US LHC Visitor Information

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See also LivingAtCERN for more general info about living in the CERN area.

This page has been created for the US LHC Users Organization. It draws heavily on the extremely informative ATLAS "Coming to CERN" page created by Alexia Leyval. Thanks Alexia!

PLEASE ALSO SEE the page maintained by Human Resources at CERN.

Please send corrections, or requests for additional information, to Tony Liss.


This is a very nice flow chart describing the process of getting your papers:

This has general information about CERN rules, moving to/from, housing, insurance, etc.:


As of 1st October 2007 all US citizens coming to work at CERN for longer than a 3 month period will HAVE to have in their possession the correct visa. Without this visa the authorities will simply decline all applications for an Attestation de Fonctions.

Specific requirements per nationality are shown HERE.

Short term stays

You usually don't need visas for stays less than 3 months with an American passport, but you will need an invitation letter to work at Cern, please start the process 3 months in advance.

For the Swiss letter of invitation :

For the French protocole d'accueil :

Long term stays

First you have to fill in both swiss and french forms and send them back to the Secretariat of your experiment at Cern to start the process of getting visas, start the process 3 months in advance, you always need both since you may end up living in one or the other place*.

ATLAS: Connie Potter +41 22 7674279

CMS: YaseminUzunefe-Yazgan

ALICE: Michelle Connor +41 22 7676138

LHCb: Nathalie Grub + 41 22 7679278

Required forms for both French and Swiss visas

For Switzerland : Fill in the form requested for the "Letter of invitation" for EACH member of the family

For France : Fill in the form requested for the "Note verbale" for EACH member of the family


To arrive from the airport :

Swiss buses : French bus line around Geneva :

Further information to reach Cern and other useful info when moving here :


Once arriving at Cern, please go to register at User's Office in building 61, R 020, ground floor next to the main restaurant.


For any computing opening account, please contact:

ATLAS: Claire Gibon in 40 4D 01 Tel: +41 22 767 3448


ALICE: Ulla Genoud in 301 R-029 Tel: +41 22 767 2771

LHCb: Nathalie Grub in 2 1-051+ 41 22 767 9278


Help with finding housing may be available through the US management of your experiment.

ATLAS users may contact Alexia Leyval located in ATLAS secretariat, building 40, Office 4D 01
(Please do not contact her if you are not an ATLAS member)
Tel : +41 22 7673449 // Fax : +41 22 7678350

CMS users may contact YaseminUzunefe-Yazgan located in ...
(Please do not contact her if you are not a CMS member)
Tel: // Fax:

LHCb users may contact Nathalie Grub located in building 2 1-051
(Please do not contact her if you are not an LHCb member)
Tel: + 41 22 7679278 // Fax: +41 22 76 68668

Short term accomodation

NOTICE : It is usually hard to find a furnished short term place either France or Switzerland, reservations have to be done 3 to 4 months in advance.

Cern Hostel

Other hotels in France and Switzerland

Furnished apartments in France

Résidence Saint Genis in Saint Genis Pouilly, France, reachable by public bus in 10mn from Cern. Tel : 00 33 4 50 20 73 33 / Fax : 00 33 4 50 20 73 33

Citea in Prevessin, France, reachable by bike or car in 15mn from Cern Tel : 04 50 40 04 93 / Fax : 04 50 40 87 64

Furnished apartments in Switzerland

Special Students accomodation


Long term accomodation

Cern housing services

Private agencies in France

Apartments direct to the owner in France

Web sites for permanent housing in Geneva (list of the regies) (others)

Apartment direct to the owner in Switzerland

Cleaning requests for apartment

Both French and Swiss agencies and owners are very careful with the cleaning of their places when people arrive AND leave. Be aware that your security deposit (2 months rental) can be taken if the apartment is not clean enough when you leave it.

