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Switzerland Citizenship by Investment

Switzerland Citizenship by Investment

The 4 main options to move to Switzerland are employment, education, investment or joining a family member or spouse. As a result, you must apply for the necessary visa before relocating to Switzerland. Each visa has its own terms, criteria, and limitations. Get in contact with our lawyers for details on these conditions.

Foreign citizens interested in immigration to Switzerland have a variety of residence permits that allow them to move to this country. Among these, there are special categories of immigrants, for example, businesspersons looking to relocate and obtain Switzerland citizenship by investment.

At the moment, Switzerland does not have a specific program that grants direct citizenship by making an investment here as other European countries do, however, a Swiss passport can be obtained through naturalization by foreign investors. Even so, there is a residence visa for foreign investors called Swiss Investor Visa.

Below, our immigration lawyer explains the main conditions for obtaining  Switzerland citizenship by investment in this country. You can rely on us for assistance with the residence permit application procedure.

Switzerland – a preferred destination by foreign investors

Switzerland is one of the richest countries in Europe and many high net worth individuals have a growing interest in moving and obtaining residency and then citizenship, including by investment here. These have two options to move and obtain Switzerland citizenship by investment in 2024 through the investor visa under which they can:

  • start a business in this country;
  • retire to this country.

Each option of the Investor Visa has its own benefits which can be explained in detail by our immigration lawyer in Switzerland.

You can rely on us for complete information on how to move and obtain Switzerland citizenship by investment in 2024.

There are also other ways of obtaining Switzerland citizenship. They can be explained by our lawyers.

If you are from a nation outside of the EU or EFTA, you will have to comply with stricter regulations on your way to applying for a residence permit in Switzerland. In contrast to EU/EFTA citizens, finding employment in Switzerland is simply the first of many challenges to overcome because Swiss companies are required to give preference to locals and EU/EFTA citizens who meet the requirements for the position before casting their nets farther outside.

Who can apply for citizenship by investment in Switzerland?

Compared to other countries, where the golden visa program addresses mainly high net worth individuals who can make a substantial investment that is reflected in the country’s economy, the Swiss citizenship by investment program was created for investors willing to register a business through which the contribution to the economy can be made.

Another aspect to consider is that Switzerland’s program does not promote obtaining residency or citizenship in an easier manner or faster period of time compared to other European countries, as it represents mainly a way through which foreign citizens can relocate here.

Also, the Swiss golden visa is open to both EU and non-EU citizens interested in the investment possibilities this country offers.

If you are interested in entering Switzerland through this program, our immigration lawyers are at your disposal with complete information on what it entails. We can assist both EU and non-EU citizens who want to move to Switzerland through this scheme.

Conditions for those who want to relocate to Switzerland through the golden visa

Foreign citizens who want to enter the golden visa scheme for moving to Switzerland and obtaining a passport by investment must meet certain requirements, among which the most important are:

  • to have no criminal records and have good characters;
  • to have not been employed or have had any other occupation in Switzerland before;
  • to be first-time residents in Switzerland (to have not lived in this country in the past 10 years);
  • proof of sufficient funds to set up a business, respectively to pay the annual lump tax in the case of retirees.

Our immigration lawyers in Switzerland can perform the necessary verifications in order to ensure you qualify for moving to this country. We can also help applicants to draft the documents required to apply for a residence permit for this country no matter their countries of origins. However, candidates must consider that these requirements are different based on the state they come from.

Types of residence permits available in Switzerland

One of the best things about the Swiss citizenship by investment program is that it is open to any citizen interested in living here and who can prove he or she has the means to support oneself or to run a business, depending on the selected option.

Switzerland is not an European Union country, which is why both categories of applicants can qualify to obtain residency here based on which they can live and work, while their children, for example, can study here. Candidates must have employment before coming here if they are applying for a B permit for Switzerland from a state that is not a member of the European Union or the European Free Trade Association. Employers in Switzerland must pass a labor market test to ensure that no one in their country or around Europe is qualified to perform the advertised job.

Switzerland offers several types of residence permits for EU and non-EU citizens and in most cases temporary ones that can be renewed until the persons can apply for permanent residency. The C permit for Switzerland is of the most requested types of visas in this country. Upon your initial admission into Switzerland, you are not eligible to seek for permanent residency. You must first satisfy a few requirements, among which living here for a specific period in order to become eligible for this permit.

Moving to Switzerland has many benefits, among which access to a great healthcare system, but also to own properties in one of the most desired countries in Europe.

Switzerland citizenship by investment for foreign businesspersons in 2024

Foreign citizens from non-EU countries have the possibility of acquiring residence then Swiss citizenship by investment by registering a company here. The following requirements must be complied with in this process:

  1. the investor must register a company in any Swiss canton – the limited liability company (GmbH is usually preferred because of the share capital of 20,000 CHF);
  2. the investor must be at least 18 years old at the time of the application;
  3. an annual lump tax of at least 150,000 CHF (around 170, 000 USD) must also be considered;
  4. in the canton of Zurich, the lump tax is higher and can reach 1 million CHF;
  5. the applicant must have not lived in Switzerland for the past 10 years in order to be allowed to apply for the investor visa.

