CERN Opendays 2019 - B160
CERN Opendays 2019 - B160 (Image: CERN)

Before I arrive

COVID-19 Public Announcement

All you need to know regarding the situation and CERN's measures surrounding COVID-19 can be found in this quick reference guide.


What I Need To Do

A warm welcome to CERN!

Whether you are joining as a staff member, a fellow, a student, a trainee, an associate or a user there is much ahead to look forward to! Watch this video for a sneak preview.

Before you come to CERN, there are several things you need to do to prepare your arrival, as follows (this checklist will help you tick things off as you go, and a schematic summary, with specifics concerning the COVID-19 pandemic is available on this link).

Please note these are the general instructions. A week or so prior to the start of your contract at CERN, you will receive an invitation to the Welcome Session with comprehensive and specific details of the actions to undertake along with guidance to support you. 

1. Sign and return your contract according to instructions provided by your CERN contact. Upon signing this contract, ensure you are well acquainted with the Staff Rules and Regulations which detail your rights, obligations and all aspects of your working life at CERN, and the CERN Code of Conduct.

2. Activate your CERN computing account as soon as you have signed and returned your contract:

Many webpages in this onboarding journey require a CERN computing account to access their content.
If you have not already received an email prompting you to create/activate your account following your contract signature, send a scanned copy of your passport to asking for 'computing account creation'.

For Linux users: once your computer account is created, login to CERN

Note: takes 2 hours to set up. 
More info: and/or Help: 

3. Follow the mandatory computing security and safety courses.

COVID-19: Check the COVID-19 level in force

4. Check whether you need a Visa to enter Switzerland or France:

  • In principle nationals of the European Union and the European Economic Area do not need a visa.
  • If you do, please complete the Visa requirements where applicable, ensuring you respect the deadlines provided.

5. Check your vehicle formalities:

  • Ensure your driving licence is valid for the duration of your contract (for more information see this page).
  • If you are coming to CERN with your vehicle, you can register it before arriving, following the procedure on this link. If you plan on importing a vehicle, you can consult the Installation service's webpages and/or contact them via the Service Desk. Please note that importation formalities for your vehicle (in CH or FR depending on where you choose to live) must be done within the first year of arrival.

6. Read the useful information on the next page, "What I need to know", covering specificities of life in France and Switzerland.

7. If you are a staff member, student or a fellow, download the following specific information relevant to your status which will be useful upon taking up your functions at CERN.

8. If you need to contact CERN services:



What I Need To Know

Our aim is to provide you with the 'essentials', the information you need to know to get you started and to help you settle into the area. Find out more:

  • Discover CERN as an Organization: About CERN
  • Finding CERN: How to get to CERN / Find a building at CERN
  • Banking facilities at CERN
  • You will find useful information about the area and practical information to make an informed decision about whether to opt to live in France or in Switzerland:
  • Useful contacts when searching for accommodation:
    • **COVID-19: If you have to quarantine on arrival, you can browse this list of hotels that offer specific services in this context in the local CERN area in both France and Switzerland.**
    • The CERN Housing Service offers a range of useful accommodation solutions for members of the personnel.
    • The housing service of the International Geneva Welcome Centre (CAGI): this service was set up to help international civil servants in Geneva to find accommodation. It runs a housing exchange and an information service, offering help and advice, for example regarding the applicable legislation and usual practices when renting accommodation.
    • Private market accommodation.
    • Check out the CERN market to discover accommodation for rent/sale by CERN colleagues.​
  • Work and residence permits for your family:

If you are intending to take up residence with your family, please note that the rules regarding work permits (including for cross-border or 'frontalier' workers) and residence permits for the members of your family (spouse, registered partner and dependent children) are not the same in Switzerland and France. More information on work and residence permits can be found here.

Please note that the work and residence permits for you and your family will be issued once you arrive at CERN, and not before the beginning of your contract.

  • Education options - Crèches, nurseries, kindergarden and schools:
    • Once you have decided whether to settle in France or Switzerland, contact the establishments you are interested in as early as possible to find out about enrolment options and procedures (waiting lists, entry tests, etc.).
    • CERN has on-site facilities available for children from the end of maternity leave until the age of six. For more information, contact the Nursery, Kindergarten and Pre-school of the CERN Staff Association.
    • For information on childcare and the education systems in France or Switzerland, including lists of the addresses of the relevant establishments, please consult this page. For any additional information, please contact the Social Affairs Service.

Who Are My Key Contacts

The following services are there to help you with any query you may have prior to coming to CERN:

Before I arrive