Cleaning companies in France In Gex Top Services in Segny 36 r Velle 01170 SÉGNY .04 50 41 73 79 mobile : .06 86 40 42 70 // AD netoyage in Ornex bât C1 135 r Berges du Lion 01210 ORNEX mobile : .06 26 20 52 66 // France net in Gex 19 chemin Emboussoir 01170 GEX tél-fax : .04 50 41 50 51 // Gex netoyage 14 rue de l'horloge 01170 GEX .04 50 99 05 46 mobile : .06 77 89 70 70 Mail : // I sometimes work with a cheap cleaning lady in Ferney, her telephone : 06 32 30 78 95

Cleaning companies in Switzerland Rodriguez, Ricardo, rue de Lyon 8, 1201 Genève/GE, *022 345 02 37 // Gil Yanez Entreprise de nettoyages, rue Daubin 27, 1203 Genève/GE, *022 345 08 92 // Da Costa, Manuel, entreprise de nettoyage, rue Voltaire 29, 1201 Genève/GE,*022 345 90 12

Furnishing an Apartment

There are a variety of resources for finding used furniture and housewares (as well as cars and much else). Since the Geneva population is transitory there is almost always quite a bit available. Prices are often negotiable.

In addition to the CERN marketplace there are classified listings at:

AngloInfo (this site also has a variety of useful, if sometimes hard to navigate, information about the English-speaking community in Geneva)

WRS radio classified (requires free registration)
Beware that WRG radio has recently become WRS. The link above points to a WRG website that may eventually morph into WRS at this location which is for all of Switzerland, not just Geneva).

There are also many listings through schools and places of employment - harder when you are new to the area of course, but worth asking about.


Public transportation around the Geneva area is excellent if you live relatively close to the city. Complete information on schedules, routes and how to get from point A to point B can be found on the TPG website.

Single-ride tickets can be purchased at the machines at each stop. BEWARE: these machines DO NOT GIVE CHANGE. You can also purchase a yearly or monthly pass.  Yearly passes can be purchased through the CERN Staff Association. Monthly passes can be purchased at the main train station (Cornavain). If you are at CERN short term and staying in a hotel in Switzerland, they can provide you with a free TPG pass for the duration of your stay.


Rent a car in Switzerland

Recomendations are to rent a car in the country you will be staying to reduce problems crossing the border

At Cern : Cern cars with Cern logo are not any more available unless you sublet one from another group. Cern cars are usually always booked far in advance (3 months), no obligation of full a year rental. Hertz cars are also available at Cern contacting the transport department :

You can also contact which is usually cheaper than normal rate (from 540 chf per month)

Rent a car in France

Ferney Voltaire : Budget : 04 50 40 67 87, around 650 euros per month Autohire : 04 50 42 88 41 , 440 euros per month for more than 3 months St Jean de Gonville : Opel rent : 04 50 56 39 87, 600 euros per month for more than 6 months.

Buy a car

To buy a car you must first have your papers (Attestation de fonctions). You can buy a car with your US driver's license. If you buy from a dealer, they can take care of the insurance for you. is a useful website for comparing insurance costs.

To find a second hand go to Cern market :

Check in for France :

Check in for Geneva :

Plates & Swiss Highway Sticker,


Mandatory. Cars are required to have a window decal sticker on the vehicle in order to travel the Swiss Autobahn. Owners must contribute 40 Swiss Francs to the treasury for these decals, which are available at the border offices, post office and some other government places. Those decals are good from January through December. They still cost 40CHF even if you by it on December 30th. IF YOUR RENTAL CAR DOES NOT HAVE ONE, YOU'LL NEED TO BUY ONE.

Driving license

In Switzerland

In France For non EU citizens, you have 1 year to exchange or retake (depending on your state) your driving license. For further information :

Car insurance

Compare prices at

In France If you live in France, you need to take your car insurance in France. You will need to get a 2 year certificate of "good driver" to get cheap prices.

Azur Assurance in St Genis, Maryline speaks english : 04 50 28 41 41 Cabinet Stephane Pibouleau in St genis : 04 50 42 16 32

In Switzerland For general information on insurance : Generalli Insurance in Geneva, E mail contact :

TCS also offers a travel insurance that included repatriation of cars, emergency medical repatriation and trip cancelation


Emergencies France

If you have an accident or a health problem AT CERN, please contact immediatly the infirmary 73802 or mobile phone 163438, there you will see a doctor and he/she eventualy will call an ambulance if necesary.