The issuance of the investor visa which can lead to Switzerland citizenship by investment takes between 3 and 4 months depending on how soon the applicant files the documents. For this purpose, you can rely on our immigration lawyer.

Other conditions that need to be respected in terms of residence by investment is for the company to be created to create jobs and contribute to the Swiss economy.

It is worth noting that Zug canton is one of the most sought regions in the country thanks to the low taxation system applicable at a local level. If you want to immigrate to this country and obtain a residence permit in Switzerland and have questions related to how to choose a canton, our lawyers can advise you.

Relocating and Switzerland obtaining citizenship by investment in 2022 is not difficult if you request our services.

Retiring to Switzerland by means of investment in 2024

While most EU countries allow non-EU citizens to obtain citizenship by investment by purchasing real estate, Switzerland offers this possibility to citizens outside the EU who want to retire here. This is one of the popular options for those who want to move to Switzerland permanently and obtaining citizenship by investment.

There are various conditions to respect in order to obtain Swiss residency by investment and among these, we mention the following:

  • the applicant must be above the age of 55 and submit proof of permanent financial resources;
  • he or she must have a clean criminal record and good character;
  • an annual lump tax is also required for the person retiring to Switzerland (the lump tax is usually 30% of the yearly living expenses).

Another aspect related to moving and obtaining  Switzerland citizenship by investment through the acquisition of a property is the fact that approval must be obtained from the Swiss Land Registry.

The advantage of moving and obtaining Switzerland citizenship by purchasing a property is not required to declare their annual worldwide income to the local authorities thanks to the annual lump tax fee.

If you have any questions on the best way of moving and applying for a residence permit in Switzerland, our lawyers will advise you based on your needs and investment possibilities. We can assist foreigners who want to immigrate to Switzerland in order to apply for citizenship by investment. We also invite you to watch our video:

How long does it take to obtain Switzerland citizenship by investment?

At first, permanent residency can be obtained after 10 years of uninterrupted living here. Then, Swiss citizenship is available for foreign citizens after living between 12 to 15 years in this country. The period depends entirely on the Swiss government which decides the timeframe based on specific factors.

The main benefits of relocating Switzerland for citizenship by investment

Switzerland is seen as an exclusive destination for high net worth individuals, however, the country is also open to investors who want to benefit from the numerous business connections the country has all over the world and who want to earn a reputation in one of the most prolific economies in Europe.

The fact that the program is available for entrepreneurs as well as for those who want to retire here is another strong point for the Swiss citizenship by investment scheme compared to other European countries which offer similar programs.

The possibility of owning a property in Switzerland is also a very attractive reason to choose this program.

FAQ on Switzerland citizenship by investment

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the Swiss citizenship by investment scheme:

  1. How long does it take for the documents to be processed when applying for a residence permit for Switzerland?

The visa processing time for immigration to Switzerland under this program takes between 3 and 6 months.

  1. Can the canton where I decide to move to influence the application procedure?

No, the visa application procedure is handled at a national level, however, you might want to consider choosing the canton based on the level of taxation and real estate sale values.

  1. Does Switzerland allow dual citizenship?

Yes, this is one of the advantages of moving to Switzerland: you can retain your former citizenship.

  1. Can I immigrate to Switzerland with my family through this program?

Yes, you can relocate to Switzerland with your family, however, these can also join you later based on the family reunification visa.

Switzerland’s population composition and migration background (2022)

Please find the statistics below regarding Swiss population composition and migration background from the year 2022:

  • In 2022, 40% of the permanent resident population aged 15 and over had a migration background, totaling 2,951,000 individuals;
  • Of this population, over a third, approximately 1,115,000 people, held Swiss nationality;
  • Nearly four-fifths of those with a migration background belonged to the first generation, comprising 2,342,000 individuals;
  • The remaining fifth, approximately 609,000 people, were born in Switzerland and constituted the second generation;
  • The population without a migration background was predominantly Swiss-born (99.3%), with a small percentage consisting of naturalized citizens (0.5%) and foreign nationals from the third or higher generation (0.1%);
  • All persons born abroad, except Swiss-born individuals with at least one parent born in Switzerland, were categorized as belonging to the first generation of individuals with a migration background, numbering over 2.3 million in the population aged 15 and over;
  • This group included foreign nationals born abroad (1,657,000), foreign-born naturalized citizens (663,000), and Swiss-born individuals with both parents born abroad (22,000).

For assistance in moving to Switzerland and obtaining citizenship by investment, please contact our local lawyers.