A Chinese citizen in China holds an unexpired short-term Schengen visa (although essentially unusable at the moment) and wishes to travel to Switzerland for an exceptional reason. After a semi-refusal from the embassy for the exception, he has received an exceptional entry authorization from the State Secretariat for Migration in an letter, which they can confirm to suffice for the border authority. It is unclear if this will be accepted by other Schengen border authorities (e.g. Germany) for transit purpose, but I believe it is unlikely.

However, I am wondering if the passenger will be allowed by the airlines (particularly SWISS) to board a direct flight to Switzerland with the letter and the old visa.

1 Answer 1


Airlines use the TIMATIC database. Regarding Switzerland, the information comes from the SEM, but ironically SEM letters are not listed as an exemption. All it says is Swiss Schengen visas issued after 16 March can be used.

If the visa is issued before 16 March, you need to e-mail [email protected] (CC: [email protected]), attach the flight reservation and SEM letter, explain that the airline will NOT accept the passenger as it is, and ask that they co-ordinate with SWISS for an OK TO BOARD to be put in the reservation.

And indeed, the person must fly directly to Switzerland.

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