1.6 On your first visit to CERN

Complete: 5

Detailed Review status

Contents

Introduction

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

Procedure for obtaining invitation letter for visas for Switzerland and France

In accordance with the Status Agreement with CERN, Switzerland and France facilitate the entry of members of the Organization’s personnel onto their territories. Where relevant, detailed procedures for obtaining visas apply.

Invitation letters request:

-for US citizens and any other nationalities applying a visa from US, please contact Yasemin Yazgan

-for other CERN Non Member States citizens please contact cms-invitation@cernNOSPAMPLEASE.ch

Short Term Visa

Given that the Organization is located on the border between France and Switzerland, we strongly recommend that you contact the relevant consulates for information on the entry conditions applicable to you in these two countries, specifying the duration and nature of your work at CERN. Where appropriate, you are invited to take the necessary steps to obtain the requisite documents, in particular a visa for entry to the Schengen member countries:

- either by going to the Swiss Consulate competent for your usual place of residence, taking this letter with you, explaining that you will become a member of the CERN personnel and that as such you will be entitled to freedom of access to, and residence on, Swiss territory under Article 12 of the Status Agreement between CERN and Switzerland dated 11 June 1955;

- or by going to the French Consulate competent for your usual place of residence as soon as you receive this letter, presenting the enclosed protocole d'accueil and explaining that you will become a member of the CERN personnel and that as such you will be entitled to freedom of access to, and residence on, French territory (without visa charges and without delay) under Article XI § 2 of the Status Agreement between CERN and France dated 13 September 1965, as revised on 16 June 1972.

Data needed (as in passport) for the short term (less than 3 months stay) visa request:

  1. Family name(s):
  2. First name(s):
  3. Date of birth:
  4. Place of birth:
  5. Complete current address of residence:
  6. Telephone:
  7. Email:
  8. Academic title or status: (undergraduate, graduate, master, PhD, etc):
  9. Employing institute or University:
  10. Address of the institute/univ:
  11. Foreseeable start date of the stay:
  12. Foreseeable end date of the stay:
  13. Number of foreseeable visits during one year:

Long Term Visa

Given that the Organization is located on the border between France and Switzerland, we strongly recommend that you contact the relevant consulates for information on the entry conditions applicable to you in these two countries, specifying the duration and nature of your work at CERN. Where appropriate, you are invited to take the necessary steps to obtain the requisite documents, in particular multiple-entry long-stay visas:
  1. a Swiss D+C type visa if you are establishing your place of residence in Switzerland, or
  2. a Swiss D+C type and a French D type visa :
    • if you are establishing your place of residence in France
    • or if you have not yet decided where to establish your future place of residence.

For Switzerland: you must go to the Swiss Consulate competent for your usual place of residence, taking this letter with you, and request a visa bearing the words “prise de fonctions au CERN”, explaining that you will become a member of the CERN personnel and that as such you will be entitled to a legitimation card issued by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and to freedom of access to, and residence on, Swiss territory under Article 12 of the Status Agreement between CERN and Switzerland dated 11 June 1955.

For France: as soon as you receive this letter, you must go to the French Consulate competent for your usual place of residence and request a visa bearing the words “carte PRO-MAE à solliciter dès l’arrivée”, making reference to CERN’s Note Verbale to the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and to the agreement that the Ministry has addressed to the above-mentioned Consulate in your favour, and specifying that you are entitled to freedom of access to, and residence on, French territory (without visa charges and without delay) under Article XI § 2 of the Status Agreement between CERN and France dated 13 September 1965 as revised on 16 June 1972.

Data needed (as in passport) for the long term (more than 3 months stay) visa requests:

  1. Family name(s):
  2. First name(s):
  3. Date of birth:
  4. Place of birth:
  5. Passport number:
  6. Passport issue date:
  7. Place of issue of passport:
  8. Passport validity:
  9. Complete current address of residence:
  10. Telephone:
  11. Email:
  12. Academic title or status: (undergraduate, graduate, master, PhD, etc):
  13. Employing institute or University:
  14. Address of institute/univ:
  15. Foreseeable start date of the stay:
  16. Foreseeable end date of the stay:
  17. Foreseeable place of residence (France/Switzerland):

Please note that it is important that you provide the same information for your spouse and/or family accompanying you.

Useful information can be obtained from the Swiss and French diplomatic representations abroad, as well as from the following Web pages:

Arriving at Geneva Airport (Cointrin) or Geneva Train Station (Cornavin)

Taxi

A taxi to CERN Reception, building 33 from the airport will cost approx. 35 Swiss francs, from the railway station approx. 70 Swiss francs. The journey takes about 10 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes from the train station.

