I am a British citizen flying from the UK to Germany, stopping in Basel in Switzerland for about 5 to 6 hours waiting for a connecting flight to Dresden. Do I need to obtain a visa?

  • 7
    What? No, you're the EU citizen and can enjoy the freedom of movement. – Oleksandr Kravchuk Jul 13 '17 at 12:11
  • 4
    I assume the reason behind this question is the misconception that British citizens need a visa to enter Switzerland. However, Basel airport is not even in Switzerland, it's physically located in France and is jointly operated by France and Switzerland. – Jonathan Jul 13 '17 at 13:15
  • @Jonathan that must have been interesting before Switzerland joined the Schengen area. – phoog Jul 14 '17 at 2:39
  • @phoog There were two exits, one with Swiss border control and one with French (Schengen) border control. – Crazydre Jul 14 '17 at 5:50
  • @Jonathan Its border control is actually staffed by both Swiss and French officers working together. After baggage Claim, you can choose between an Exit for Switzerland and one France. Thus, if taking the bus to Zurich, which leaves from the French side, 50% of the time you'll be checked again by the Swiss (or in one exceptional case, strangely enough, by French customs) at the motorway checkpoint. – Crazydre Jul 14 '17 at 5:51

As long as the UK remains in the EU, you are also an EU citizen, so you cannot be required to have a visa to enter other EU countries. Switzerland is not in the EU, but it is a member of the Schengen system and participates in the freedom-of-movement regime, so you also cannot be required to have a visa there.

After the UK leaves the EU, its citizens will probably continue to enjoy visa-free status in the Schengen area, like citizens of most other countries with strong economies, but if the exit negotiations go particularly poorly then they might be required to have visas.

  • For tourism and basic transit, yes; but I needed a visa to take up a private commission there. – Gayot Fow Jul 13 '17 at 13:30
  • 1
    ... before UK joined the EU, its citizens were not required to have a visa to visit "the continent". – Weather Vane Jul 13 '17 at 13:30
  • @WeatherVane that has little bearing on the state after the UK leaves, of course. For one thing, the Schengen agreement did not exist when the UK joined the EU. For UK nationals to be exempt from Schengen visa requirements after leaving they will have to be added to"Annex II," which is very likely but not entirely certain. For example, if the UK decides to start requiring visas of nationals of some EU countries, the EU might refuse to add the UK to the annex. – phoog Jul 13 '17 at 14:17
  • 1
    @Edd on the other hand, the US requires visas of several EU countries' citizens, and plans to remove the US from Annex II are basically goingnowhere. – phoog Jul 13 '17 at 14:19
  • Switzerland is not in the EU but Basel airport is. It's located in France. – Neusser Jul 13 '17 at 14:25

You are still in the EU, and Switzerland is an EFTA state, so you never ever need a visa to go there under the current rules.

For the record, you'll clear Immigration at Basel and then fly to Dresden without any border control (unless the flight leaves from a non-Schengen gate, which happened to a bunch of flights to Germany and Greece in late May)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.