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Moving to Switzerland from UK

Moving to Switzerland from UK


Even if it is not a member of the European Union, Switzerland is a member of the European Economic Area which means that citizens from the Old Continent can move here based on simplified requirements. These also apply to citizens when moving to Switzerland from UK.

The great advantage for UK citizens who plan on leaving their home countries and relocate to Switzerland is that the UK exiting the European Union will not affect them moving here. If you need legal assistance in order to immigrate to Switzerland from UK, our team is at your disposal.

Below, our immigration lawyer in Switzerland explains the main steps and the visas available for UK citizens moving here.

Visa requirements for UK citizens immigrating to Switzerland

Moving to Switzerland from UK for a short period of time which does not exceed 90 days requires no visa for British citizens who want to stay in Switzerland, however, their passports must have a validity period of at least 6 months.

 Quick Facts 
  Visa requirements for UK nationalsNo visa is required for travels of less than 3 months 

Special conditions applicable (YES/NO)

No, there are no special requirements for persons who immigrate to Switzerland from UK

Relocation options

 L permits can be obtained for short-term stay, B permits are issued for remaining here, C permits imply permanent relocation to Switzerland
Temporary residence options 

L and B permits are available when to move to Switzerland from UK on a temporary basis

Permanent residence requirementsThe C permit is available for those who move to Switzerland from UK permanently
Access to investor/citizenship by investment visa

NO, there is no special investor visa 

Timeframe for obtaining a residence permit (approx.)

It takes approx. 4 to 6 weeks to be issued a
residence card

Family reunification visa availability (YES/NO) YES, it is possbile to apply for family reunion visas
Investment visa requirementsBusiness registration and retirement can be used to immigrate to Switzerland from UK
Permanent residence timeframe5 years of living in Switzerland 
Citizenship requirements Living in Switzerland for 10 years
Possibility to acquire real estate (YES/NO)YES, after obtaining a permanent residence card
Sweden-UK double tax treaty (YES/NO)YES
Immigration services (YES/NO)YES, our lawyers are at the service of persons who want to immigrate to Switzerland from UK
Post-immigration support (YES/NO) YES, we offer support in short-term and temporary residency renewal, assistance in applying for permanent residence cards and Swiss citizenship

When British citizens want to move to Switzerland for extensive periods, they need to apply for one of the following types of visas:

  1. an L short-term residence permit which has a validity period of maximum 1 year;
  2. a B residence permit which can be obtained based on a work contract with a duration of more than 12 months;
  3. a C long-term or settlement permit which allows for an indefinite stay and which must be renewed every 5 years;
  4. a Ci residence permit which is issued for EU/EEA citizens working for governmental organizations.

The important aspect to consider when moving to Switzerland from UK is that when applying for the L and B short-term residence permits, these will have the same validity period as the employment contract. The B residence permit is a suitable option for those who want to start small businesses in Switzerland and act as self-employed.

If you are interested in immigration to Switzerland and need information on the types of residence permits you qualify for, our lawyers can guide you. We can provide full assistance for relocating to Switzerland from UK.

Documents for moving to Switzerland from UK

The documents that need to be filed upon immigrating to Switzerland as a UK citizen depend mainly on the relocation reason, however, the following need to be prepared and filed with the Swiss Embassy in the UK:

  • the valid passport (as mentioned above, it is recommended for this to be valid for at least 6 months at the time of the application);
  • proof of rental agreement (for this, the applicant will need to secure a place to stay before moving to Switzerland);
  • a recent passport-sized photograph;
  • supporting documents proving the relocation reason (work contract, business plan, etc.).

Our immigration lawyer in Switzerland can help you with various information with respect to the cheapest cantons to move to. We can also assist with the preparation of applying for a residence permit in Switzerland.

Obtaining a work permit as British citizen

The high living standards and good salaries make many people choose to move to Switzerland based on employment.

An employment permit is necessary if you intend to work in Switzerland for more than 8 days each year. All non-Swiss people generally need some kind of immigration authorization to work in Switzerland; this authorization usually takes the form of a work permit or a work and residency permit.

