Residency permit in Switzerland

In general, foreigners are allowed to stay for 3 months in Switzerland without a residency permit. If foreigners want to extend their stay, they need to apply for a residency permit, which depends on different requirements.

The three main requirements for receiving the residency permit are the length of the stay, the country of residence and the purpose of the stay.

Regarding the country of residence, usually is differentiated between immigrants from EU/EFTA countries and third countries.

Citizens from EU/EFTA

Based on the EU/EFTA contracts citizens have the right on a residency permit, if the statutory requirements are met. For citizens from new EU states, special requirements may exist.

Citizens from third countries

The issuance of a residency permit to a citizen from a third country is based on the Foreigners Act (AuG). Here usually the requirements are stricter.

To receive the residency permit the purpose of the stay is crucial. The following are the existing purposes:

  • Residence for work (employed or self-employed)
  • Residence in order to follow the family (family reunification)
  • Residence as non-working person (e.g. pensioner or privateer)
  • Residence for education (e.g. student)
  • Residence for medical treatment
  • Stay due to special hardship

Is the purpose of the stay not given anymore, usually also the residency permit expires. Also here special arrangements exist.

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