All travellers planning on visiting the USA, whether for work or leisure, are required to obtain a visa or ESTA as part of the visa waiver program. This is the same for Swiss citizens, so it is worth checking your circumstances so that you can prepare your visa or ESTA prior to travel. Please read on to find out more about immigration regulations for Swiss people visiting the USA to ensure you have done everything you need to receive entry into the United States.
If you are a Swiss citizen, assuming you meet all other criteria, you are able to obtain an ESTA rather than a full visa for your trip to the United States. An ESTA is an Electronic System for Travel Authorization which means that there is an authorisation attached to your passport to allow you to enter the country. ESTAs are currently available to citizens from 38 countries, including Switzerland.
If you are travelling to the United States for a reason other than business or leisure, such as to work or study, then you will need to obtain a different type of visa.
You will need to check your eligibility for an ESTA or other visa using the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
To obtain an ESTA, you will need to:
The whole process for applying for an ESTA as a Swiss citizen can be done online. You will need to apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before your departure to the U.S., and once you receive your ESTA, it will be valid for a period of up to two years (unless it becomes invalid for any reason or your passport expires before then).
It is vital that you complete your API (Advanced Passenger Information) at least 48 hours before your departure to the USA. All airlines are required to pass on the API details to US authorities the day before departure, so you risk being denied entry to the country or even onto the plane if you have not completed this.