Switzerland to lift visa requirements on Kosovo in 2024
From January 1, 2024, people from Kosovo will be able to come and stay in Switzerland for a short time without a visa. The Swiss government has followed the European Union’s lead in allowing Kosovar citizens to enter the Schengen area for a short stay without having to secure a permit.
Switzerland and EU lift visa requirements on Kosovo
After the European Parliament gave the green light for visa-free travel from Kosovo in April, the Federal Council released a statement on May 19 stating that Switzerland would also be adopting the new rules. As a member of Schengen, rejecting the policy would have likely spelt the end of Switzerland’s membership of the area - which allows for inter-national movement between member countries without visas or strict passport requirements.
In a statement reported in Watson, the Federal Council has confirmed that Kosovo - a state which has been recognised as independent by Switzerland since February 2008 - now meets the requirements needed for its citizens to be given visa-free travel. These requirements have been met through improved security, border control and migration management measures implemented by Kosovar authorities.
The news will likely come as a pleasant surprise to the more than 114.800 Kosovars that currently call Switzerland home, who will now be able to invite their families for a short stay without having to go through the vigorous visa process.
What are the new Swiss visa rules for Kosovars?
From January 1, 2024, people from Kosovo will no longer be required to secure a Schengen tourist and visitor visa (often called the C- or European C-visa by Swiss authorities). Kosovar citizens only need a fully valid, biometric passport in order to visit the Schengen area (including Switzerland) for up to 90 days.
However, Kosovar citizens will still need to secure a residence permit if they want to live in the country beyond 90 days. As a “third country” that is not yet a member of the EU or EFTA, they will need to find a job in Switzerland and prove they are professionally qualified - and their prospective employer needs to prove that no equivalent worker can be found in Switzerland, the EU or EFTA - in order to remain in the country.