If you can manage to see a doctor or even have an X-ray on your own, we strongly recomend that you go to France, St genis Pouilly or also Ferney Voltaire. It will cost you around 50 euros for leg X-ray and 22 euros for a visit to the doctor.

The cost in Switzerland is around 300 CHF for both X-ray and doctor visit at the Hospital de la Tour

Be very carefull that you may have to pay the total amount of your bill before leaving the Hospital in Switzerland, and the amount can be huge, the only insurance known by hospitals here are CIGNA and BLUE CROSS, for all the rest the patient will have to pay himself and be paid back after by his insurance For exemple, for an appendecity, recently patients were asked to pay over 20 000 dollars before leaving the Hospital ! you must look into travel insurance not only to guarantee entry but also the ability to leave the Hospital.

Useful numbers in France SAMU 15 FIRE 18 POLICE 17

X-ray/SCAN, cabinet de radiologie Musitelli 46 av République 01630 SAINT GENIS POUILLY / Tel : 04 50 28 27 27 fax : 04 50 20 69 80

X-ray/SCAN, Cabinet Musitelli 40 av Jura 01210 FERNEY VOLTAIRE / Tel : 04 50 40 51 23 fax : 04 50 40 41 24

All doctors listed by their specialties in Ferney and St Genis are available on

Pharmacies In Ferney Voltaire Rue de la Poterie : 04 50 40 97 44 //// 5 avenue Voltaire : 04 50 40 72 10

Hospitals in France

Hopital Intercommunal Sud Leman à St Julien en Genevois Amédée VIII de Savoie 74164 ST JULIEN EN GENEVOIS Tel : 04 50 49 65 65 / fax : 04 50 49 66 70 Emergencies open 24 hours

Centre Intercommunal Annemasse / Bonneville 64 av Genève 74130 BONNEVILLE Tel : 04 50 87 47 47 Emergencies open 24 hours

Emergencies Switzerland

Emergency numbers Ambulance 144 Fire 118 Police 117 Poisoning 145

SOS doctor +41-22 748 4950 or +41-22 322 2020

Hopital de la Tour (10 minute walking distance from CERN) emergencies : 022 719 61 11

Medical centres) with emergency rooms open 24 hours 21, rue Chantepoulet +41 (0)22/731 2120 1, rue du Jura +41 (0)22/345 4550 17, rue de Carouge +41 (0)22/329 5656 Help for rape victims +41 (0)22 345 2020

You can consult a directory of doctors at:

Hospitals in Switzerland

HÔPITAL CANTONAL 24 rue Micheli-du-Crest, 1205 Geneva Tél. +41-22 372 3311 This is the main hospital in Geneva. It is part of the Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG). Web site

HÔPITAL DE LA TOUR 3 avenue J.D. Maillard, 1217 Meyrin Tel. +41 (0)22 719 6111 / Fax +41 (0)22 719 6112 Email Web site

Health insurance

People usually choose to go with Unica which is around 460 CHF per month for a 80% of the fees covered, some exceptions. 920 CHF for less exceptions and for the entire family.

Health insurance in France

If you live in France, you can also have French insurance which covers you in France and in Switzerland , which can cost between 100 and 200 euros per month depending on the % of reimbursment you choose.

Azur Assurance in St Genis, Maryline speaks english : 04 50 28 41 41

Cabinet Stephane Pibouleau in St genis : 04 50 42 16 32

Health insurance in Switzerland

For general information on insurance

TCS also offers a travel insurance that includes repatriation of cars, emergency medical repatriation and trip cancelation

If you live in Switzerland, prices will be from 250 to 400 CHF per month if you don't choose the Cern Unica insurance.

