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Decision to no longer issue legitimation cards to the family members of personnel residing in France

Since the start of the pandemic, particularly at the time of the restrictions at the Swiss-French border, which were decided by the Swiss Federal Council and enforced from 16 March to 15 June 2020, the Organization and the Staff Association have raised concerns about Switzerland’s decision to no longer issue legitimation cards to the family members of CERN personnel residing in France. During this time, CERN has held many discussions with the Swiss permanent mission to the UN and other international organisations in Geneva (Swiss Mission) with a view to clarifying the conditions for the issue of these cards.

In spite of numerous attempts to argue the case on the part of both the Management and subsequently the Staff Association, the Swiss authorities have confirmed that they will no longer issue legitimation cards to family members of CERN personnel residing in France, nor renew them when they expire, regardless of the grade of the member of the personnel concerned, pursuant to the provisions of the headquarters agreement signed between CERN and the Swiss Federal Council and those of the status agreement between CERN and the Government of the French Republic.

The Organization has taken note of this decision. However, CERN and the Swiss mission are continuing to work together closely to implement pragmatic means of avoiding certain consequences of this decision that could potentially be detrimental for the family members concerned.

As a result, family members are guaranteed the following rights at all times, provided that they present adequate supporting documents and comply with the health measures in force, as well as with ordinary Swiss rules:

  • access to public* and private Swiss educational establishments (primary and secondary schools, universities, continuing education),
  • access to healthcare providers (medical follow-up care, cases of absolute necessity),
  • transit to France from Geneva airport.

The conditions governing the issue of Swiss legitimation cards are summarised in the relevant section of the Admin e-guide: https://admin-eguide.web.cern.ch/procedure/cartes-suisses.


* For the Canton of Geneva:

  • The regulations governing primary educational establishments in the Canton of Geneva stipulate that, subject to the availability of places, such establishments may admit pupils residing in neighbouring France if at least one of the parents is liable for income tax in Geneva on remunerated work performed in the canton on a permanent basis (see Article 23a, let. b): https://www.ge.ch/legislation/rsg/f/rsg_c1_10p21.html
  • The same rule applies to the cycle d’orientation (see the Regulations of the cycle d’orientation of the Canton of Geneva, Article 25b, let b): https://www.ge.ch/legislation/rsg/f/rsg_c1_10p26.html


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