The Swiss work visa is the main requirement when seeking to move to Switzerland from the United Kingdom. One of the long-stay visas is the Swiss work visa (also known as national or D-visa). For as long as the visa is valid, it entitles the holder to employment in Switzerland.

If you fit the following criteria, you can apply for a work visa in Switzerland:

  • you are an experienced professional, have worked for a number of years, and have a particular area of competence;
  • you were already offered a job in a Swiss company;
  • you enter the quota on Swiss work permits.

If you satisfy these conditions and your employer is requesting your residence permit, you may submit an application for a work visa in Switzerland.

Employment is one of the main ways to immigrate to Switzerland from the United Kingdom, and if you need support with the application, our specialists can help you.

Relocating to Switzerland from the United Kingdom through family reunion

Depending on your residency status, you might be able to invite family members to live with you if you reside in Switzerland. A family reunion visa can be obtained in this sense.

The following papers must be submitted when applying for a family reunion visa:

  • the application form;
  • a valid passport;
  • 4 passport-sized biometric photos not older than 6 months;
  • Form B of an international marriage certificate in original and copies for the spouse;
  • birth certificates that have been translated and notarized in original and copy for children;
  • three copies of the spouse’s or partner’s Swiss identity card, passport, or residency permit.
  • an excerpt from the personal registration certificate in original and copy;
  • the Swiss resident’s clean criminal record;
  • a domicile certificate in original and copy.

According to new regulations set forth in 2019 incoming family members will need to demonstrate a particular level of language proficiency when they apply for a Swiss residency permit.

The applicants may be required to demonstrate that they have level A1 language proficiency in order to facilitate family reunion. If not, they must demonstrate that they have enrolled in a language course that will enable them to do so. The family members of L permit holders are not subject to these requirements.

Should you decide to reunite with your family here, you can address our immigration lawyers in Switzerland for details the application procedure.

Retiring to Switzerland from the UK

Switzerland makes a great choice for those who decide to retire here, and British citizens will find here a great quality of life. It is worth noting that the Central European country has a specific visa – the retirement visa – for those interested in it.

To qualify for a Swiss retirement visa, British nationals must fulfill the following requirements:

  • they are older than 55.
  • they have the financial means to support themselves;
  • they must spend the majority of the year in Switzerland;
  • they must acquire health insurance.

With respect to the documents to be filed to obtain the visa, these are:

  • the application for the retirement visa;
  • the valid passport;
  • proof of sufficient finances under the form of a bank statement;
  • the health insurance policy.

Permanent residence for UK citizens in Switzerland

Moving to Switzerland from UK can be a definitive decision that can be doubled by applying for a permanent residence permit. This is the equivalent of the C settlement permit which can be obtained by British citizens after living in Switzerland for 5 uninterrupted years. The documents required to obtain such a permit are not different from those required when applying for a short-term residence visa, and our lawyers can help in this regard.

Assistance in moving to Switzerland from UK

UK citizens who want to relocate to Switzerland can benefit from extensive support from our immigration lawyers who can:

  • explain the regulations applicable to their particular cases when moving to Switzerland;
  • assistance in reviewing employment contracts related to relocation;
  • advice on the preparation of immigration documents in accordance with the type of residence permit sought;
  • guidance in registering with the cantonal authorities upon arrival in Switzerland;
  • assistance in applying for long-term residency and renewal of temporary residence permits.

It is important to note that those moving to Switzerland from UK must register with the migration and employment authorities in the canton they will live within 14 days after entering the country.

If you want to immigrate to Switzerland from UK or from any other country, you can ask our lawyers about your options. We can also assist in obtaining Swiss citizenship by investment. Here is also our video on this subject:

Foreign citizens living in Switzerland

According to a report published by SwissInfo.ch, 25% of the Swiss population was made of foreigners at the end of 2015 and 2016, as it follows:

  • out of the country’s 8,3 million citizens, 2 million were foreigners;
  • 80% of the immigrants came from EU countries, such as Germany, France, and Italy;
  • 7% of the foreigners in Switzerland lived in Bern in 2016;
  • approximately 396,000 foreign citizens were born in Switzerland in 2016.

If you want to move to Switzerland from UK and need assistance, please contact our lawyers.