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Residency & Registration in Switzerland

Residence permit

Foreign nationals who want to permanently live and work in Switzerland need a residence permit as well as a work permit. This also applies to citizens of EU/EFTA member states. Usually it is the future employer who submits the applications for these two permits to the municipal office ("Gemeinde"). The residence permit is an official document which is granted by the federal as well as the cantonese authorities and issued by the municipality in which you live. The residence permit states how long you are permitted to live in Switzerland and whether you are allowed to work or bring your family. Holding a residence permit makes you a resident of the respective community and municipality, but not a citizen.

Type B and type L

The residence permit type B is the most commonly issued residence permit and also includes a work permit. As an EU citizen you will have to renew it after five years and as a non-EU citizen after one year. If you only want to work for a short time (less than 12 months) or do an internship, you will be issued a residence permit type L for short-term residents. It may be converted into a residence permit type B upon extension of the work contract.

More information

For more information on the topics of residence and work permits, please consult the website of the migratory service of the canton of Schwyz and the State Secretariat for Migration SEM.

Registration procedure for nationals of EU-/EFTA member states

Nationals of EU-27/EFTA member states whose period of gainful employment with a Swiss employer is shorter than 90 days per year are registered via an online procedure by their employers before they start working. If an individual is to be employed for more than three months per year, he or she has to register at the so-called "Fremdenkontrolle" (alien registration office) of the commune of residence within a fortnight of relocating to Switzerland. In the course of this registration, the residence permit as well as the work permit have to be applied for. This is, however, often taken care of by the employer, as mentioned above. It is mandatory for foreign employees relocating to Switzerland and having been given a permanent work contract to appear in person at the "Fremdenkontrolle" (see above) in their commune of residence.

Registration procedure for non-EU-/EFTA citizens

For non-EU-/EFTA citizens the employer is legally obliged to submit a request for hiring the individual at the "Volkswirtschaftsdirektion des Kantons", before employment can be taken up. Citizens of non-EU-/EFTA states have to register at the so-called "Fremdenkontrolle" (see above) of the commune of residence within a fortnight of relocating to Switzerland.

Registering at the new place of residence

Within a fortnight of arrival and before starting gainful employment new residents of Switzerland, as well as Swiss citizens, have to personally register at the residents’ registration office ("Einwohnerkontrolle") of the local government. Usually you are registered for settlement. In exceptional cases it is also possible to register as a weekly commuter. 

To register, please bring the following documents for yourself and each member of your family:

  • Questionnaire for foreigners
  • Employment contract
  • Passport or ID – card
  • Foreigner’s ID (if already issued)
  • Current passport-sized photograph (if you do not have a foreigner’s ID)
  • Health insurance cards
  • Marriage certificate, if married
  • Childrens’ birth certificates
  • Rental contract or proof of property

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