Swisslife in Geneva :, our contact M. Cormoreche : 00 41 22 818 36 85

Allianz in Geneva :


Children / leisure's / transports / doctors / sports


Children / leisure's / transports / doctors / sports

Transport to CERN from France, bus Y timeschedule Horaires bus Y

Public Transport to CERN from Geneve, current timeschedule

Very useful book for arriving families "Know it all parents" Geneva and France



Once you have a telephone line you can choose your Internet provider

You usually need a bank account in France if you want to choose another supplier other than France Telecom

Setting Internet in France can be very long, a month or more

Links for France / /

Links for Switzerland


You can pay all your invoices at the post office, in France and in Switzerland.

You can also set up an automatic transfer from your bank.

You can also pay many bills online if the necessary information is given on the pink-slip bill. Many bills can also be paid at the machine left of the ATMs near the UBS bank at CERN.


English Language Schools

General information about schooling in Geneva can be found on the official city website where you will find links to both public and private schools.

Most (all?) of the private schools allow entry regardless of whether you reside in Switzerland or France.

International School of Geneva has three independent campuses. They will admit your child based on availability of space. It is expensive (as are all the private schools).

College du Leman - in Versoix, just outside Geneva toward Lausanne

Geneva English School

In France there is the Lycee International in Ferney-Voltaire.

It is also worth noting that public schools in Switzerland offer non-French speakers some type of integration program.  More info:

Activities for kids

Useful information for children leisure and activities in Geneva

Useful information for children leisure and activities in France, pays de GEX

Camps where English is spoken

Multi-Sports Mania - a day camp with a wide variety of activities in different venues. Dropoff/pickup point very convenient to CERN at Meyrin squash club.

Intersoccer - soccer day camps, after school, vacation programs etc. Outdoor locations each side of Geneva

The International School of Geneva has summer day camp programs at two (as of 2007) campuses:

English Language Books

There are several decent outlets for English Language books in Geneva.

American Library - Membership library (~100CHF/yr, student discounts available)

Off The Shelf - Bookstore with a small, but nice collection. They will, of course, order anything.

Payot - A big chain store. The branch at 5, Rue Chantepoulet has a large selection of English Language books (note that the other Geneva location at 16, Rue du Marché, does not have many ELBs.

CERN has an English Book Club that you can join for a fee and get access to a collection of over 4500 books.


CERN offers French lessons for users from rank beginners on up. The courses are offered three times per year (but the summer course is for beginners only). The courses fill up, so register early. Contact Nathalie Dumeaux in Human Resources to sign up. The cost (Fall 2007 for 60hrs total) is 780CHF and the class meets three times/week for two hours.

In addition, Geneva is a very international city and there are many places to take French lessons outside of CERN (Berlitz and Ecole-club Migros, for example).


US Taxes

(Thanks to Joe Incandela for these links)

We do not claim to be tax attorneys (and neither does Joe)!


Instructions for IRS form 2055

Form 2055

Statment 673 - This allows your employer to stop witholding taxes.

Fermilab memo

Tax consequences of non-salary payments. While this is meant for Fermilab users, it may be relevant to non-salary payments at CERN as well.

You live in France

Income tax

After 1 year you will have to make yourself known with the "centre des impots" of your department.

Then you only have to fill in a special form, Formulaire 2042 pour declaration impots;jsessionid=BEFYAEKWHMNTFQFIEMRSFFOAVARXAIV1?pageId=particuliers&espId=1&sfid=10

Once on that page, please go to

1)Telechargez vos declarations

2)Declaration impots 2042

3)Put your name and correct adress, no salary to put there

4)Go to the last page point 8, line FV, (revenus d'organismes internationnaux)

5)Put a cross there with CERN written next to the cross

6)Print the declaration and send it to the taxes center of your area

House tax

You will also have to pay a "living tax" for your house, this tax is due when you are in the place on the 1st of January of the year, this tax can be from 200 euros up to 1000 euros depending of the size of the place you are in.

There is another tax for TV owners if you declare you have one.

You live in Switzerland

After one year working here, you will have to make yourself known at the "Office cantonal de la population".

Exchange Rates

The ever changing $/CHF and $/Euro rates can be conveniently checked online at (and many other places). Don't look too often. It's not a happy experience.