The thorny problem of crossing borders in crisis

The COVID-19 crisis is also an opportunity to learn lessons in many areas concerning our daily lives and those of our families. The Staff Association has received several questions and remarks from our colleagues who are concerned about access to healthcare in Switzerland for their family members or border crossing when children study in Switzerland while the family is domiciled in France.

Indeed, Switzerland has unilaterally restricted access to its territory for several months. Although this measure has recently been lifted, it in fact creates a distinction between members of the same family according to whether or not they are in possession of a legitimation card. 

There is no guarantee that such a closure of the borders between France and Switzerland will not happen again in the future, either because of a new wave of COVID pandemic or any other reason.

The Association raised this concern during the Extraordinary Standing Concertation Committee meeting on 9 April and again at the Standing Concertation Committee meeting on 11 June. It was indicated that the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) only issues a legitimation card to family members who live in Switzerland and live in the same household as the principal holder of a legitimation card.

However, this information contradicts Administrative Circular No. 15, which states that the place of residence (in France or Switzerland) plays no role. Furthermore, we have verified that our colleagues from other international organisations based in Geneva (WTO, UNOG, ILO) still receive legitimation cards for their family members, if they request them and even if they reside in France. 

In conclusion and based on our information, any colleague residing in France and interested in receiving the Swiss legitimation cards for the members of his or her family may make a request to the cards service using the following model. 



According to Administrative Circular No. 15, members of my family fall under Article 8 b) i and therefore have the right to benefit from a Swiss legitimation card. Indeed, Article 8 a) makes it clear that the place of residence (France or Switzerland) plays no role. 

I should therefore be grateful if you would be so kind as to issue such cards for members of my family and forward my application to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).

I am enclosing all the necessary documents. [See the necessary documents here ]

Thank you in advance.

by Staff Association