You can apply for asylum in Switzerland if you are persecuted in your native country (or last country of residence) on account of your race, religion, nationality, political opinions or membership of a particular social group, or if you fear for your liberty.
You can submit an asylum application, orally or in writing, at an open border crossing, at the customs checkpoint of a Swiss airport or at one of the State Secretariat for Migration’s (SEM) federal asylum centres. You cannot submit an application for asylum in Switzerland if you are abroad. However, you can apply for a humanitarian visa from a Swiss embassy or consulate in order to enter Switzerland, but you will only be granted a visa if there is a direct, serious and specific threat to your life or physical integrity. Crisis or conflict in your country is not reason enough, and the chances of obtaining a humanitarian visa are slim.
There are no formal legal requirements for an asylum application. To be granted asylum, you must explain your reasons for fleeing and provide evidence if possible.
Multiple applications in different countries
Switzerland is a signatory to the Dublin Agreement, which aims to prevent a person from applying for asylum in multiple EU/EFTA states.* Under this agreement, only one country is responsible for examining a person’s asylum application. If you have already submitted an asylum application in another Dublin country, you will be sent back to that country.
(*EFTA states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland)
Threat to security
Asylum seekers who commit criminal offences or threaten the security of Switzerland will not be granted asylum. Unless there are reasons to the contrary, their application will be rejected and they must leave the country.
On its website, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) describes the asylum procedure in detail and which requirements you must fulfil to be granted refugee status. If you disagree with SEM’s decision, you can appeal.
Usually the entire asylum procedure takes place in a federal asylum centre. You can find out more about the centres, where asylum seekers also live, on SEM's web page of FAQs about the federal asylum centres (in French, German and Italian).
Asylum procedure (with video)
Addresses of the State Secretariat for Migration’s (SEM) federal asylum centres
SEM's web page of FAQs about the federal asylum centres (in French, German and Italian)