The NGO Service records free of charge international NGOs having their headquarters or a representative office in the Canton of Geneva, and must, in principle, fulfill all the following cumulative conditions:
The association does not require ministerial visa or prefectoral approval if it is in conformity with the law. No registration is required under Swiss law.
Howerver, the foundation has to register to the Trade Register.
It is not therefore necessary to register an NGO with the Chancellery, but if the dossier of the NGO is complete and up-to-date, doing so can contribute to better relations with the public authorities.
Registration gives a certain visibility with the Geneva authorities and reinforce procedures towards any competent administrations, especially in the following areas: taxation, work permits, visas, office space, projects
Registration in the database of the NGO Service is free of charge. It requires an appointment with the NGO Service and transmission of the following documentation:
After analysis of the documents that have been provided, the NGO Service issues a questionnaire for official registration.
In order to keep the registration valid (it is not permanent), an activities report and a financial report must be submitted annually.
You may consult the non exhausitve list of NGO directory of the protocol service.
The constitution of a foundation requires the subscription to the Trade Register. You may pay attention that you have to take notice of the principle of compulsory subscription. By the subscription to the Trade Register the foundation acquires the juridical personality.
The exception to this principle is made for the family and religious foundations, which do not need to subscribe and are not anymore the object of the administrative surveillance. For more information, you may consult the website of the Federal Supervisory Body for foundations.
Registration in the Trade Register is not obligatory, except for associations that:
Subscription to the Trade Register plays no role in the acquisition of legal personality. We therefore advise against this procedure (about CHF 700) when it is not necessary.