Foreign citizens who want to move to Switzerland have the possibility of applying for a temporary residence permit and then convert them into permanent residence permits. The difference between Switzerland and other European countries is that Switzerland is not an EU member state, therefore the requirements to move here and obtain permanent residence apply to EU and non-EU citizens.
Luckily, Switzerland offers a wide range of visas under which foreign citizens can relocate, live and work here with great chances of obtaining not only residency but also citizenship.
Below, our immigration lawyer in Switzerland presents the main routes to permanent residency for EU and non-EU citizens. You can rely on us for assistance in obtaining a residence permit in Switzerland.
Types of visas available for foreign citizens in Switzerland in 2021
The authorities do not make a great difference between the citizens of EU and non-EU countries who want to immigrate here and apply for Switzerland permanent residence after the appropriate period of time. Moreover, immigration to Switzerland for non-EU citizens is supported through a higher number of temporary residence permits.
Here are the main types of residence permits available for both EU and non-EU citizens:
- the L permit which can be obtained by both EU and non-EU citizens for limited periods of time;
- the B permit which also applies to both categories of applicants which has an extended period of stay;
- the C permit which is the residence permit that enabled EU and non-EU citizens to settle in Switzerland;
- the G permit which can be obtained by those who commute for work from another country to Switzerland.
In the case of non-EU citizens, it is important to first secure a job in a European country in order to obtain a G permit, however, this type of residence visa is usually requested by citizens living in European countries bordering Switzerland and commuting on a weekly basis.
Our immigration lawyer can offer detailed information on the requirements to meet in order to obtain temporary then a residence permit in Switzerland.
What to consider before applying for a residence permit for Switzerland in 2021
Foreign citizens who want to migrate to Switzerland with the purpose of obtaining permanent residency in 2021 must know that the conditions for moving here are the same for EU and non-EU citizens when it comes to the types of permits they can obtain.
As a foreign citizen one can relocate to Switzerland under the following conditions:
- if he or she has a job offer from a Swiss company;
- if he or she wants to start a business in Switzerland;
- if he or she marries a Swiss citizen.
No matter the option, a visa for Switzerland must be obtained before entering the country. The procedure must begin in the country of residence of the applicant.
In order to be issued a residence permit for Switzerland, it is recommended to apply for a visa that enables a foreign citizen to stay in the country for a longer period of time.
If you plan to move to Switzerland in 2021 with the purpose of applying for permanent residency, you can rely on the services provided by our immigration law firm.
Eligibility criteria for Switzerland permanent residence
Those who want to relocate and apply for Switzerland permanent residence must first be eligible for temporary residence visas. If the conditions of the temporary residence permits are respected, applicants become eligible for moving to Switzerland for permanent residence purposes.
The following conditions apply in order to obtain permanent residence in Switzerland:
- the number of years of living in Switzerland must correspond to the Swiss immigration regulations;
- the applicant has previously held an L or B temporary residence permit;
- the applicant must also have sufficient knowledge of the official language in the canton he/she lives in;
- proof of integration in the Swiss culture is also a must in order to permanently settling here;
- proof of employment and a clean criminal record are among the requirements for being eligible for permanent residence in Switzerland.
With respect to the language test, the applicant must take, our immigration lawyer in Switzerland will inform them about the official languages with respect to the canton he/she lives in. Switzerland has 4 official languages: German, Italian, French, and Romansh, however, the latter is seldom used. The applicant must have an A2 level of one of these languages.
If you want to move to Switzerland and apply for permanent residence, we invite you to discuss your case with one of our lawyers who can guide you in accordance with the regulations applied to your situation. We can also help you apply for Switzerland citizenship.
Obtaining Swiss permanent residency through employment
One of the safest ways of moving to Switzerland with the purpose of obtaining permanent residence is through employment. The procedure implies finding employment with a local business (the job offer must be made by the possible employer) who will also start the immigration procedure.
The types of residence permits that can be obtained for employment purposes are the B and the L ones. The first one enables a foreign citizen to live and work in Switzerland for more than one year, while the second one has a validity of less than one year.
Moving to Switzerland based on employment can lead to permanent residency in 5 years of interrupted stay in the country, and those who obtain work contracts with a limited duration need to have their employment offers renewed.
Sole traders can also apply for residence permits for Switzerland if they want to set up small businesses in this country. For this purpose, they need to apply for a visa to move here in order to start operating. It should be noted that this option is usually available for professionals, such as accountants and dentists.
Obtaining Swiss permanent residency in 2021 can be supervised by our immigration lawyers who are at your service if you need guidance in preparing the necessary documents to be issued the residence card.
How to apply for permanent residence by investment in Switzerland in 2021
Switzerland is one of the most appealing investment destinations in the world for foreign businesspersons, many of them finding this country suitable for various operations.
Those who want to apply for Swiss citizenship by investment in 2021 can enter two categories:
- active persons.
In the case of the first category of applicants, the following requirements must be met:
- the applicant must be more than 55 years old;
- the applicant must have not worked in Switzerland prior to the application;
- the foreign citizen must also be a first-time applicant for this scheme;
- he or she must rent or buy a property in Switzerland;
- the annual income of a candidate must be at least 600,000 CHF.
The minimum annual income, however, can depend on canton to canton.
Immigrating to Switzerland in 2021 under this program implies preparing various documents, case in which our lawyers are at your service for support, should you meet the requirements above.
In the case of the other category of applicants, the following requirements apply:
- the person enrolling in this scheme must be at least 18 years old and have no criminal record;
- he or she must have a business with a minimum turnover of 1 million CHF one is willing to redomicile here;
- the applicant must not be a former resident of Switzerland in the past 10 years.
If you need more information on the Swiss residence by investment program for 2021, you can obtain the details from our immigration law firm.
How long does it take to obtain permanent residence in Switzerland?
In order to determine after how long after moving to Switzerland permanent residence can be obtained, it is useful to know that:
- the L permit has a validity period of maximum of 12 months and can be renewed;
- the B permit has a validity period of 5 years which is sufficient for EU citizens to obtain permanent residence;
- for non-EU citizens, permanent residence is available after 10 years of living here;
- non-EU citizens can also apply for permanent residence after 5 years provided that certain requirements are met.
It is also good to note that each canton has its own regulations related to the issuance of C permits for Switzerland permanent residence.
The documents related to moving to Switzerland and obtaining permanent residence are processed by the State Secretariat for Migration. You can also watch our video below:
Benefits as a permanent resident of Switzerland
Swiss permanent residents enjoy many benefits after obtaining this status. Access to the labor market is one of the most important, however, the permanent residency also comes with the right of starting one’s own business and living in any canton of his or her choosing.
Foreign citizens can buy real estate in Switzerland without any approvals or restrictions based on permanent residency. Also, after living here for 10 years, they become eligible for citizenship which has a great advantage: it ranks 6th in the world based on the benefits it offers, among which visa-free travel to 172 countries around the world.
If you are a foreign citizen from an EU or non-EU country and want to obtain Switzerland permanent residence, you can rely on our immigration lawyers for personalized advice and support, so do not hesitate to contact us. We can also guide you in applying for Switzerland citizenship.