1.6 Information for Newcomers

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 for a visa from US, please contact Yasemin Yazgan

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

Please also see general information on visas for entry and stays in the Host States.

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:

Important! Everybody coming to work at CERN with a Schengen visa issued by the Swiss authorities for any period of time less than 3 months and needing to go to France for any reasons are requested to have an official PROTOCOLE D'ACCUEIL document that they must keep with them together with the passport at all times and show at the Users Office when registering.

This document is prepared at CERN, then sent for approval to the Sub-Prefecture in Gex, France and then returned to CERN.

The Protocole d'accueil covers normally only the duration of the stay in question. A new one must be requested for every new stay. However, for the persons coming regularly to CERN (and who are registered at the users office for less then 51%), it is proposed to issue it for a period of 2 years if the stay does not exceed 90 days at one time.

In most cases you can collect the protocole from the Secretariat.

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):
  18. Will you be accompanied by your family:

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 and Train Station

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 28, 23 or 57 from the Airport to Blandonnet, and from there tram 18 to CERN. You can also take bus Y from the Airport to CERN directly (it goes once per hour).

There is a regular shuttle service between CERN (building 500) and the Geneva Airport every hour from 08:00 to 19:00, from Mondays to Fridays (except public holidays and CERN end of year closure). CERN SHUTTLE SERVICE

To get to CERN from the Train station take the tram number 18 to CERN directly.

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 from 8.30 a.m. to 5.15 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

Be fairly quick with a hostel reservation as they are often very full, but they only take reservations two months in advance. It is a bit cheaper to live on the French side of the boarder.

You can consult the CERN Housing Service website which includes information relating to the CERN hostel booking rules, special negotiated rates for hotels in the local area, rental offers from the local private sector, etc. Or the CERN Housing Service team can be contacted directly in case you have any queries (reception in Building 39, tel. 74481).

The easiest and quickest way to reserve rooms at CERN is via the web booking tool . Please note that any reservation canceled less than 48 hours in advance will incur a one-night payment penalty - if you change plans please inform the hostel as soon as possible so that the room can be re-allocated.

St. Genis Hostel

Address: Foyer Résidence Schumann, 340 rue de l’Europe F-01630 Saint Genis Pouilly, France Tel: 00 33 (0) 450 42 13 66

The reception desk at the St. Genis hostel is open from 16h00 to 18h00 for check-in, but you can leave luggage at the reception desk from 8h00 to 12h00. You have Wi-Fi connection in the hostel.

Transport to the Hostel from CERN

At CERN you can get a shuttle bus to the hostel during the opening hours of CERN. Outside opening hours you can take the Y bus or ask for a taxi from the Guard at gate B.

Equipment in kitchen

The kitchens are equipped with a fridge, hot plate, hot and cold water. There is no equipment for cooking like pots, pans, plates, cups, knives, spoons, etc. The supermarket is close by for buying all kinds of food and essential cooking equipment.

Meyrin Hostel

Address: CERN Meyrin site, Building no. 39, Meyrin, Switzerland Tel. 00 41 (0) 22 767 44 81

The reception desk is open from 7h30 to 00h30. You have Wi-Fi connection in the hostel.

Late arrival If you arrive after opening hours, go to the Entrance gate B and announce yourself to the Guard. He will give you your room key and show you where the hostel is, just a short walk on foot from entrance B.

Accommodation Outside CERN

There are many hostels in or around Geneva center which will take people for anything from a night to several years. However there are always long waiting lists and you must almost always reserve a room long in advance.

Hostels

Geneva University

EasyExpat.com

Foyer George Willimas

Hostels with Dorm-Rooms

Home Saint Pierre

City Hostel Geneva

Hotels

Reasonably Cheap Hotels

Hotels in the Area

Registering at CERN

Before coming to CERN, you must make sure you have all the required documents. You should work your way through the registration form on the Check-In Procedure page of the Users Office. You should get the registration form signed by the authorized person before you come to CERN, this will make the procedure much faster. Also have a look at the Users Office Homepage. These pages contain most of the information you need for coming to CERN.

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

Note that you will need a copy of the invitation letter(s), 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. The proof of employment should mention the contract duration and the insurance, which covers you during your stay at CERN. As of now, only a proof of employment signed by a person from the administration is acceptable, not one signed by the Team Leader (unless a letter from the administration has been sent to the Users’ Office indicating that the Team Leader has the right to sign such attestations on behalf of the employer).

