No electronic devices, backpacks and suitcases allowed in the Consular Section in Bern
In order to ensure everyone's safety and to ensure that security screening does not delay admission to the Consulate, no electronic devices (including phones) may be brought into the Embassy or Consulate. Backpacks, handbags and suitcases are not permitted. Security personnel will not store items for applicants. We therefore suggest that all such items be left at home, in a locked car, at a locker at the train station, or with a friend or relative who remains outside the premises.
We encourage visitors to bring only necessary documents with them.
The United States Embassy in Bern strongly encourages travelers to apply early for their visas. This is particularly true for students and exchange visitors, so that they can begin their educational programs on time. Thank you again for your interest in visiting the United States!
Are you sure you need a visa? What type of Visa do you need?
- If you are a traveler from a Visa Waiver Program country such as Switzerland or Liechtenstein, travel for up to 90 days for simple business or pleasure, and carry an eligible passport, then you may travel to the United States without a visa if you meet certain requirements. For additional information on the Visa Waiver Program, click here.
- Click here to see if your current Swiss passport can be used to travel under the Visa Waiver Program.
- If you are not able to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, you must apply for a visa. Click here to find out how to set up an appointment through our call center, how to pay the visa application processing (MRV) fee, and to learn what documentation you will need to bring with you to the embassy.
- All visa applicants, except for those applying for official or diplomatic visas, will need to appear at the American Embassy for an interview. We recommend you schedule an appointment as early as possible.
- If you intend to live and reside in the United States, please consult our immigrant visa webpage.
- Reading and understanding a visa.
Emergency requests for an expedited interview appointment can be made through the same toll number used to make regular appointments. These requests are typically granted for the following reasons:
- Emergency medical treatment, including those who need to accompany the individual requiring treatment, such as parents or caregivers;
- Students and exchange visitors in danger of missing the start of their program;
- Emergent business travel;
- Family emergency, such as death;
- Other emergencies, such as required appearance in a U.S. court.
You should be prepared to present evidence of the emergency situation.
Information for Third Country Nationals
The Embassy accepts and welcomes all applicants for visas, regardless of nationality. For holders of passports from a country other than Switzerland or Liechtenstein, however, the following points should be kept in mind.
- We recommend that all applicants apply in their country of permanent residence. It is often difficult for a temporary visitor to Switzerland or Liechtenstein to prove that they are qualified for a visa and the Consul may have to refuse the visa application and recommend that the applicant re-applies in their country of residence.
- Depending on your nationality, reciprocal issuance fees for the visa and limitations on the period of validity may apply. The table of fees can be viewed by clicking here. If you are required to pay an issuance fee, please be prepared to pay it at the embassy following your interview.
- Those who have more than one nationality should bring all their passports for all nationalities.
Visa Processing Time
In most cases, the consular officer who adjudicates your visa case will be able to tell you the same day whether or not a visa can be issued. Regretfully, same day printing of visas is not possible. You are requested to provide an envelope with appropriate postage, so that we can return your passport (with the visa inside) via the Swiss postal system.
You also have the option to pick up your passport at the embassy when it is ready. If you or your representative would like to arrange to pick up your passport, please request this during your interview. If a visa can be issued, you will be provided with a pick up slip for your passport. Generally, passports are available for pick up only at 4pm on the date specified by the consular officer.
Please be aware that other factors such as the need for administrative processing, incomplete applications, and anti-fraud investigations may influence the processing of individual visa cases. Timing will vary based on the circumstances of each case. To prevent delays of your travel plans, please check current visa wait times and once again, apply for your visa as early as possible.