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Residence Permit in Switzerland

Residence Permit in Switzerland

Updated on Monday 21st September 2015

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Residence-Permit-in-SwitzerlandWho needs a residence permit in Swizterland?

Persons working or living in Switzerland for more than three months will need to apply for a residence permit with the Cantonal Migration Office. Switzerland is made up of 26 cantons and even if they all abide by the federal law, each canton has specific regulations regarding the issuance of the residence permit, so there is where every person wanting to obtain a Swiss residence permit must ask for details in the first place.

Our lawyers in Switzerland can provide information about the Immigration Law and the steps for obtaining residency.

Types of residence permits in Switzerland

There are three main types of residence permits that can be obtained in Switzerland: short-term residence licenses that are valid for less than a year, annual residence licenses also known as limited residence permits and permanent or unlimited residence permits. However, Swiss residence permits are also categorized as:

  • -       the B permits that are released for a period of five years and can only be obtained if the applicant has an employment contract with one-year validity or can prove that he or she has the means to support him or herself;
  • -       the C permit allows foreigners that have lived here for five interrupted years to permanently settle in Switzerland. Citizens coming from Malta, Cyprus and East European countries are not subject to these provisions, while citizens from non-EU countries must live for ten uninterrupted years in Switzerland before obtaining a residence permit;
  • -       the Ci permit is issued for family members and employees  in international organizations;
  • -       the L permit is an intermediate license for people living in Switzerland for a period of three to twelve months.

Applicant categories for Swiss residence permits

According to the Immigration Law, Swiss residence permits can be granted to EU/EFTA (European Free Trade Association) citizens and citizens from countries outside the EU and EFTA zones. Citizens of EU and EFTA countries are privileged when applying for a residence permits in Switzerland, while citizens of non-EU and non-EFTA countries must provide additional documents, such as an employment contract and proof that the job could not be performed by an EU/EFTA citizen.

Application procedure for obtaining a Swiss residence permit

The application procedure for obtaining a residence permit in Switzerland depends on the canton the applicant wants to reside in. However, all cantons must obtain biometric data from the applicants, as the residence permit is basically an identity card, and the biometric data is represented by two fingerprints and a photograph of the applicant. The applicant must also provide his or her passport for identification when applying for Swiss residency. Also, each canton will have its additional fees covering different processes when issuing a residence permit.

If you want details about the residence permit or want to set up a company and need information about the employment contract you can contact our Swiss law firm.



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