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

Registering with CMS

Once your CERN registration is done, please pass by the CMS Secretariat to register in the CMS database. To be officially registered in the CMS people database, please complete the web based CMS Registration Form. The CMS pre-registration form can be completed in advance.

After the form has been submitted, an email is sent to your Institute Representative (Team Leader) for approval.

Creation of Computer Account

Before you get a Computer Account on the IT-CMS server, you must be registered both in the CERN Database and as a collaborator in the CMS database. Then follow the instructions given in section Getting a Computing Account.

Laptop Registration

The NICE account is needed (and activate at least one day earlier) for the registration of a laptop. Open the wireless, search for 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

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 are in a radiation controlled area, e.g. a radioactive source in a laboratory.

Cash Payments for Subsistence (Team Account)

If you are entitled to receive a subsistence during your stay at CERN, please contact Ani Yaneva (in 40-5-B05) or Kirsti Aspola (in 40-5-A24). But first you must be properly registered. One day after receiving notification that cash will be treated, you can go to the Post Office counter (Post Office Meyrin (9:00-16:00) Bldg. 63, tel. 72798). You may have to sign the subsistence claim in EDH.

Bring with you: CERN access card and a valid ID document.

Please note that your cash voucher must be picked up within two months after which it will expire.

Insurance

Insurance cover against illness and occupational and non-occupational accidents, disability and death is obligatory for the entire duration of your stay.

In accordance with the CERN Staff Rules and Regulations, your social insurance cover is the responsibility of your employer or of the educational institution at which you are normally enrolled. If you do not have this kind of insurance covering you for both Switzerland and France, you are under the strict obligation to take the necessary measures to safeguard yourself against the economic consequences of illness, accidents and disability throughout your entire stay at CERN. This obligation also applies to any family members accompanying you.

CERN Health Insurance (UNIQA): Please take note that you cannot be insured by Uniqa if you do not enroll during the first 60 days of your stay. Full coverage: about 1'042 CHF/month. Reduced coverage: about 512 CHF/month, check the CHIS - Contributions). UNIQA might be more expensive, but if you have a spouse/children, can be worth it.

Golden Care: 160 – 200 CHF/month depending on age group. Contact persons for CERN: Manuel Cortes, tel.: +41 22 786 12 00. Please visit website.

Swiss Care: for researchers from 90 CHF/month. Please visit website.

If you live in Switzerland:

ALLIANZ: Boulevard du Pont d'Arve 28, 1205 Geneva, tel: 022 708 0606

LLOYDS: Assurance Service SA, Rue Valin 2, CP 193, 1211 Geneve 1, tel: 022732 5800

CSS Insurance: CSS Agence de Genève, Rue du Marché 11, 1204 Genève (300 CHF/month. Special insurance plans available for students from abroad (around 90 CHF/month)).

Comparis.ch allows you to compare different insurance plans and companies in Switzerland.

If you live in France:

AXA: Nearly every town in France has an AXA agency, which proposes Swiss Life insurance. For CERN people they normally propose an "assurance frontalier" so that you also covered in Switzerland.

Assurance Strasbourgeoise (frontalier) in Ferney Voltaire and St. Genis, please see website.

Note that for working at CERN one needs to be specially insured against work accidents, death and disability. In some cases this may add a 10% increase to the insurance. With UNIQA one can also take the UNIQA ACCIDENTA (about 160 CHF/year), but it does not cover work accidents, unless you also have the UNIQA health insurance.

=Cost of living

It is important to compare the cost of living in Switzerland and France as the prices of accommodation, food, leisure activities, etc. do vary from one to the other.

Other Useful Information

Bringing pets

We keep pets out of interest in the animals or as household companions. They accompany us and are not intended for sale. Special import regulations apply for dogs, cats, ferrets and birds as pets.

What are pets?

Pets are animals of the species listed below, which are kept out of interest in the animals or as household companions. They accompany their owners or persons acting on behalf of the owners. Pets are not to be sold or passed on to new owners.
List of pets:
* Dogs, cats, ferrets: specific rules apply to these animals! (see the link below);

* Birds [except those considered "poultry": all fowl, turkeys, guinea fowl, ducks, geese, pigeons, quails, pheasants, partridges, ostriches and other ratites]; see specific page "pet birds from third countries" (see the link below);

* Domestic rabbits;

* Rodents;

* Amphibians;

* Reptiles;

* Aquarium fish, crayfish and shellfish (animals kept exclusively for ornamental purposes in aquaria or enclosed garden ponds), excluding animal species that are a danger to the fauna, which are listed in Annex 3 of the ordinance to the federal fishery law: these animals are subject to an import ban (see the link below);

* Invertebrate animals (except bees and crustaceans).

