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

Before I arrive

What I Need To Do

A warm welcome to CERN!

Whether you are joining as a staff member, a fellow, a graduate, 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 (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, the CERN Safety Policy and the CERN Code of Conduct.

2. Activate your CERN computing account as soon as you have signed and returned your contract:
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'.
Once your computing account is created, you must within 5 working days complete the mandatory Computer security e-learning.

3. Safety Always: be mindful of the risks you can encounter on the CERN sites and all aspects of Safety at CERN, including the protection of the environment: when you come to CERN, familiarise yourself with and proactively contribute to the Organization's efforts to minimize its impact on the environment, notably by reducing waste, water and energy consumption. We are all responsible for ensuring our own Safety and that of others, so please follow the mandatory Safety e-learning courses before you arrive. You will find the key safety aspects you should be aware of in this flyer.

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 to import 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, fellow, graduate or student, 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:

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