On your first visit to CERN

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Detailed Review status



The CERN facility spans two sites; Meyrin in Switzerland and Prevessin in France. While the CMS detector is located in France, Cessy (Point 5), which is about 15 km from CERN Meyrin site, the facilities and offices that most CMS members will use when visiting CERN are all in the Meyrin site.

The purpose of this WorkBook chapter is to give users a few tips to make their first visit to CERN as smooth as possible.

Before coming

See CERN's users' office page .

Before coming to CERN, you must make sure you have all of the required documents. You should work your way through the checklist on the User Contracts Registration page of the Users Office. Or, if you're a short-term visitor (upto three months) go to Short Term Registration. These pages contain most of the information you need for coming to CERN.

Note that you will need your passport, proof of your medical insurance including death and disability (an insurance card is sufficient), and a copy of your contract or other documentation confirming your employment (or enrollment, if a student) at your home institute.

Find out who Team Leader is since you will need his/her signature on the UO registration form.

On arrival

If you arrive during working hours, your first stop should be the CERN Reception at Building 33 to get a temporary visitor card. If you are staying in the CERN Hostel, you can collect your key at the building 39 hostel reception desk (even if you are staying in building 38). If you arrive outside normal hours, your key will be waiting for you at the security office (building 120).

On your first full working day, you'll need to visit the Users' Office. It is located near the restaurant, bank, and post office in building 61) and take all the documentation mentioned above. You will be asked to go to building 55 to collect your CERN access card.

Once your CERN registration is done, please pass by the CMS Secretariat to register in the CMS Database. The online CMS Registration Form can be completed in advance.

Useful information about CERN

See the CERN Guide for Newcomers .

Language and Currency

CERN is a bilingual international organization (French/English).

In Switzerland, Swiss Francs (CHF) are the local currency, while in France the Euro is used, and there are few places which will take either currency. The exchange rate is approximately CHF 1.5 = EURO 1. The automatic teller machines in the main building (building 50) on the Meyrin site provide cash in either currency.

Getting around

The number 9 bus will take you from the main site (Meyrin) into the centre of Geneva for CHF3 (you must provide the correct change for the bus).

A recommended point to get off for your first trip into town is the main train station, Gare Cornavin. This puts you essentially in the centre of town, and it's very easy to find the bus back to CERN!

Note that you can also borrow bikes from CERN for free during your stay (a deposit of 100 CHF is required).

Living in France

It is a bit cheaper to live on the French side of the border - hotel rates are much less, food is cheaper, ...

See visa requirements for Switzerland and France at UO web pages . Please note: This needs to be done and submitted well in advance of your trip.

Invitation letters requests:


Please read carefully the Dosimetry Service web pages for information about getting a dosimeter (and note the medical certificate requirements that exist in some cases). You should wear a dosimeter when at CERN unless you are working only in offices. It is compulsory if you will be in any radiation controlled areas, e.g. around a radioactive source in a laboratory.

If you have a dosimeter, you are required to have it checked every month, even if you are not at CERN.

Further information

Users FAQ

Most of the information in this workbook chapter was sourced by following links in the CERN Users Office FAQ, which is a very useful document to consult if you have a problem or question.

Review status

Reviewer/Editor and Date (copy from screen)Sorted ascending Comments
KatiLassilaPerini - 28 Nov 2006 Implemented comments from Marie-Claude

Responsible: JennyWilliams
Last reviewed by: Marie-Claude.Pelloux - 28 Nov 2006

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Topic revision: r18 - 2007-03-19 - GregorySchott



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