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Moving to Switzerland from Canada

Moving to Switzerland from Canada


There are several formalities that need to be completed upon immigration to Switzerland for both EU and non-EU citizens. Switzerland is not interesting only for European citizens, but also for North American ones, among which Canadian citizens. Those who are interested in moving to Switzerland from Canada must go through several procedures, however, they also benefit from several advantages.

Below, we invite you to read about how to immigrate to Switzerland from Canada. With the help of our immigration lawyer in Switzerland, the procedures can be completed without any interruption.

Visa exemptions when moving to Switzerland from Canada

Canada and the USA benefit from special conditions for short stay periods in Switzerland. Specifically, if you plan on immigrating to Switzerland from Canada or the USA, you will not need a visa if you stay for less than 90 days or 3 months. Other than that, the regular visa requirements apply.

Our immigration lawyer in Switzerland can help you file the documents required for short stays when coming from Canada. The residence permit in Switzerland can be obtained with our help.

How simple is it to gain a Swiss residence permit? If you want to know the answer to this question or if you have others, contact us. Our immigration lawyers can help you understand all the requirements associated with moving here, so if you decide, you can make an informed choice with great chances of success.

Long-term residency in Switzerland when relocating from Canada

Once a person decides to immigrate to Switzerland from Canada for longer periods of time, he or she will need to apply for one of the following visas:

  1. The study visa for students who are enrolled with Swiss accredited universities or other educational facilities;
  2. The work visa which is issued for those who have obtained a labor contract with a local company. The process is more difficult if you are a non-European citizen looking for a work permit. Prior to traveling to Switzerland, you must first acquire employment here. If you succeed, you become eligible for a work visa which is associated with a temporary residence permit. This is also called the B Permit in Switzerland.
  3. The family reunification visa is another way for Canadian citizens to move to Switzerland if they have a family member living here. While the process of reunification is simpler for citizens of the EU and EFTA countries, a spouse or kid is typically permitted to move to Switzerland to live with a member of their family under specific circumstances. If this applies to you, you can discuss the rules for citizens of the EU/EFTA and of third countries to secure a residence permit in Switzerland with our specialists.
  4. The Youth Mobility Program which allows a Canadian citizen to work in Switzerland.

If you are interested in immigration to Switzerland and are planning on moving here from Canada, we can help you apply for the desired visa, including a Swiss golden visa.

One of the advantages of obtaining a Swiss C permit is that you can qualify to buy a property here. The real estate market is quite developed allowing to purchase various types of apartments and homes in various cantons. Contact us for details on how to move to Switzerland as soon as possible.

The Youth Mobility Program for those who want to move to Switzerland from Canada

We will focus on the Youth Mobility Program, as it is one of the simplest ways to move to Switzerland from Canada for work purposes. There are several criteria to meet when choosing to immigrate to Switzerland under this program and they include:

  • The applicant must be a Canadian citizen;
  • He or she must be aged 18 to 35;
  • The person must have a Canadian valid passport and a permanent address in Canada at the time of the application.

In order to be accepted into the program, a Canadian citizen must have a job or an internship offer before applying for the visa. Also, the offer must be related to the field of expertise, respectively the studies of the applicant. Canadian citizens can also use their work visas to obtain residency in Switzerland.

A Canadian citizen is allowed to participate in this program twice, as long as the duration of each stay in Switzerland is less than 18 months. For one stay, the duration of the visa is a maximum of 12 months.

Our immigration lawyer in Switzerland can offer detailed information on relocation here from Canada under the Youth Mobility Program. We can also help foreign nationals of other countries move to Switzerland. An application for a C Permit for Switzerland can be made by Americans and Canadians after five years of continuous residency, as the two countries have agreements with Switzerland in this sense. If you want to relocate here from the USA or Canada, you can rely on our immigration lawyers.

If you are interested in Switzerland citizenship as a Canadian national, we can provide all the information.

Can residency in Switzerland lead to citizenship?

In June 2014, a new parliamentary law was enacted, bringing changes to the Swiss citizenship application process. Notably, the required years of residence were reduced from 12 to 10, and this adjustment was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2018. Despite this recent reduction, Switzerland still maintains one of the lengthier naturalization periods compared to other EU countries.

Several additional modifications were set to be implemented. For example, the period spent in Switzerland as a child, which was counted as twice its actual duration toward citizenship, is now applied only to children aged between 10 and 18, as opposed to the previous range of 10 to 20. Furthermore, time spent in Switzerland as a refugee or asylum seeker is contributed 6 months each toward citizenship. Cantonal residency requirements stipulate that candidates must live in the specific canton they are applying for citizenship in for a duration ranging from two to five years.

