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5 May 2022

Escape from Ukraine - A Swiss Welcome with open Arms

Switzerland's solidarity with the fleeing Ukrainian population has been considerable since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. This solidarity is reflected, in addition to many governmental and private assistance, in the introduction of the protection status S. The protection status S allows the Ukrainian population to receive asylum in Switzerland swiftly and easily. How to obtain the protection status S and what you need to consider, will be answered in the following blog post. In addition, you will receive key information on the topic of entry, visa and other questions regarding your asylum in Switzerland. At the end of our blog, you will also find helpful websites containing useful information on health care, public transport and other topics.

Since the legal situation is constantly changing, we recommend that you always visit the official websites as well. This blog post is also written in German and Ukrainian.

A.  Entry and Visa

Entering Switzerland is uncomplicated for Ukrainian citizens. You only need your entry documents. In case you do not have them, it is sufficient if you can show that you fled Ukraine because of the war.

Entry and stay in Switzerland and all other Schengen countries is possible for 90 days without a visa. The 90-day period starts from the moment of your entry into a Schengen country (Romania is not one of them). After this period, however, you must seek official approval of your further stay in Switzerland. For this purpose, we recommend you apply for the protection status S.

B.  Protection Status S

Upon arrival in Switzerland, you immediately have the option to apply for protection status S which is a special status, differing from the ordinary asylum status. Through protection status S, refugees should receive the following rights and assistance quickly:

  • Accommodation
  • Financial support
  • Medical care
  • Permission for the reunification of family members
  • Permission to take up gainful employment (self-employed or employed)
  • Children can go to school

The protection status S is limited to one year. After that, it can be renewed repeatedly. For more information on your rights and available assistance, see the Website of Swiss Refugee Council and the websites listed below.

C.   Request Protection Status S

To apply for S protection status, you must register at one of the following six federal asylum centers with procedural functions.

Boudry Bern Basel
Rue de l'Hôspital 60
2017 Boudry
Morillonstrasse 75
3007 Bern
Freiburgerstrasse 50
4057 Basel
Chiasso Zurich Altstätten (St. Gallen)
Via Milano 23
6830 Chiasso
Duttweilerstrasse 11
8005 Zurich
Schöntalerstrasse 2
9450 Altstätten

To register, you can visit in person at any time or make an appointment using the application form. On the federal website you will find the current occupancy and waiting times of the respective federal asylum center.

Once you have registered with a federal asylum center, you will automatically receive accommodation and meals. You are also covered by health insurance from the time you submit your application and can use public transport in Switzerland free of charge (currently limited until May 31, 2022).

After registration, you will be assigned to a canton. This canton is responsible for your care and accommodation during your stay in Switzerland. The accommodation will be in a state institution or with a private aid organization or host family. Your own preferences will be taken into account as far as possible in the allocation process. Families will be accommodated together.

D.   Evaluation of your Application

In order for you to obtain the protection status S, you must meet certain criteria. The clarification whether you meet the respective criteria for the protection status S usually takes between 1-3 days.

The two most important criteria are that you have not already filed your application for protection status S in another country and that you belong to a protected group.

Such a protected group includes, for example, all Ukrainian citizens and their family members who resided in Ukraine before February 24, 2022. Family members include partners, minor children and other close relatives who were fully or partially supported at the time of escape. However, non-Ukrainian nationals may also belong to a protection group under certain circumstances and thus apply for protection status S. Further information on the individual criteria can be found on the website of Swiss Refugee Council.

If your application is rejected because you cannot be assigned to a protection group or you have already submitted your application in another EU state, you still have the option of submitting an ordinary asylum application. You will be informed directly by the competent authority about the ordinary asylum procedure and the further procedure and you will receive legal support.

We can also support you in this difficult situation. For free legal advice you can contact us at the following e-mail address:

Further useful information and assistance can be found on the websites of governmental and private agencies listed below.


Federal Website

Swiss Red Cross

Public Transport

Here you will find information about the asylum procedure, about life in the Federal Asylum Center (BAZ) and in Switzerland.

Here you can find out more about medical care in Switzerland and further assistance.

On this website you will find a lot of information about fleeing and staying in Switzerland. 

This website informs you about the use of public transport in Switzerland.

Entry with Animals

Job Placement

Legal Advice

Shelter for Women

The entry with animals is subject to notification and authorization. You can find information and the registration form here.

Here you can find a job placement website, which is aimed at Ukrainian refugees.

The Zurich Bar Association has set up a contact point for refugees from Ukraine. The legal advice is free.

Since many women are currently fleeing alone, there is a danger that this emergency situation will be exploited. In this regard, the specialized office for trafficking in women will help you.

Authors: Liam de LouwereUrs Haegi

Category: Immigration


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