Once you have the work permit approval, getting the actual visa in your passport should be a matter of days.

For entering the country before it's cleared - I'm not sure how that works. I imagine if the border control person looked up your passport, they would see that you are in the process of getting an entry visa, but I'm not sure how often they actually look up tourists.
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Old 14.08.2012, 19:31
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

I have to admit that I honestly don't know where we are in the process, other than described above. It's being handled by her Employer, and to date my participation has been to fill out a few documents and get fingerprinted.

I'm guessing that this will all be a non issue as the work permit is supposed to be "imminent" but I'm just trying to educate myself.
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Old 14.08.2012, 19:45
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

It is in principle forbidden to travel to Switzerland while the work permit application is being processed.

Not to mention that the authorities could also imminently deny the permit....
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Old 14.08.2012, 20:05
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

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It is in principle forbidden to travel to Switzerland while the work permit application is being processed.

Not to mention that the authorities could also imminently deny the permit....
I'm a little confused at this point. We hopped over from London a few weeks ago to look for a place to live. (American passports, UK work permit/visas). The work permit for CH was already in process at that point, and nobody in customs had a problem when we came through?
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Old 14.08.2012, 21:17
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

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I'm a little confused at this point. We hopped over from London a few weeks ago to look for a place to live. (American passports, UK work permit/visas). The work permit for CH was already in process at that point, and nobody in customs had a problem when we came through?
Nobody had a problem <> it is actually allowed.

http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/...susa.html.html

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Nationals who require a visa to work in Switzerland (most non-Europeans, includingU.S. citizens) must file a personal application at the responsible Swiss visa deskat the same time as the employer applies for the work permit in Switzerland. An authorization to issue the visa is sent to the responsible Swiss visa desk after the work permit has beenauthorized and the appropriate visa has to be issued in your passport prior to your departure.
also - you do realise the risk in relocating without the work permit approved i hope....
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Old 15.08.2012, 18:42
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

Yes, thanks for the concern...and the previous insight. It's helps a lot to get insight from someone who's actually been through the process.
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Old 15.08.2012, 20:26
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

If you are coming in on UK passports, then it's just a formality. But we are assuming that you are on US passports. Therefore, you must follow the rules for Non-EU.

Step 1: your wife's employer applies for work permits for your wife and the rest of the family - did the employer ask you for birth certificates, marriage certificates, high resolution scans of passports of the whole family - double check with them that they put in the documents for the *whole* family and not just your wife!

Step 2: Wait up to 12 weeks for work permit to be approved. Don't give up your day job!.

Step 3: Once work permit is approved, the swiss authorities will inform the employer at the same time that they also send an electronic notification to the nominated consulate general on the forms (hopefully the employer got this right and put the one on there that's closest to you)...

Step 4: Swiss consulate general contacts you, by letter, to the address that the employer put on the form (hopefully you are still there)- this can be 'expedited' by making an email enquiry to the swiss consulate general closest to you (the one on the form) and politely informing them that you have a work permit in progress for your wife and her family members - list all the names, birthdates, passport numbers, and also give your current email, phone, address. Make sure you ask them (politely) to contact you via email as soon as they receive notification that the permit has been approved.

Step 5: Go to swiss consulate general, with all your passports (which must have at least 6 months validity on them, preferably longer) - fill out some extra paperwork, pay a fee, and the entry visas will be put into your passports.

Step 6. Catch plane. Arrive in Zurich, at passport control, politely inform policeman that you are arriving in Switzerland for work/residency purposes, and show them your entry visa. The policeman will stamp your date of entry onto the visa sticker. This is important to show that you arrived within the correct 'window' - usually the entry visa has a 3 month validity - you can arrive between x and y dates...

Step 7. Watch out for pickpockets, hopefully all your luggage arrived safely, settle in at hotel. Be stunned at the price of everything.

Step 8. Don't forget you have to register at the local town hall within 8 days of arrival. Preferably take a local who speaks the language - it will be much less stressful. Good luck finding an apartment (they will accept a hotel address for registration, but it will be cheaper if you've already got lease documents for your new place, because if you 'move house' you have to pay a transfer fee - and it will be for every family member (there will be an 'adult' rate and a 'child' rate.

When you register at the gemeinde, it might cost 500chf for a family of 5 (that's what ours cost here in Zurich) - this is what really connects all the dots - they may issue you temporary papers to show that you have properly registered, and then send you to the immigration authorities to have photos, fingerprints and signatures scanned - then the actual permit cards (photo ID) takes between 2-6 weeks to arrive at your address, registered post, signature required...

If either you or your wife has a UK or other EU passport, the process is very very different. Be aware that the locals will normally have no idea of the process (they've never had to do it!) and the EU/UK citizens have a very different simplified process.

Good Luck!

Entering with a UK work/residency permit in hand, they aren't going to ask you any major questions. It wouldn't hurt to tell them that you are coming over to 'check things out' as your wife has a job offer in Switzerland, but they will assume you are tourists unless you tell them otherwise...

Oh, and your kids probably can't start school until the work permit is sorted out...

Hopefully it all happens really fast...when did the employer lodge the paperwork ? It usually takes 10-12 weeks for the permits to come through from the time the employer lodges the documents, but many employers aren't very efficient, and that's where the waiting problem comes from.
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Old 15.08.2012, 20:35
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

Wow, thanks for the detailed information.

Place to live is all sorted out, as is the schooling. The job thing is simply a change of location with the current employer, so that's not a big issue either. The driver behind this time crunch is that I'd like to be settled so that the kids can start school on Sept. 3rd (They are already registered).

My wife can hang out here in England and work from this location until the work permit is sorted out, if that's what's required.
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Old 15.08.2012, 21:08
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

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Place to live is all sorted out, as is the schooling. The job thing is simply a change of location with the current employer, so that's not a big issue either. The driver behind this time crunch is that I'd like to be settled so that the kids can start school on Sept. 3rd (They are already registered).

My wife can hang out here in England and work from this location until the work permit is sorted out, if that's what's required.
Oh good luck! But I'll be really surprised if all works out as you envisage None of you can enter the country for residence purposes (which kids going to school would be) until and unless the work permit is approved - assuming you are none of you EU citizens. Just because it's an internal transfer within the company, doesn't guarantee approval of the work permit. Smooth the way - yes. Guarantee - no. I do hope you have a plan B for what happens if the permit is not approved - it is getting rather late in the year and quotas get used up
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Old 15.08.2012, 21:37
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

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it is getting rather late in the year and quotas get used up
I don't believe this is true - as far as I know (and I looked this up about 6 months ago) the only year the quotas 'ran out' was 2008, straight after the financial crisis, and this did not cause permits to be 'rejected' - those that met the criteria were just put on hold until they released more quotas very quickly in 2009.

It doesn't matter when your permit is put through, it will take about 12 weeks to approve. I haven't heard of anyone with a 'normal' permit process for Non-EU that took more than the 'advertised' 12 weeks. However, the hold up will be if anyone involved in the process is on summer vacation (especially the employer).... if there are any queries along the way.

Good luck!
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Old 15.08.2012, 21:50
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Re: Question regarding entering the country - visa in the works, but not issued yet.

Thanks everybody, I'll keep you posted
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