Swiss Pass Eligibility

Old Mar 19th, 2013, 02:45 PM
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Swiss Pass Eligibility

I am going to be going to Switzerland for five months as an intern/apprentice starting in April. While I am there I definitely want to travel and see the country. I am thinking about getting a Swiss pass for one of the months I am there. I currently live in the US and plan to return when the 5 months is up, but while I am there I will be renting an apartment and will register with the Swiss Authorities etc. Will I be eligible to buy a Swiss Pass? It says on the rail europe website that "Residents of Switzerland & Liechtenstein are not eligible to purchase or use this rail pass." Any advice or comments appreciated!

Thanks in advance and Happy Travels!
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Old Mar 19th, 2013, 03:22 PM
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Technically no but in practice yes because in years of Swiss train traveling with Swiss Passes I have never had my pass checked against my passport - conductors just glance at it and move on - well I guess they could look at your passport and perhaps see that you have some kind of resident visa in it and then not allow you to use the pass but that would be very rare IME - even if they asked to show a passport they would only glance at it and the picture page.

Not saying you would not get 'caught' but I'd bet a whole lot of moolah on that not happening and even if they did I'd think as a foreigner they'd let you slide.

And a pass in Switzerland if you have time off can be a great deal - if under 26 you may consider buying a Swiss Youthpass and a flexipass - perhaps more than one flexipass - good for a certain number of unlimited travel days (not only on trains but lake boats, city trams and buses, postal buses but also gets free entry to 400+ Swiss museums) - over a max of one month period.

The good thing about a flexipass is that between the first and last 100% covered unlimited travel day you do get 50% off everything that moves in Switzerland - trains, boats, etc on days in between the first and last day - so that could be worth it if you cannot realize the benefits of one straight month of travel - if you can consecutive-day passes are cheaper per day.

Now you can buy your pass from a U S agent to avoid any potential scrutinizing of your passport if buying there and actually prices for the same pass bought here are often cheaper than if bought in Switzerland and of course your parents or friends could buy the pass here for you and send it over as well. To be 100% sure of no problems or 99.99% suere have the issuing agent activate the pass for you at time of issuance - possible to do and then you just jump on the train, boat, etc. Otherwise you'd have to take your passport up to a ticket window in Switzerland to initially activate the pass.

anyway there is no real equivalent of a pass for Swiss residents though you may look into the Half-Off Card which you can buy for a month of longer periods I believe for about $140 and then get 50% off every transport in Switzerland - Swiss residents use that all the time.

Anyway for loads of great info on Swiss trains, passes, etc I always spotlight these IMO fantastic sources - www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

I do not think the registration with Swiss authorities would cause any problems - but it is the residency visa in the passport, if on the rare IMO chance of being seen by a train conductor or at activation that would be the only potential problem.
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Old Mar 20th, 2013, 02:56 AM
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If you don't intend to travel a lot, you may also consider the half Fare Card for Swiss residents for 175 CHF, valid 1 year. It can be upgraded to a Swiss Pass for 290 CHF for 6 not consecutive days.
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Old Mar 20th, 2013, 11:13 AM
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Thanks for your info PalenQ and neckervd. Very helpful.
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Old Mar 20th, 2013, 02:36 PM
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I don't know if this helps answer your question it's from the Swiss Travel System brochure for 2013, regarding the eligibility
for Passes. "Swiss Travel System tickets may be purchased by persons Permanently resident outside Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. When travelling with a Swiss Travel System, a passport or identity card is required. All tickets must be validated before travelling."
I would understand that as a temporary resident you qualify for the passes.
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Old Mar 20th, 2013, 05:20 PM
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may be purchased by persons Permanently resident outside Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein>

permanently resident is kind of ambiguous in OP's context - but I like you think it would mean someone who lives permanently outside of Switzerland though they may well be a resident for periods of time for studying, working, etc. but I could not be sure of that.

But IMO it is a non-factor for reasons I give above.
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