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Digital Nomad Visa in Switzerland

Digital Nomad Visa in Switzerland

Digital nomads are welcome in Switzerland, even if at the moment there is no specific visa program under which they can relocate here. The most important aspect to take into account, however, is that no matter your country of residence you need an entry visa.

Below, our Swiss immigration lawyers explain the alternatives you have to a digital nomad visa in Switzerland. You will also find interesting facts about living in one of the most beautiful European countries.

Switzerland and the digital nomad visa program for remote workers

Just like other European countries, Switzerland attracts people who have the possibility of working remotely for a limited or unlimited time. However, there is no digital nomad visa in Switzerland yet, which means that the easiest way to move here is by applying for a short-term stay visa or a residence permit.

In order to understand why a remote worker visa is so appreciated, here are the main requirements, as adopted by other European countries:

  1. the applicant must work for an employer located elsewhere than Switzerland;
  2. the applicant can also be a freelancer or business owner with activities/company outside Switzerland;
  3. he or she must be able to complete this activity remotely;
  4. the person must ensure a minimum income for the duration of their stay in Switzerland.

So, moving to Switzerland under a digital nomad visa is possible through other means that meet these requirements. However, the main difference between obtaining such a visa and applying for a short-term stay visa is related to taxation. Specifically, a remote worker visa does not imply being taxed in Switzerland, while another type of visa could lead to this.

Tax residency rules in Switzerland are different meaning that a digital nomad can become liable for taxation if:

  1. he or she lives and work in Switzerland for more than 30 days in a year;
  2. lives in Switzerland without any occupation for more than 90 days in a calendar year.

By comparison, a digital nomad visa in Switzerland would imply living here for up to 90 days without being taxed on one’s activity, if following the model of other countries.

We are also at your disposal if you want to immigrate to Switzerland permanently. If you have plans to move to Switzerland, employment is one of the simplest ways, as there are several types of work visas you can obtain. Please bear in mind that you must first secure a job here and then apply for a work and residence permit. These are usually issued for limited periods.

Alternatives to a digital nomad visa in Switzerland

In the absence of a specific digital nomad visa, Switzerland offers alternative visa options suitable for remote workers. As a digital nomad, you can move to Switzerland on the following visas: 

  • The golden visa program is tailored for third-country nationals interested in investing in Switzerland. Eligible applicants, aged 18-55, with a clean record and verifiable income, can choose from investment options like lump-sum taxation or investing in Swiss businesses. If you are interested in a golden visa program, our immigration lawyers in Switzerland can assist you practically. 
  • The entrepreneur visa caters to self-employed non-EU/EFTA citizens. Applicants need a valid residence or work permit, a comprehensive business plan, and evidence of business formation to qualify. Also note that a Swiss C permit signifies permanent residency for non-EU/EFTA citizens. Holders of a C permit enjoy the right to reside indefinitely and have greater flexibility in employment.
  • Alternatively, the Schengen visa provides flexibility for short-term stays across European countries, including Switzerland, without the need for individual visas for each country. Depending on the purpose of the visit, travelers can obtain single-entry, double-entry, or multiple-entry Schengen visas.

Navigating through these bureaucratic formalities, digital nomads can explore their options and find the best-suited path to continue their nomadic lifestyle. If you want to obtain a digital nomad visa in Switzerland, you can send your inquiries to our specialists who will help you apply for the right type of visa.

Visa requirements for citizens of specific countries

For citizens of certain countries, relocation to Switzerland comes with varying visa requirements:

United States citizens: US citizens can stay in Switzerland for up to 90 days (approximately 3 months) within 180 days without needing a visa. However, for longer stays, a visa permit becomes necessary.

  • EU citizens: Citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries can enter Switzerland without a visa.
  • Canadian citizens: Canadians enjoy visa-free entry into Switzerland but are restricted to stays of up to 90 days (about 3 months) within 180 days. Longer stays necessitate a visa permit.
  • Australian and New Zealand citizens: Both Australian and New Zealand citizens can enter Switzerland without a visa for various purposes, including work and long-term stays.

For citizens of other countries, obtaining a visa is mandatory for entry into Switzerland. These visa requirements ensure compliance with immigration regulations and facilitate smoother entry processes for travelers from diverse nationalities. Note that the Swiss B permit grants non-EU/EFTA citizens temporary residence. It allows holders to reside and work in the country for a specified duration.

Besides moving, if you are planning to apply for a residence permit in Switzerland, our attorneys can offer you comprehensive assistance.

Destinations for a digital nomad in Switzerland 

Here are some of the best cities for digital nomads in Switzerland, highlighting the benefits each city offers:

  1. Zurich:

 Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, stands out as an ideal destination for digital nomads due to its exceptional infrastructure, robust business environment, and high quality of life. Renowned as a global financial hub, Zurich boasts a diverse economy with thriving sectors in technology, finance, and innovation. For digital nomads, this translates into abundant networking opportunities, access to cutting-edge resources, and a supportive ecosystem for professional growth.

Additionally, Zurich offers a plethora of coworking spaces, ranging from modern shared offices to innovative startup incubators, catering to the diverse needs of remote workers. Its efficient public transportation system ensures seamless connectivity across the city, facilitating easy commutes to workspaces and exploration of its cultural attractions.

  • Geneva:

Geneva, renowned as a global center for diplomacy and international cooperation, offers digital nomads a unique blend of professional opportunities and a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Home to numerous international organizations, including the United Nations and the World Health Organization, Geneva fosters a diverse and multicultural environment conducive to collaboration and networking. Digital nomads in Geneva benefit from the city’s strong emphasis on innovation and research, particularly in fields such as healthcare, finance, and technology. 

Moreover, Geneva’s thriving coworking scene caters to the needs of remote workers, offering flexible workspaces equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and amenities. The city’s efficient public transportation system ensures seamless mobility, facilitating exploration of its historic landmarks, scenic parks, and vibrant cultural events.

  • Basel:

Basel, situated at the crossroads of Switzerland, France, and Germany, emerges as a dynamic city with a rich cultural heritage and thriving business environment, making it an attractive destination for digital nomads. Renowned for its pharmaceutical and chemical industries, Basel fosters a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, offering abundant opportunities for collaboration and professional development.

Digital nomads in Basel benefit from the city’s vibrant startup ecosystem, supported by incubators, accelerators, and investment networks, facilitating access to resources and mentorship. Additionally, Basel’s diverse coworking spaces cater to the needs of remote workers, offering flexible work environments conducive to productivity and creativity. The city’s strategic location at the heart of Europe ensures excellent connectivity, facilitating travel within Switzerland and across neighboring countries.

In conclusion, Zurich, Geneva, and Basel stand out as top destinations for digital nomads in Switzerland, offering a compelling blend of professional opportunities, cultural experiences, and a high quality of life. Whether seeking a dynamic urban environment, or international networking opportunities, these cities provide an ideal setting for remote work and personal growth. If you are interested in immigrating to Switzerland, the services of our lawyers are at your disposal. They can also guide you about the alternatives to a digital nomad visa in Switzerland

How much does it cost to live in Switzerland as a digital nomad?

Switzerland is a more expensive country compared to other European destinations, however, it is also more exclusive. When considering moving here as a digital nomad, you should consider the following:

  • Bern is one of the most appreciated destinations, as living costs can go up to 4,600 USD per month, according to data here;
  • Zurich is another great city to live in, however, the costs here can exceed 5,300 USD per month;
  • Basel is one of the cheapest cities in Switzerland, with living costs of nearly 5,500 USD per month.

If you want to apply for a digital nomad visa in Switzerland, contact our lawyers for assistance.