I have been asked for the following information:

Si vous pourriez demander à la commune un certificat pour une explication de votre séjour en Suisse.

Google translate:

If you could ask the municipality for a certificate for an explanation of your stay in Switzerland.

I'm not really sure what is being referred to as the "commune." Secondly, a certificate for an explanation of your stay in Switzerland doesn't sound like an actual thing.

I'm specifically asking about the municipality of Genève in Geneva, if that makes any difference.


  • 5
    Who or what is asking for this certificate?
    – user105640
    Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 14:44
  • 1
    A visa application center in Bern.
    – Mou某
    Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 14:46
  • 2
    Commune is just French for municipality - en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_of_Switzerland Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 14:47
  • 2
    For Geneva, I suspect you want the OCPM. Be forewarned, everything with OCPM must be done in person, and you will have to queue for a long time to speak to anyone.
    – MJeffryes
    Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 14:52
  • 1
    @Mo. What country are you applying for a visa for? Some countries only allow you to apply for a visa form the embassy/consulate/application center that serves your place of residence. What is your citizenship? What is you status in Switzerland? Are you a resident? In that case you should have a “permis”, and that’s probably what they are asking for.
    – jcaron
    Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


Commune or Gemeinde in German is the basic administrative unit of Switzerland, usually corresponding to a city or village.

In many cantons, you would have registered your arrival in Switzerland and applied the residence permit at a communal office (e.g. contrôle des habitants, bureau des étrangers, office de la population).

However, in Geneva, due to its small size and the city-canton structure, arrivals are declared to the canton directly, at the Office cantonal de la population et des migrations (OCPM).

While your residence permit is being processed, the communal office, or in your case, the cantonal office, can issue a certificate to attest your status in Switzerland so you can apply for housing and open bank accounts etc.

In Geneva, you can apply online as described at https://www.ge.ch/obtenir-attestation-office-cantonal-population-migrations/comment-obtenir-attestation-ocpm. The certificate will be sent to your registered address (unless you have an e-service account already).

It will contain your address and attest to your legal stay or residence in Switzerland.

  • Is there an English page explaining the process for getting the attestation? Besides popping it into Google translate?
    – Mou某
    Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 17:29
  • @Mo. I can't find an English page for the process, but the language is fairly simple and the built-in translator in Chrome produces alright results for me. It will only be a simple online form to fill out with your personal information.
    – xngtng
    Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 17:33
  • One last question: do you think using the contact form will also work? I looked at the form for the residence attestation, but I'm not sure what type of permit I will even be awarded. It's hard to get beyond the first question.
    – Mou某
    Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 17:38
  • @Mo. I would think it would work as well. But you might experience some delays right now as the offices are understaffed and overloaded due to COVID.
    – xngtng
    Commented Aug 22, 2020 at 17:41

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