| Work and residence permits in Switzerland
What types of permits are there,
and how long are they valid?
The validity of the permit depends on the duration of the employment contract:
L permit (temporary residence permit)
Employment contract of less than one year's duration. The validity six months for trainees, or 18 months for key
positions (founding / setting up a company, training of new personnel).
B permit (annual residence permit)
Employment contract of one or more years' duration or of unlimited duration. Legal domicile in Switzerland.
Residence permits for family members possible. Annual renewal is a simple formality.
G permit (cross-border commuter permit)
Employment contract of less than one year's duration. The validity of the permit is identical with the duration
of the contract. Daily return to country of origin.
C permit (permanent residence permit)
Available after 5 years continuous residence in Switzerland. Except for the right to vote, to be elected to a
public office, and compulsory military service, these permit holders are equal to Swiss nationals.
Of particular importance is the right of permanent residents to be self-employed.
I would like to work in Switzerland.
What do I have to take into consideration?
Being able to work in Switzerland is subject to the principle 'You can't take up a job unless you have a
permit!' For you to be granted a permit, the following conditions must be satisfied during the
National priority: the employer must provide evidence that he/she has
not found another employee (i.e. a Swiss national or a foreign employee who is already integrated into the Swiss
labour market) to fill this vacancy.
Check on pay and working conditions: for the protection of employees, these conditions will be checked
when a permit is granted; they must be in line with the practice prevailing both locally and in the industry.
Do I first have to find a job in Switzerland, or can I immigrate before?
In other words:
do I need an affirmation from the immigration authorities?
EU/EFTA nationals may enter Switzerland for job-hunting purposes.
No permit is required for a period of
up to three months. If they have not found a job after this time, a short-term residence permit (L permit) will
be granted for another three months' job-hunting.
For non EU nationals, an affirmation from the immigration authorities required before to move to Switzerland.
| Residence without gainful employment
What persons are able to invoke the provisions
subsequent immigration of their families?
- Spouses (in general, they may take up gainful employment, provided
their pay and working conditions are in
line with the practice prevailing
both locally and in the industry)
- Children or grandchildren who are under 21 years of age or – if they
are older – they are provided
- Parents and grandparents, provided that they are given maintenance
I am an old-age pensioner. Will I be granted a residence permit?
To be able to obtain a permit, you will have to provide evidence that you possess sufficient financial
means and that you have taken out adequate accident and health insurance policies.
'Sufficient financial means' means that you will not have to rely on government social security
I am a student. Will I be granted a residence permit?
Students are granted permits for the duration of their course, or for one year and subsequent annual renewals
until they have completed their studies.
Please note, if you take up residence in Switzerland for more than three months, it is basically compulsory for you
to take out a health insurance cover with a Swiss health insurance company.
| Swiss bank accounts
What does bank client confidentiality mean?
Bank client confidentiality means that the banks have a duty to keep confidential all facts that involve their
customers. The bank client confidentiality protects the clients’ privacy and is thus comparable to the
discretion exercised by lawyers or doctors.
Can account be opened anonymously in Switzerland?
No, that is not possible. Banks follow so-called 'know-your-customer' rules which require staff to identify the
person opening an account and, where necessary, to establish the identity of the beneficial owner.
But numbered accounts are anonymous, aren't they?
No. Contrary to what one might gather from thrillers and the media, there is no such thing as an anonymous
account in Switzerland. The name of the holder of a numbered account is known, though only to a small group of
people inside the bank. As far as bank customer confidentiality is concerned, there is no difference between
numbered account and any other sort of account.
What is a procedure of opening a Swiss bank account?
It normally takes about two hours to open an account in person. You first make an appointment with us.
The following information required to set up an appointment:
- your country of origin
- how much money you intend to deposit during a first year
- economic origin of the funds you will deposit
Please take the following documents with you to the appointment:
- a valid passport
- copy of your diploma to substantiate your economic background
- copy of your employment contract to substantiate your annual income
- any other documents to substantiate economic origin of your funds
When you arrive in Switzerland, we go with you to the bank to meet with your account manager. You will be fully
reimbursed (less our expenses) in the event that the account cannot be opened at bank's refusal.
Can account be opened by mail?
While under the pressure of the EU, Switzerland hardens its banking laws. Contrary to what one might gather from
the Internet, bankers in Switzerland prefer to get familiar with their clients in person, before to open an account.