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Residence in Switzerland of partners of members of the personnel

CERN/IR-REL-RH/18323 - May 10, 2016

1. Definitions

a) CERN Staff Rules and Regulations

Article S IV 1.02 of the Staff Rules stipulates that “The term “marriage” includes registered civil partnerships; the term “spouse” includes registered partners”.

b) Swiss Federal Law

Under Swiss federal law, to which the text below essentially refers, the following definitions apply:

- "partners": a couple of the same sex (linked by a registered partnership),

- "common-law spouses": a couple of the opposite sex (unmarried).

Provided that they are aged 18 or more and are not blood relatives, two people of the same sex ("partners") may officially register their partnership with the competent registry office in order to give it a legal framework (a civil partnership commonly known as the Federal PACS).

Such partnerships are recognised by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAE), as are partnerships validly registered outside Switzerland, as long as they have the same legal effect as partnerships registered in Switzerland. Marriages between persons of the same sex which take place outside Switzerland are considered as registered partnerships. However, Swiss federal law does not define a special legal framework for partnerships between persons of the opposite sex (common-law spouses) and does not recognise such partnerships registered outside Switzerland.

N.B.: Geneva cantonal law provides for a form of partnership (a civil partnership commonly known as the Geneva PACS) open to same-sex and opposite-sex couples alike; while it is not recognised by the DFAE, it is recognised by CERN within the meaning of Article S IV 1.02 of the Staff Rules and Regulations.

2. Opposite-sex (common-law) partnerships

The partner of a member of the personnel will be issued with a DFAE legitimation card of the same type as the one issued to the member of the personnel, provided that:

- the couple is living together in Switzerland, and

- the couple has entered into a civil partnership recognised by CERN within the meaning of Article S IV 1.02 of the Staff Rules and Regulations.

If the partnership is not recognised by CERN, the Swiss authorities will, on an exceptional basis, issue an “H”-type DFAE legitimation card, which does not confer any privileges or immunities* on the partner (common-law spouse), provided that the couple:

- is living together in Switzerland, and

- has had one or more children together or is able to supply proof of a stable, long-standing relationship (e.g. a notarial deed or an official contract).

The Swiss authorities also issue legitimation cards to the partner's children if they are unmarried and under 25 years of age; in the case of minors (children under 18 years of age), the partner must have legal custody, or, where applicable, must provide written authorisation from the other parent.

The application must be made through a detailed letter submitted by the Organization (Relations with the Host States Service) describing the specific circumstances. Persons who require a visa to reside in Switzerland must obtain a favourable response from the authorities regarding the issue of a legitimation card before applying for their visa and coming to Switzerland.

3. Same-sex partnerships

a) Members of the personnel who have officially registered their partnership

The partner will be issued with a DFAE legitimation card of the same type as the one issued to the member of the personnel, provided that:

- the couple is living together in Switzerland, and

- the partnership is recognised by CERN within the meaning of Article S IV 1.02 of the Staff Rules and Regulations, and

- the partnership is recognised by the DFAE (see paragraph 1.b above).

The Swiss authorities also issue legitimation cards to the partner's children if they are unmarried and under 25 years of age; in the case of minors (children under 18 years of age), the partner must have legal custody, or, where applicable, must provide written authorisation from the other parent.

b) Other cases

The Swiss authorities will, on an exceptional basis, issue an "H"-type DFAE legitimation card, which does not confer any privileges or immunities on the partner*, provided that the couple:

- is living together in Switzerland, and

- is able to supply proof of a stable, long-standing relationship (e.g. a notarial deed or an official contract).

The Swiss authorities also issue legitimation cards to the partner's children if they are unmarried and under 25 years of age; in the case of minors (children under 18 years of age), the partner must have legal custody, or, where applicable, must provide written authorisation from the other parent.

The application must be made through a detailed letter submitted by the Organization (Relations with the Host States Service) describing the specific circumstances. Persons who require a visa to reside in Switzerland must obtain a favourable response from the authorities regarding the issue of a legitimation card before applying for their visa and coming to Switzerland.

*N.B.: Holders of an “H”-type legitimation card are subject to ordinary Swiss law, in particular to legislation concerning social security and tax.

Relations with the Host States Service
Tel.: 72848
relations.secretariat@cern.ch