Public Transport from the Airport

On arrival by air, take a free ticket from the ticket machine (baggage claim area). The “Unireso” ticket, issued free of charge by Geneva International Airport, enables you to use public transport in Geneva public transport in Geneva for 80 minutes. This ticket is only valid with your flight ticket to prove that you have arrived on that day.

Otherwise you will need 3 CHF (or 2 EUR) to buy a bus ticket from the ticket machine at the bus stop.

To get to CERN take bus 57 from the Airport to P+R Planche, and from there bus 56 to CERN. Note that Bus 57 does not run on Sundays! To get to CERN from the airport on a Sunday you will need to take Bus 23 (Direction ZIPLO) to Blandonnet. Walk about 6 minutes to the Blandonnet tram stop and take tram number 14 or 16 to Vaudagne. From Vaudagne take bus 56 marked to its terminus as CERN.

To get to CERN from the train station take the tram number 14 or 16 to Vaudagne. From Vaudagne take bus 56 marked to its terminus as CERN.

You can find more information about coming to CERN on the CERN homepage under 'How to Get to CERN'.

Arriving at CERN

CERN Reception is open from 8.00 a.m. to 5.45 p.m. (Monday – Friday) and form 8.30 a.m. to 17.15 p.m. (Saturday).

If you arrive during working hours, your first stop should be the CERN Reception in building 33. You will receive a temporary visitor pass from the reception. They will indicate to you where to go e.g. to the CMS Secretariat in bldg 40-5-B01.

Accommodation

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 Check-In Procedure page of the Users Office. Or, if you're a short-term visitor (up to three months) go to Short Term Registration in the User Form page. 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 enrolment, if a student) at your home institute.

Find out who your 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 CMS pre-registration form can be completed in advance.

For the computer account, follow the instructions given in section Getting a Computer Account.

Laptop registration

Laptop: The NICE account is needed (and activated at least one day earlier) for the registration of a laptop, see Getting a Computer Account.

Procedure: open the wireless, search the "CERN" network and follow the instructions.

In case you need ethernet, it has to be registered separately as well as the wall plug. For details, see: http://network.cern.ch/

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 1.6 = EURO 1. The automatic teller machines in the main building (building 50) on the Meyrin site provide cash in either currency (though for foreign cards they will provide only Swiss Francs.

Should you need to open a bank account in Switzerland (e.g. summer studentship programme participants need to open a bank account to receive their subsistence payments) it is usual and easiest to open an account with the UBS bank which has a branch in the main building (building 50).

Getting around

The number 56 bus will take you from the main site (Meyrin) to the Vaudagne stop where you need to change to tram (14 or 16) to get into the centre of Geneva. See details in English in the Users' Office page for visitors. You can get to the airport with bus Y.

The ticket costs CHF3 and it can be bought from a ticket machine at each but stop but the machine does not give change (however, it prints the amount you paid too much and you can get your money back in the TPG offices). You can also by 20, 30 or 50CHF bus cards at the news stand in the main building.

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 tram back to CERN.

Note that you can also borrow bikes from CERN for free during your stay. A refundable deposit of 100 CHF is required and lights and a lock are provided, as well as servicing for punctures and other problems.

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:

Dosimeters

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.

Miscellaneous information

Phoning

For making local calls, you can purchase cheap SIM cards at the general store in the main building (building 50) - for 20 Francs, you get a SIM card with 20 Francs credit and very cheap local calls and texts and good rates for texting overseas. The drawback is that all the instructions are in either French, Italian or German! For international calls you should investigate the calling cards which are available in many shops.

Cinema

There are plenty of cinemas with English- and French-language viewings of films in Geneva which are very close to the CERN bus-stops. You should check in advance to determine the schedules and languages of the presentations.

Review status

Reviewer/Editor and Date (copy from screen) Comments
KatiLassilaPerini - 25-Nov-2009 updated links
KatiLassilaPerini - 08 Dec 2008 updated users office links
KatiLassilaPerini - 24 Jan 2008 minor edits
KatiLassilaPerini - 28 Nov 2006 Implemented comments from Marie-Claude
JennyWilliams - 07 Oct 2007 General editing, and added comments about cell phones and bikes

Responsible: KatiLassilaPerini
Last reviewed by: Marie-Claude.Pelloux - 22 Feb 2008

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Topic revision: r37 - 2010-02-10 - KirstiAspola


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