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Work Permit in Switzerland

Work Permit in Switzerland

Updated on Monday 21st September 2015

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Work-Permit-in-SwitzerlandThe Swiss employment system

Foreign individuals wanting to work in Switzerland are subject to certain procedures depending on their nationalities. Citizens from EU and EFTA (European Free Trade Association) countries are allowed to come to Switzerland and search for work during three months. This period may be extended to six months.

Citizens from other countries may only come and work in the country based on a work contract with a Swiss company. They must also have the appropriate work permit before coming to work in Switzerland. All Swiss work visas are issued by the cantonal authorities.

Work visas in Switzerland

There are four types of work and residence permits one can obtain in order to work and live in Switzerland:

  • - the short-term employment visa (L Permit) that allows a foreign citizen to live in Switzerland for up to one year; the L Permit may be extended only if the foreign citizen if he or she works with another Swiss company than the one before;
  • - the initial or temporary work permit (B Permit) has one-year validity and may be extended on annual basis; the B Permit allows a foreign citizen to work and live in the canton it was issued only;
  • - the settlement permit (C Permit) is granted to those living and working in Switzerland for 10 uninterrupted years.
  • - the cross-border commuter permit (G Permit) for those living in a border zone and work in Switzerland; holders of G permits must return to their home country once a week.

EU/EFTA citizens may first enter Switzerland and then apply for a work permit, while non-EU/EFTA citizens must first apply for the work visa.

Applying for a work permit in Switzerland

As mentioned above, a foreign citizen must apply for Swiss work visa with the cantonal authorities. Among the documents they must submit are:

  • - a copy after the passport,
  • - copies after job ads,
  • - a CV,
  • - evidence that supports the idea of searching for employment,
  • - copies after diplomas or certifications of qualification; these copies must be duly translated into German, Italian, French or English;
  • - details about the graduation diploma.

Considering each canton has its own regulations, foreign citizens may be required to submit other documents also.

During the approval period, a foreign citizen must also contact the Swiss embassy within his or her resident country and apply for a visa to come to Switzerland. Once the work and residence permit is approved, the Federal Office for Migration, the Swiss company and the cantonal authorities will inform the embassy. The Swiss embassy will then issue the visa.

For complete details about required qualifications and other conditions to obtain a work permit please contact our Swiss attorneys.



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