Types of residency for foreign nationals in Switzerland
Switzerland is an attractive destination for expats, thanks to its beautiful landscapes, a strong economy, and high quality of life. However, before relocating to Switzerland, it is important to know the types of residency available to foreign nationals.
There are several types of residency permits available in Switzerland, depending on your status and the length of your stay. These permits are:
Short-term residency permit
A short-term residency permit is issued for stays of up to 90 days in a calendar year, and is available to visitors from outside the EU/EFTA area. It is also known as a Schengen visa.
To apply for a short-term residency permit, you will need to provide proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay, and evidence of travel insurance that includes medical coverage. You will also need to provide a return ticket to your country of origin or another destination outside Switzerland.
Permit B – Residence permit
A permit B, or residence permit, is issued to those who plan to stay in Switzerland for more than three months. This permit is valid for five years and can be renewed.
To apply for a permit B, you will need to have a work contract or proof of adequate financial resources to support yourself while in Switzerland. You will also need to have a clean criminal record, be in good health, and have appropriate health insurance coverage.
Permit C – Permanent residence
A permit C, or permanent residence permit, allows you to stay in Switzerland indefinitely. To be eligible for a permit C, you must have held a permit B for at least 10 continuous years, have strong ties to Switzerland, and be able to demonstrate a good knowledge of one of the national languages.
Permit G – Cross-border commuter permit
A permit G, or cross-border commuter permit, is issued to those who work in Switzerland but live in another country. This permit allows you to enter Switzerland for work purposes, but you must return to your country of residence at the end of each working day.
Permit L – Short-term work permit
A permit L, or short-term work permit, is issued for stays of up to one year for individuals who come to Switzerland for a specific work-related purpose. This permit is issued on a case-by-case basis, and you will need to provide proof of your employment contract and relevant qualifications.
Applying for residency in Switzerland
To apply for residency in Switzerland, you will need to complete an application form and submit it to the cantonal migration office in the area where you plan to live. The application form must be completed in one of Switzerland’s national languages (German, French, Italian, or Romansh).
Your application will be assessed by the migration office, which will consider factors such as your work contract, financial resources, and criminal record. If your application is approved, you will be issued with a residency permit.
Documents needed for residency application in Switzerland
When applying for residency in Switzerland, you will need to provide the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Work contract or proof of adequate financial resources
- Evidence of appropriate health insurance coverage
- Clean criminal record certificate
- Proof of your qualifications
- Proof of your ability to speak one of Switzerland’s national languages.
Registering with government department/organisation in Switzerland
Upon arriving in Switzerland, foreign nationals are required to register with the Residents’ Registration Office in their canton of residence. This registration must take place within 14 days of arrival, and you will need to provide your passport, employment contract, and proof of address.
Where to find reliable information on residence in Switzerland
For reliable and up-to-date information on residency in Switzerland, foreign nationals can consult the following websites: