We are a dedicated team of lawyers specialized in helping those who want to immigrate to Switzerland. As a non-EU country, Switzerland imposes specific immigration regulations and has different policies for EU and non-EU citizens interested in moving here. This is why we focus on offering tailored services to clients based on their nationality.
Together with our immigration lawyer in Switzerland, clients can find the suitable option for their situations and will also benefit from complete support in preparing and going through all the steps involved in the immigration process.
Below, we invite you to discover the types of residence permits available in Switzerland and how you can apply for them. You can rely on our Swiss immigration lawyers no matter the type of visa you plan on obtaining.
If you want to relocate to Switzerland and obtain Swiss citizenship, we can advise you.
|Entry visa requirement (from EU)|
Entry visa requirement (outside EU)
Types of visas available
|Travel, student, temporary and long-term residence permits|
|Time frame for obtaining work visa (approx.)|
Approx. 8 weeks
|Validity of temporary residence permit||1 year (in exceptional cases, 2 year validity is available)|
|Time frame for obtaining permanent residence (approx.)|
5 years for EU/EEA citizens, 10 years for non-EU/EEA citizens
|Investor Visa Availability (YES/NO)|
|Sponsorship requirement (YES/NO)||No|
|Time frame for obtaining citizenship||10 years through naturalization, 3 years through marriage|
|Citizenship/Residency by investment scheme availability (YES/NO)||Yes, residency by investment scheme|
|Tax benefits for expats||No|
Residence in Switzerland explained by our immigration lawyers
Switzerland is not a member of the European Union even if it has a special status and specific treaties with the EU and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). This is why those interested in immigration in Switzerland must know that there are different categories of residence permits divided into visas for EU and EFTA citizens and non-EU and non-EFTA citizens. This also means that there are different types of visas available for these categories of applicants.
It is important to note that no matter the country of origin of an applicant, our immigration lawyer will help them in obtaining the desired permit or even Switzerland citizenship provided that they meet the requirements imposed under the national legislation.
The Freedom of Movement Act enables citizens of the EU and EFTA to move to Switzerland without any restrictions and take use of the same rights for work, residence, and healthcare. EU/EFTA citizens do not require a visa to enter Switzerland, but if they intend to stay there permanently, they must register and apply for a Swiss residence permit (more than three months.)
Immigration services in Switzerland
Those who want to immigrate to Switzerland can benefit from our support with the following:
- information on understanding the legislation and residence permit applicable in their case;
- assistance in preparing the documents required to obtain the residence or work permit in each particular situation;
- submission of the documents with the Swiss immigration authorities and updates on the processing of these documents;
- support after the immigration procedure is completed, if the case requires it.
Our immigration lawyer in Switzerland can answer all your questions related to the procedure of moving to this country. We can help you apply for a residence permit in Switzerland.
What to consider before immigrating to Switzerland
Foreign citizens know Switzerland as one of the wealthiest and exclusivities countries in the world, which is true and this comes with various advantages, among which:
- great work conditions and salaries,
- numerous business opportunities,
- great living conditions and lifestyle.
In order to immigrate to Switzerland, citizens all over the world are first invited to get informed on the legislation applicable to obtaining various types of residence permits which is quite different from other European countries, considering that it is not a European Union member state. This is why uniform regulations apply to everyone who plans to move here.
Even citizens of the EU/EFTA must apply for a residence permit if they wish to relocate to Switzerland. You submit an application for a residence permit for Switzerland to the canton’s immigration office where you want to relocate. There are 26 cantons in Switzerland, and each canton is in charge of giving work authorization and residency permits to foreigners who wish to settle there.
In light of these aspects, our immigration lawyers in Switzerland can provide case-on-case assistance to citizens from all over the world attracted by this magnificent country, as you can also read in the infographic below:
Before applying for one of the visas issued by the Swiss migration authorities, the following aspects should be considered:
- the applicant’s country of residence or origin and if special conditions apply,
- the reasons to immigrate are also very important because of the variety of residence permits available,
- the documents to prepare in accordance with the status, nationality and visa requested,
- the immigration procedure which can take up to several weeks.
For these and other similar important matters, our immigration law firm in Switzerland is at the service of citizens of various nationalities.
Another aspect to consider before moving here is related to finding a place to stay. For this purpose, the most suitable option is to rent an apartment or house, a case in which our lawyers can help with the drafting of the lease or tenancy contract.
Swiss immigration steps
For many foreign citizens the immigration procedure may seem complicated due to the types of visas they have access to, however, the process usually consists of three main steps:
- applying for a visa that enables them to enter the country,
- obtaining a temporary residence permit,
- obtaining permanent residence.
It is true that the procedure for obtaining the visa differs from case to case, but this is where our Swiss lawyers can help and advise.
The simplest ways of moving to Switzerland can imply study, family reunification, employment and business. Also, all options are available for EU and non-EU citizens.
Moving to Switzerland as an EU/EFTA citizen
EU/EFTA citizens who want to move to Switzerland will need to comply with a series of requirements based on which they will be allowed to obtain one of the residence permits available for this category of immigrants.
In general terms, the following conditions apply to EU/EFTA citizens willing to immigrate to Switzerland:
- they have employment contracts with Swiss companies;
- they are self-employed and can sustain themselves;
- they are self-sufficient and can prove it to the Swiss authorities.
The following types of visas are available for EU/EFTA citizens who immigrate and obtain a residence permit in Switzerland:
- the L permit which is a short-term residence permit and has a limited duration of 3 to 12 months;
- the B permit which is granted to EU/EFTA citizens who live in Switzerland for longer periods of time and has a validity of 5 years;
- the C permit which is also known as a settlement permit which is granted after living in Switzerland for 5 to 10 years. The C permit in Switzerland is the country’s equivalent of permanent residency. The holder of this permit does not require permission to change jobs or work independently. Furthermore, the C permit does not limit employment to a certain canton, which is one of the greatest advantages of this type of visa.
- the Ci permit which is granted to EU/EFTA citizens working with governmental organizations, their spouses and children under the age of 25;
- the G permit which is available for cross-border commuters from neighboring countries provided that they have at least a 3-months work contract.
If you plan on applying for any of the residence permits mentioned above, you can rely on our immigration lawyer in Switzerland for complete assistance.
Residence permits for non-EU citizens in Switzerland
Non-EU/EFTA citizens can also immigrate to Switzerland and even if the procedure seems more complicated, our immigration lawyers can guide them in obtaining the necessary permits. Here are the main types of residence permits available for non-EU and non-EFTA citizens in Switzerland:
- the L permit which is a short-term residence permit available for non-EU/EFTA citizens;
- the B permit which is a regular residence permit for those seeking to relocate to Switzerland for a longer period of time. The EU or non-EU foreign citizens who seek to temporarily reside in Switzerland are the target audience for the B permit for Switzerland. B permits are normally issued for Switzerland for one year for non-EU citizens and five years for EU citizens. The C permit is distinct from the B permit since it denotes permanent residency.
- the C permit which is the same as for EU citizens seeking to settle in Switzerland;
- the Ci permit which is available for non-EU citizens working with governmental institutions;
- the G permit which is available for non-EU citizens living in an EU country and commuting for work to Switzerland;
- the F permit which can be obtained by non-EU/EFTA citizens who have been provisionally admitted to Switzerland;
- the N and S permits which are issued to foreign citizens of non-EU/EFTA states asking for asylum or in need of protection.
No matter your situation, do not hesitate to talk to our immigration lawyer for guidance in applying for one of the above-mentioned residence permits or Switzerland citizenship.
Documents to consider when immigrating to Switzerland
The most common ways to relocate to Switzerland have been presented above, and the procedures for each of them will imply completing the same basic steps, however, in terms of documentation, things are quite different.
Each type of visa comes with its own requirements which also has attached various documents. The only thing they have in common is that for each of them a valid passport and identification papers must be provided.
Other than that, the following conditions apply:
- for a work visa, work contracts are required, and these must be obtained before applying for the residence permit,
- in the case of students, an acceptance or invitation letter from the Swiss university or other high-ranking education institution will be required,
- in the case of residence permits sought for reuniting with family members, the person living in Switzerland must be a lawful permanent resident or citizen of this country.
Also, in the case of family reunification situations, spouses, parents, and children of Swiss residents or citizens can relocate here.
When it comes to starting a business with the purpose of immigrating to Switzerland, the applicant must be a shareholder (owner) or director in the company and thus obtain a work permit.
These requirements can be explained in detail by our immigration lawyer in Switzerland who can also advise on the preparation and submission of the papers with all relevant authorities.
Post-immigration support when moving to Switzerland
After the entire immigration procedure has been completed, the rental agreement has been signed and the applicant has arrived in Switzerland, it is necessary to announce the local authorities and register for taxation with the Tax Administration. We remind foreign citizens that Switzerland is made of 26 cantons and they can move to any of these. This is also where registration with the national authorities must take place.
Since these matters need to be considered as soon as possible, our post-immigration services do just that: help you meet all the requirements a lawful resident complies with. If you want to relocate to Switzerland, our team of lawyers can help you.
In the case of temporary residence permit holders, when the time comes, renewal support can be provided. Our immigration lawyers will also help residents to bring family members to Switzerland.
We also invite you to watch a video on our immigration services in Switzerland:
Why immigrate to Switzerland?
Foreign citizens interested in immigration to Switzerland might consider this country expensive, however, it is worth noting that living expenses do not exceed those of Germany and the Netherlands. Moreover, Switzerland has a very good healthcare system and an impressive immigration system which allows foreigners to apply for various categories of visas, as seen above.
No matter the reasons you are considering moving here, do not hesitate to contact us and ask about our tailored immigration services for obtaining a residence permit in Switzerland.