Bringing pets to Switzerland

Federal veterinary office FVO

Bringing pets to Switzerland

Dogs, cats, ferrets from the EU;

Dogs, cats, ferrets from third countries;

Special case birds. Pet birds from third countries;

Restrictions on import: Import bans / Temporary restrictions / Special conditions

Special conditions for importing pets
* No animal health permits or health certificates are required for animals deemed "pets" according to the definition - except for dogs, cats, ferrets an pet birds from third countries (see the link above . They may be imported from all countries. Coming from third countries, their number is however limited to 5 - the conditions for "commercial imports" would otherwise apply.

* Imports of pets might be prohibited by temporary import bans aimed at preventing the introduction of animal disease (see the link "Restrictions on imports" above).

* Animals deemed pets are not subject to border veterinary inspection, but all customs formalities have to be kept. Special conditions apply to import pet birds from third countries(see the link "Special case birds" above).

* For several exotic pets a husbandry permission is needed. This does not apply for short stays (i.e. holidays) but only if the pet is intended to live in Switzerland. Before a permit is issued, the cantonal veterinarian makes sure that the required space and care for the animal is provided. Permits are needed for all mammals (livestock species excluded), many birds and some fish.

* The import requirements arising from the laws on conservation on species apply for protected or non-domesticated species even if those are deemed pets. See link "Wild Fauna and Flora / CITES".

Bringing pets to France

Conditions for importation into France of pets, from countries not members of the European Union

Animals may carry serious diseases such as rabies or bird flu. Customs contributes to the protection of national territories and community health monitoring including documents and support of these animals.

European legislation regulates the movements of domestic carnivores (cats, dogs and ferrets) to limit the risk of introducing animal diseases, including rabies.

You want to bring to France a cat, dog or ferret

More information is available on the website of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries.

Phoning

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

CERN Phone and Email Directory

Plugs

A universal plug adaptor will be useful, as Swiss and French electric plugs are different.

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 that will take either currency. The automatic teller machines in the main building 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, you can open an account with the UBS bank which has a branch in the main building (building 500), but you need to stay at CERN more than 6 months. You can also open one at the Post Office also located in the main building.

Getting Around

The tram 18 takes you to the center of Geneva. The ticket costs 3 CHF and it can be bought from a ticket machine at each bus stop, but the machine does not give change. You can also buy 20, 30 or 50 CHF bus cards at the news stand in the main building.

A recommended point to get off for your first trip into town is the 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.

Geneva Public Transport (TPG)

Cinema

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

Swisster - a New Website for Anglophones

Swisster – a news website for Anglophones Employees of CERN can now sign up for a free account at Swisster.ch, an English language website devoted to Swiss news and current affairs.The website, which is aimed at English speakers in Switzerland, normally requires an annual subscription of 300 CHF, but has teamed up with sponsors to offer a free subscription for CERN employees. The service provides a daily newsletter containing the main news and other information sent to subscribers every working day. The Swisster website also offers a variety of services such as health, education and food forums called "corners", as well as weather & snow forecasts, blogs and even a TV guide for Anglophones.

The editorial team of English-speaking journalists is based in Lausanne, Geneva, Zurich and Neuchatel and covers news for expatriates and English speakers living and working in Switzerland.

Swisster.ch also has a Saturday morning radio show from 08:30 to 09:30, on Radio Cité 92.2fm (Geneva area). Broadcast in English the show covers the main weekly news.

To sign up for the account please visit

http://www.swisster.ch/user/register

For a free subscription please select CERN from the group account option and sign up using your CERN e-mail address.

CERN Student Club

CERN’s new student club provides a much-needed social outlet for all young people coming to CERN for any length of time, see: http://csnl.ptrtovoid.net/

Other Useful Links

CERN Buildings and Sites

CERN Guide for Newcomers

CERN Health Insurance

CERN Users Office FAQ

Shuttle Service

Summer Students Information Page

USCMS Guide to Coming to and Living at CERN

USCMS webpage

Welcome Center - A Resourse for CERN Newcomers

Visa Requirement and Procedure for Switzerland and France

Review status

Reviewer/Editor and Date (copy from screen) Comments
KirstiAspola - 23-Jun-2011 minor general editing
PolinaMorozova - 26-Oct-2010 general editing
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, Kirsti Aspola

Please send comments to Kirsti Aspola

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Topic revision: r63 - 2011-06-29 - unknown


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