Good to know!

The following documents must be presented in order to register at your municipality of residence: Identity card, family record document (for married persons), birth certificate, identity cards of minor children, two photos for the permit application, rental contract, a copy of your employment contract and proof of health insurance (can be submitted later).

Work and residence permit

The conditions for obtaining a work permit depend on your country of origin.

EU/EFTA citizens benefit from the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, which enables them to enter Switzerland and change their employer or place of residence. Employment can only begin once the application has been deposited with the municipality of residence. Persons from EU/EFTA countries with a residence or settlement permit can pursue gainful employment throughout Switzerland.

Third-country nationals are only granted a work and residence permit if they are highly specialised and meet an economic need. All foreign nationals must have a residence and work permit before starting work. You can apply for this at the residents’ registration office (Einwohnerkontrolle) of your municipality.

State Secretariat for Migration SEM /

Overview over different residence permits

To live or work in Switzerland for more than three months, a permit is required. There are short-stay permits (L permit, up to one year), residence permits (B permit, limited stay), settlement permits (C permit, unlimited stay) and cross-border commuter permits (G permit). These permits must be applied for at the residents’ registration office (Einwohnerkontrolle) of the municipality in which you live, within 14 days of entering the country and before starting work. In most cases, the residents’ registration office is located at the municipal administration building (for example the town hall).

L permit (short stay)

This permit is for persons living in Switzerland for a limited period of time (usually one year) for a specific purpose. Most citizens of EU/EFTA countries with proof of employment of three months to one year (with an employment contract) are entitled to this permit.

B permit (residence)

This permit is for persons staying in Switzerland for a longer period of time. Most citizens of EU/EFTA countries are entitled to the B permit if they can prove that they will be working in Switzerland for more than one year (with an employment contract). The permit is issued to EU/EFTA citizens for five years. For persons from other countries, the validity period is one year, with the possibility of extension.

C permit (settlement)

This permit is issued to persons after 5 or 10 years of residence in Switzerland. The settlement permit is not tied to any conditions.

Bureau of Population and Migration /
Overview residence permits /