Obtain Permanent Residence in Switzerland

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

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:

  1. the L permit which can be obtained by both EU and non-EU citizens for limited periods of time;
  2. the B permit which also applies to both categories of applicants which has an extended period of stay;
  3. the C permit which is the residence permit which enabled EU and non-EU citizens to settle in Switzerland;
  4. 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 an 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 with 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.

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.

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.

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.