Within three weeks, over two million people fled Ukraine for the Schengen Area. Hence, on March 11, 2022, the Federal Council decided that individuals who had to leave Ukraine because of the war are given the protection status S and permit S respectively in Switzerland.
Please find hereafter answers to the nine most pressing practical questions around what S status exactly means:
What does S status mean?
With protection status S, collective protection can be granted to a certain group of people for the duration of a serious threat, especially during a war. Due to S status, war refugees from Ukraine quickly receive a right of residence without having to go through a regular asylum procedure. They can enter Switzerland without a visa and are entitled to reside in Switzerland for up to one year with an option for extension. S status also enables those in need of protection to reunite with certain family members (see below). It largely corresponds to the solution that the EU member states have decided on.
As of when is S status available for refugees from Ukraine?
Since March 12, 2022.
Who is eligible to the permit S?
Permit S applies to «persons in need of protection».
In addition to Ukrainian nationals and their family members, this also entails people from other countries who left Ukraine because of the war. The prerequisite for such other nationals is that they had a valid residence permit in Ukraine before they fled and cannot return safely and permanently to their homeland.
On the other hand, protection status S does not apply to persons who have already been granted protection status in another EU country.
Can family reunification be claimed under Status S?
Family reunification is possible with respect to partners, minor children and other relatives who were fully or partially supported by the permit S holder at the time of escape.