Your Comprehensive Guide to Immigrate to Switzerland

Your comprehensive guide to Immigrate to Switzerland


Before leaving to come to Switzerland, make sure you understand your legal status according to your nationality. 

You may need a visa, a residence permit, a work permit or not, so read our guide to the legal requirements to come to Switzerland and ask for help. Leave a comment and get back to you as soon as possible.

What permits do you need to live in Switzerland?

If you come to live, work or study in Switzerland, you may be asked for a visa, residence permit, or work permit.

So be prepared to spend a lot of time collecting your documents and waiting for responses as some permits must be applied for from your country so this process should start long before you move to Switzerland.

For many foreigners, Switzerland's immigration laws are complex and confusing (Swiss people often think so).

If you are not familiar with European policy, Switzerland is one of the few European countries that are not part of the EU. However, in 2002, the bilateral agreement with the EU changed labor laws and residence permits considerably. This means that things are now easier for EU citizens. European and harder for citizens of other countries.

When you come to live in Switzerland you may need some or all of the following documents and recordings:


EU citizens and some other nationalities do not need a visa to visit Switzerland. 

If you stay for more than 3 months, you must apply for a residence permit. If you are not an EU citizen and need a visa, you must apply for it in your country. 3 months and 1 week before you leave (visas are not issued in Switzerland) This is also the case if you later apply for a residence permit in Switzerland This website shows you easily if you need a visa to visit Switzerland.

Residence permits:

Foreigners residing in Switzerland receive a residence permit issued with a “foreign permit”. There are different types of residence permits depending on the length of stay, status (ie student or work permits) and other rights. EU citizens can seek work in Switzerland for up to three Although this period can be extended to 6 months if they can prove that they are actively looking for a job, non-EU nationals are required to obtain prior permission to obtain a residence permit before coming to Switzerland. 

On a residence permit after the Arrival, You need to apply for prior authorization before you come to Switzerland and apply for an actual residence permit. To apply for a residence permit you must contact the cantonal immigration authority responsible for the area where you will reside.

Residence Registration: 

Within 8 days of arrival in Switzerland and before you start working you must register (anmelden / s'inscrire) at the local city council (Gemeinde / commune) where you live residence registration is mandatory for both foreigners and Swiss citizens. The municipality submits your documents to the cantonal authorities who will process your application and send you your permit.

Prepare your trip

Swiss documents You should be prepared to order many items below while you are at home.

Valid passport for the period to be spent in Switzerland.

A healthy source of passport-sized photos.

For students, admission notice or application confirmation from your university or college, etc.

For professionals, a work contract or a job offer letter.

For non-EU citizens, your pre-authorization for a residence permit.

Evidence of financial resources.

Visa (not tourist visa), if applicable.

Original copies and certified translations of birth certificate and high school graduation certificate.

Marriage certificates and birth certificates for all family members (if any).

Your academic qualifications and insurance policies, however, can obtain certificates abroad at Swiss diplomatic and consular missions.

You may be required to confirm health insurance coverage in your country.

Book vaccination certificates, if you have one. Check-in Swiss missions whether you need any vaccines.

An international driver's license may also be required.

Also, note that the regulations are subject to frequent change. Information can be obtained from Swiss embassies, consulates, immigration offices, and the Swiss Foreign Ministry. Information can also be obtained from the State Secretariat for Migration. 

If your legal status is complex, you may want to consider appointing a lawyer or legal expert specializing in immigration issues. your interests.

Residence permits

Regulations for EU citizens and non-EU citizens.

If you want to live, work or study in Switzerland, you may need a residence permit. The regulations depend on your country of origin and other factors.

The following provides you with an overview of the regulations for both EU citizens and non-EU citizens.

Citizens of the United States

The bilateral agreement on freedom of movement between Switzerland and the EU entered into force on 1 June 2002 and facilitates entry, residence and employment in Switzerland for EU citizens and Swiss citizens within the EU since December 12, 2008, The Swiss Confederation has been a full member of Schengen.

