This page provides information about residence and working permits for EU/EFTA nationals who want to work and live in Switzerland.
Who can stay in Switzerland?
- The basic role is: To stay in Switzerland, you need a job.
EU/EFTA nationals have the subjective right to reside and work in Switzerland due to the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons. A Work and Residence permit is issued if an employment contract or a written confirmation of employment has been submitted. This means that as soon as you have found a job, you will get a Work and Residence permit.
Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia citizens are still subject to transitional restrictions regarding access to the labour market.
What are the conditions?
EU/EFTA: The Work and Residence permit is valid throughout Switzerland, it is not bound to a canton, nor to an employer or any particular activity. No permission is needed to change jobs, there is only an obligation to register with the communal authorities when moving to a new address. The validity of these permits is determined by the duration of the employment contract.
Romania and Bulgaria: Until 31.12.2016, work permits are subject to:
Economic needs (a permit is only granted if no equivalent person is allready available on the Swiss labour market)
Control of wage and working conditions (a permit is only granted if local wage levels and working conditions are respected)
Frontier workers must live and work within the so called frontier zone on both sides of the Swiss border.
Except for the frontier zone, these restriction only apply to first time admissions. Once admitted to the labour market, Romania or Bulgaria nationals can also benefit from full professional and geographical mobility. Apart from the specific restrictions above, Romania or Bulgaria nationals have the same rights and obligations as all other EU/EFTA nationals.
- Croatia: because of the popular initiative "against mass immigration", the entry of citizens from Croatia is regulated by the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals (LEtr; RS 142.20). However, in 2014 special quota has been introduced.
I have a Swiss university degree...
To find employment, foreign nationals who have earned a Swiss university-level diploma (i.e. a bachelor or a master degree or a PhD) will be entitled to stay in Switzerland for six more months from the time of completing their education or postgraduate studies. This six-month-period applies for EU/EFTA as well as for third country nationals.
The request must be made by the degree-holder to the commune of residence. (It is not delivered automatically or tacitly.) The degree-holder must be able to show that
- he/s he has successfully passed the final exams and
- he/she has sufficient revenue (either at least CHF 2,100 per month, or a total of CHF 12,600) and somewhere to live.
- Validity: The six-month period runs from the date at which success has been notified, even if the request is submitted afterwards or if you complete your studies before your student permit expires. (In other words, if you submit your request two months after having been informed of your successful completion, you will only have four months on your permit.) This type of residence permit is not renewable. This means that you will need to leave the country when it expires (unless you have a legitimate reason to stay in Switzerland).
Can I start a business in Switzerland?
If you have studied (at the bachelor, master or PhD level) in Switzerland, you can be entitled to stay in Switzerland for six more months starting from the time of completing their education or postgraduate studies. This six-month-period applies for EU/EFTA as well as for third country nationals. The request must be made by the degree-holder to the commune of residence. (It is not delivered automatically or tacitly.) The degree-holder must be able to show that he/she has_
- successfully passed the final exams and
- a place to live
- sufficient revenue (either at least CHF 2,100 per month, or a total of CHF 12,600)
The six-month period runs from the date at which success has been notified and it is not renewable.
Overview over the Work and Residence permits
- Employment of less than 3 months per calendar year: No permit is required. The employer can simply announce the presence of the new employee using the online procedure of the Federal Office for Migration (currently only available in German, French and Italian).
- Employment contracts between 3 months and 364 days: A short term permit L EC/EFTA will be issued for the duration of the contract. Upon presentation of a new contract it can be prolonged to a maximum duration of 364 days or renewed.
- Employment contracts of one year or more (including open ended contracts): A residence permit B EC/EFTA is issued with an initial validity of 5 years.
- Frontier workers: Workers living in the EU/EFTA and employed in Switzerland can recieve a G EU/EFTA frontier worker permit provided that they return home at least once a week.
- Settlement permit (C-EC): The settlement permit is not regulated by the Agreement. It is currently granted to EU and EFTA nationals after 5 years’ of residence in Switzerland, on the basis of settlement agreements or considerations of mutuality. As currently no such agreements exist for the new EU member states, their citizens recieve the C permit after the regular residence period of 10 years. It has to be renewed every 5 years. It is not subject to restrictions with regard to the labour market, and its holders are practically placed on the same level as Swiss nationals (holders can invoke the freedom of trade and industry), with the exception of the right to vote and elect.
- List of the various residence permits (L, B, C, G) for nationals of EU and EFTA member states.
You can find all official documents and detailed information on entry and stay, working permits, rights and obbigations, as weel as the agreements between EU and Swiss and Federal Act on Foreign Nationals, etc., published by the Swiss Federal Office for Migration and by the Federal Council (on the portal of the Swiss gouvernament).