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Traveling via Trenord to Tirano and a quick (like, 8 minutes!) run across the Piazza Marinoni to the Dogana di Tirana and Ferrovia Tetica (SBB station) and onto our reserved coach on the Bernina Express to Samedan. I was scheduled for these trains on the Bernina Express website when I purchased seat reservations.

When and where do we have our passports checked going from EU to Swiss jurisdictions?

Does anyone who has gone through this recently know what we should expect?

Is such a tight transfer possible?

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    Technical nit: Ferrovia Tetica is not an SBB station, it is a Rhätische Bahn (RhB) station. The Rhätische Bahn is a private railway company, independent of the national SBB. (But, this being Switzerland, there is lots of cooperation between them.) – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jan 18 at 11:34
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You're likely fine. Since Switzerland is part of Schengen, there are no regular border checks and no formalities at the station, although inspectors may board the train for spot checks.

The major unknown factor here is whether your Italian train will stick to the schedule, since the Swiss train will leave on time. North Italy is usually OK though.

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    Thanks for this passport control check info. Yes, we are very tense about making this connection, having traveled from south of Roma to get to this border crossing and reserved seats on the Bernina Express. I know there is another local train in an hour so we are not stuck and hopefully will make our hotel reserved in Samedan for that night! – D Jones Feb 25 '17 at 17:19
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When and where do we have our passports checked going from EU to Swiss jurisdictions?

Switzerland, although not part of the EU, is part of Schengen, so there are formally no border checks "by default".

In practice, Switzerland does have frequent spot checks on entry at major land crossings; on the other hand, it's unlikely on a minor local train line such as this.

In case the Swiss border guard does board the train, they do it after the border. Sometimes at the first stop, sometimes up to 3-4 stations later. However, on local trains, more often than not they'll just walk through so as to state "we do exist" and then get off the train at the next stop.

Other than at Chiasso, trains do not remain at the border during checks; instead checks take place while the train is moving.

So no need to worry - unless the train is delayed due to other factors, you will be fine.

  • Many thanks for this detailed information, Craydre! I have crossed Switzerland from the north and not had a problem . . . or even recall an officer coming through to check. – D Jones Feb 25 '17 at 17:17
  • @DJones By train or bus? Much more common by bus. On long-distance trains, especially if crowded, they often only check certain passengers, and may not walk through the entire train. On local trains, like I said, and also when crossing by car, checks are much more rare. – Crazydre Feb 25 '17 at 17:27

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