Request a permit for you

You must apply for a residence permit within 14 days of your arrival to live and work in Switzerland. However, if the employment period is less than 3 months, this is not necessary.

When applying for residency the following documents are necessary:

Your ID card.

passport copy.

Copy of your lease.

Employer's contract (if you work there).

Invoices and income (if you have your own business there).

If you do not plan to work there you must prove that you have the financial means to support yourself.

Free work

Your status as a foreign national theoretically gives you the right to reside in Switzerland and set up your own business, provided that you take full responsibility and at your own risk. For more information, visit this website to help foreigners become self-employed in Switzerland and Swiss authorities online.

Citizens from outside the European Union

Due to the EU-Switzerland Bilateral Agreement on Freedom of Movement, citizens outside the EU cannot obtain a Swiss work permit unless the potential employer proves that no Swiss or European citizen is available to do so.

However, there are exceptions to this rule for highly qualified professionals and senior executives. If you get a work permit, this will usually be specified in your residence permit.

Types of residence permits for non-EU citizens are very similar to those granted to EU citizens where they are difficult to obtain and renew.

Types of permits

(1) Short-term residence permit (L permit)

The short-term residence permit is valid for up to one year and can be renewed because it is linked to a particular job and company. 

You may not be granted a new permit if you change jobs and after 24 months the residence permit expires permanently.

(2) Residence Permit (Permit B)

Permit B is usually valid for one year and can be renewed as long as there is no reason not to extend it. There is currently a shortage of qualified people from Switzerland or the EU).

(3) Settlement Permit (Permit C)

A residence permit is granted for permanent residence in Switzerland and can be renewed indefinitely for non-EU citizens. They are usually granted only after 10 years of residence in Switzerland. 

However, Canadian and US citizens can apply for this residence permit after 5 consecutive years in Switzerland There are some exceptions for spouses of Swiss citizens and other groups where the C permit allows you to freely change jobs, employers and / or self-employment.

(4) Border crossing permit (G permit)

This border crossing permit is issued to people who live in another country but work in Switzerland and many people are moving to Switzerland to work because the cost of living in neighboring countries is much lower than Switzerland other than L, B and C permits. 

Switzerland The AG permit is renewed annually and cannot be converted into a residence permit.

In addition to your residence permit, you must provide proof of health insurance within 3 months.

Naturalization (Swiss citizenship)

Switzerland advises foreigners to acquire Swiss citizenship once they are well integrated into their community and you can apply for regular or easy naturalization and people who have lost their Swiss citizenship can apply for it.

Also in Switzerland dual citizenship is allowed so you will not lose your previous citizenship after you obtained Swiss citizenship unless the country of your previous citizenship does not allow you to obtain dual citizenship.

To apply for citizenship in Switzerland you must obtain an application form from the cantonal authorities (you can find a complete list here). 

You can also obtain a naturalization application form at the Federal Office for Immigration and Naturalization Department. If you are abroad, you can obtain a naturalization form from a Swiss embassy or consulate.

Applications for naturalization must be submitted to the canton, community or the Federal Office for Migration. If you live abroad, you must apply to the embassy or consulate.

Regular naturalization

To apply for citizenship regularly in Switzerland you must be a resident of twelve years and the Swiss government checks whether applicants are integrated into Swiss society. 

This examination is based on cantonal and community reports and if you pass this test the Federal Office for Migration will grant you a Federal Naturalization Permit.

The second stage of the naturalization process is to be naturalized by the community and canton. You must meet the additional residency requirements of your local community and canton. 

For more information on additional residency requirements, visit the Federal Office for Migration or the Swiss authorities online.

Facilitated naturalization

Easy naturalization benefits foreign spouses and children of Swiss citizens. To apply for naturalization, you must have lived in Switzerland for at least five years

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