Under the new law, only residents holding a C permit in Switzerland are eligible for years of residency contributing to citizenship. Those with temporary permits are not qualified to include those years in Switzerland in their citizenship application. Moving to Switzerland from Canada provides Canadians with a notable advantage in the path to Swiss citizenship. Unlike other residents who typically face a standard residency requirement of 12 years, Canadians are eligible to apply for Swiss citizenship after just five years of residency. This shorter period significantly streamlines the naturalization process, offering Canadian expatriates an expedited route to becoming Swiss citizens.

Can I retire in Switzerland?

People who are not citizens of Switzerland can apply for a retirement visa if they can prove they have enough money to support themselves and won’t need help from Swiss social security. A retirement visa is like a special permission to immigrate to Switzerland and is given to retired people if they meet specific rules based on where they are from. The rules for getting a retirement visa are different for people from the European Union (EU) and those from outside the EU. If you are planning to relocate to Switzerland from Canada, and you are not from the EU, please meet these conditions for a retirement visa:

  1. You must be aged fifty-five or above;
  2. You should be able to take care of your own expenses;
  3. You must live in Switzerland for most of the year;
  4. You must show a personal connection to Switzerland, like having Swiss roots, spending a lot of time there, owning property, and so on.

If you are from a country outside the EU, you need to apply for a retirement visa along with your regular visa application at the Swiss office in your country. Once you move to Switzerland, you have to register with the local authorities. For non-EU citizens, the retirement visa is initially given for one year and can be renewed for another year when it expires. Our lawyers can help you apply for a retirement visa if you are interested in immigrating to Switzerland from Canada.

Document preparation for moving to Switzerland from Canada

Depending on the immigration reason and the type of visa one will apply for when relocating to Switzerland from Canada, there are various documents that need to be prepared and filed with the Swiss embassy or consulate in Canada. Among these are:

  • A valid passport;
  • The employment contract, if moving here based on a labor agreement;
  • The job offer, if moving to Switzerland from Canada based on the Youth Mobility Program;
  • Proof of accommodation and insurance, when seeking to relocate for long periods;
  • Proof of residency of family members when moving here for family reunification purposes.

Our immigration lawyer in Switzerland can help with the preparation of the documents associated with the reason for relocation. We can also assist with other expat services, in accordance with the needs of those who want to immigrate to Switzerland from Canada.

Can a criminal record affect my migration plan to Switzerland?

Having a criminal record could impact your eligibility for immigration to Switzerland. Prior to issuing a visa or residence permit, Swiss authorities will undertake a thorough background check. If you possess a criminal record, it is crucial to be transparent about it and furnish all pertinent information during the application process. Our attorneys can help you immigrate to Switzerland from Canada and assist you in presenting a clean criminal record.

Health insurance requirement before immigrating to Switzerland

Despite Switzerland having a universal healthcare system, it is important to note that there is no provision for free public healthcare. Instead, every resident, whether Swiss nationals or foreign expats, is obligated to procure and pay for their private health insurance. This obligation extends even to children and dependents, who must have their individual health plans. Consequently, it becomes the responsibility of each Swiss resident to navigate the process of obtaining health insurance in Switzerland. If you are interested in relocating to Switzerland from Canada and wants to learn about health insurance, our lawyers can guide you about the available packages.

For those seeking guidance in this matter, our legal consultation is available. If you are planning to move to Switzerland, securing Swiss health insurance is a top priority. However, as a foreigner, enrollment in the Swiss healthcare system is only possible after arriving in the country and initiating the residence permit application or registering with a local cantonal authority. Even if the Swiss residence permit is not immediately granted, proof of the pending application and current residency is sufficient to obtain a health insurance policy. Given the requirement to secure healthcare coverage within 90 days of arrival, it is advisable to begin the search before landing in Switzerland. If you need any additional assistance regarding applying for a B permit in Switzerland, the services of our lawyers are at your disposal. 

There are exceptions to the mandatory health insurance requirement, applicable to cross-border workers, retirees receiving EU/EFTA pensions, temporary students with international insurance, as well as specific officials and diplomats. If you are interested in learning more about these exceptions, our Swiss immigration lawyers can offer you legal assistance. 

Switzerland and Canada – economic relations

Switzerland is one of the most important business centers in the world and in Europe, which is one of the reasons many Canadian citizens relocate here. From an economic point of view, the Swiss Government has issued the following data on the relations with Canada:

  • Canada is Switzerland’s 2nd largest trading partner on both American continents;
  • Switzerland’s total imports reached 30.1 billion USD in November 2023;
  • It also exported goods worth 4,4 billion CHF to Canada.

For assistance in moving to Switzerland from Canada, please contact us. We can help you obtain a residence permit in Switzerland as soon as possible.