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Registration, Permits & Other Documentation

Zurich - Registration, Permits & Other Documentation



If you are staying in Switzerland for more than 3 months, you will need a valid residence and work permit. Switzerland practices a dual approach when it comes to issuing work permits. In general, EU citizens are given priority over Third state citizens (i.e., expatriates from non-EU countries). If you are a citizen from the EU or the EFTA (for e.g. UK citizens), the process for applying for a residence permit is fairly straightforward, as there is an Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons within the EU / EFTA to facilitate the movement of persons for work / employment. The list of countries that are included in the Agreement is updated periodically – for example, in 2008, Bulgaria and Romania were included. Check with the Swiss Federal Office for Migration for the latest updates. An EC/EFTA permit for resident foreign nationals is valid for 5 years.

If you are a citizen from a Third state country (for e.g. US or Australian citizens), it can get difficult for employers to obtain valid residence permits. There are limited number of management level employees, specialists and other qualified employees who are admitted yearly from Third state countries. Employers who wish to hire non-EU citizens must prove that they have not been able to recruit a suitable employee from the EU. They must do so by registering the vacancies with the regional authorities, and provide reasons for rejecting other applications from the EU/EFTA. For more information about the Swiss polices regarding work permits and qualifications, visit the Swiss Federal Office for Migration. The website also describes in detail the procedures for getting a work visa and permit.

Most third state citizens are issued with B work permits. B-permits are renewable yearly, and they restrict the holder to living in the canton that issued the permit. The permit will also indicate the status of your residency - "Verbleib bei ehegatten" is the permit issued to accompanying spouses and "Bei Eltern" is the permit issued for children under 18 accompanying their parents. If the permit lists the name of an employer, it is both a residence and a work permit. The C-pass Work Permit is issued to foreigners after an uninterrupted stay of 10 years in Switzerland. Shorter-term permits (4-6 months), families may not be eligible to apply. Residence and work permits to live and work Zurich are issued by the Zurich Canton, and subject to their discretion.

Within 8-14 days of arrival in Zurich, all foreigners are required to register at the registry office located closest to your residence. Apart from the usual documentation such as posting details, passports, certificates and photographs, you will also need to show evidence of a compulsory basic insurance with a Swiss Health Insurance company (you have up to 3 months for this), and a copy of your tenancy agreement to register your current place of residence in Switzerland.

If you will be staying in Zurich for more than 12 months, you will need to exchange your foreign driving license for a Swiss one, and have your driver's license registered at the Driver Registration Office (Strassenverkehrsamt) in Zurich Canton. For more information, access the Association of Swiss Vehicles website at www.asa.ch.

A useful website, www.comparis.ch provides users with a useful platform to compare rates and services of all kinds of service providers in Switzerland, such as insurance (health, car), telecommunication providers, banks, and properties. It is an excellent way to find out the range of service providers for a particular service, and the corresponding rates.

If you need assistance from your embassy or consulate, do note that more embassies are located in Berne and Geneva than in Zurich. There are some consular agencies located in Zurich itself. For example, the US Consular Agency is located at Dufourstrasse 101 (Tel: 044 200 30 40). The opening hours are Monday through Fridays, 10am to 1pm. Click here for a list of consular agencies and their contact numbers in Zurich.

The Canton Zurich office (Staatskanzlei des Kantons Zürich) is located at Neumühlequai 10, Zürich 8090. The website is available in German only.

When leaving Switzerland permanently, you would need to plan several months. It is mandatory to give two months' notice for termination of work in Swiss companies. There is also a three-month notice period for the termination of the lease of your accommodation (see section on Accommodation for more details).


Registering births

All births must be reported to the register office of the place of birth. The births are recorded in the birth register of that office. Children of Swiss parents are also recorded in the family register in the place of their origin. Registration of births should be made in person by the legal father, mother, or the doctors in charge or person working at the hospital who is responsible for registration. In the case of home births, the person / midwife who has witnessed the delivery also qualifies as eligible to register the birth.

All deaths must also be reported to the register office. If a death occurs in the home, a doctor or medical specialist must be called immediately.




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