January 5, 2011

The Swiss immigration authorities have introduced a biometric component to the registration process for non- European Union (EU) nationals in Basel, effective 1 January 2011.  Biometric requirements for other cantons will follow.  Fingerprints and a biometric photograph are now required as part of the application for the foreigner’s registration document (residence permit).  The process is very new and is still subject to change; further details follow.

How Does the Biometric Process Work?

All non-European Union/non-European Free Trade Association national applicants in Basel are required to submit biometric data.  Currently, this means that applicants must attend the immigration office twice – the first time to submit the registration application, and the second time to submit fingerprints and to have the biometric photograph taken.

The authorities have indicated that from February, the process will have been improved so that the fingerprints and biometric photograph can be taken at the initial registration appointment – i.e. the registration will become a one step process again.

In the meantime, Pro-Link GLOBAL’s Swiss KGNM correspondent office is arranging the second appointment for our clients on a case by case basis.

Biometric Residence Permits in the EU     

Biometric residence permits are becoming standard throughout Europe.  The European Union has required all member states to introduce a biometric residence permit from 1 May 2011, in accordance with EC regulations 1030/2002 and 380/2008.  Since a biometric photograph and fingerprints are an integral part of the biometric residence permit, personal appearance to apply for the residence permits will be compulsory across the EU by mid 2011.  Biometric residence permits are already a reality in many member states, for example, the UK.


Note the requirement for an additional appointment in Basel for non-European Union national applicants; likely to be rolled out in other cantons soon.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader 

This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification.  Pro-Link GLOBAL worked with our PLG | KGNM Correspondent Office in Switzerland to provide you this update.