Official issues

Official issues

When you first move with your family to Switzerland from abroad, there are several things you need to do before looking for a job, and, once that is done, looking for a house. Every expat has to go through the following administrative issues before settling into their new lives in the alpine nation.

Types of visa for Switzerland

If you need to visit Switzerland for work or for a holiday, you may need to apply for a visa. Visas are required to visit Switzerland from a selection of non-European countries. Although many nations have signed visa agreements with Switzerland, there are still some that require a visa for visiting, doing business or studying. Find out whether you need to apply for one by seeing our guide to visas for Switzerland.


One of the first things you need to do before settling into the Swiss lifestyle and daily life is to go through registration. This is to make sure that your local council (Gemeinde) knows that you are living in their area and can charge the appropriate amount of tax in your tax return. This is also the first step in applying for a residence permit.

Swiss residence permit

In order to live in Switzerland permanently, beyond the 90 days allowed by a visa, you will need to apply for a Swiss residence permit. Every member of your household needs to apply for a permit, including children. This will allow you to live in Switzerland for a longer period of time, as well as start renting permanent accommodation. More advanced permits, such as settlement permits will also allow you to buy a house.

Swiss banking

One of the things that Switzerland is known for is the proficiency and reputation of its banking system. Swiss banks deliver a high level of service and efficiency for all banking clients. If you plan to make Switzerland your home for the future or wish to store your capital in a competitive investment, you will need a Swiss bank account.

Retirement & Pensions in Switzerland

The official age of retirement in Switzerland is 65 years old for men and 64 for women. Up until that age, the Swiss system requires you to invest regular amounts of your salary into a first, second or third pillar pension fund. To find out how to maximise your retirement funds, as well as private pension plans, you can check out the guide to retirement and pensions in Switzerland.

Social security number

In order to access social security in Switzerland, every resident is given a social security number (AHV). This number is given automatically by your health insurance and is used as a reference number for a large range of services provided by the government, including pensions and support services like unemployment benefits.

Swiss citizenship

Once you have obtained a long-term residence permit, you can consider applying for Swiss citizenship. The process of naturalisation and integration to be accepted as a citizen is highly stringent, including naturalisation tests, language certifications, and an acceptance process determined by your local Gemeinde. If you have been accepted as a citizen, you will be able to access all the benefits of citizenship.

Swiss passports

If you have passed the citizenship test and have been confirmed as a full citizen, you will be given access to a Swiss passport. This passport is often ranked as one of the best in the world, allowing for free, or visa-free access to over a hundred countries across the world. If you are applying for a passport for the first time or are renewing your old passport, it is important that you know what the key steps are to receiving one.

Financial advisors

When you come to a new country, expats tend to face a long and intricate process of moving financial assets from your old country of residence to your new home. With the Swiss system of taxation requiring you declare all forms of income through your tax return, alongside a labyrinth of tax deductions; To expats with multiple income sources, this can be overwhelming. In order to simplify your accounts, Switzerland has a network of English-speaking tax advisors, to help you with your finances.

Lawyers and legal services

If you have a legal issue that needs resolving, from a workplace conflict to divorce or separation, there are a large array of lawyers who will be able to resolve your case. If you need advice on residency permits, visa, taxation, or any other bureaucratic process, our selection of expat-friendly lawyers are available to assist you.

Relocation services

If you need to change addresses in Switzerland, be it to move into a larger house or closer to a school, you can use our selection of qualified relocation agents. If you are moving to Switzerland for the first time or are moving to a new county (canton), relocation services will be available to make the transition easier. Many international companies give expats these services as part of a work contract, as they are a stress-free way to deal with all the official issues listed above.

Read also

  • Lawyers & Legal services in Switzerland

    Lawyers & Legal services in Switzerland

    Looking for legal advice or services in English? Here is a list of expat-friendly Swiss and international law firms, lawyers and advisors in Switzrland.
    read more
  • Relocation services & companies in Switzerland

    Relocation services & companies in Switzerland

    Are you or your international employees relocating to Switzerland? You’ll need an expat-friendly company or service to assist you with your move!
    read more
  • Residence permit in Switzerland

    Residence permit in Switzerland

    Information for expats on applying for a residence permit in Switzerland (Ausländerausweis), the types of residence permit and the application procedure.
    read more
  • Information & Types of visa for Switzerland

    Information & Types of visa for Switzerland

    Coming to Switzerland for a holiday, short-stay or to study? Here's information about visas including types of visa, the application procedure and more.
    read more
  • Registration in Switzerland

    Registration in Switzerland

    How to get registered at your local Swiss council, including the documents you need for the registration process as an expat in Switzerland.
    read more
  • Banking in Switzerland

    Banking in Switzerland

    Info on banking in Switzerland, including how to open a Swiss bank account, Internet banking, loans, credit cards, ZEK Swiss credit score, TWINT and more.
    read more
  • Swiss citizenship

    Swiss citizenship

    Info for expats applying for Swiss citizenship: requirements, exceptions, cost, conditions for dual citizenship and application procedure in Switzerland.
    read more
  • Integration & Certification in Switzerland

    Integration & Certification in Switzerland

    Info and links for expats in Switzerland about language certification and integration, Swiss naturalisation tests and national service in Switzerland.
    read more
  • The Swiss passport

    The Swiss passport

    Info about the Swiss passport: how to apply, application procedure costs, applying from abroad and advice if your passport is lost or stolen in Switzerland.
    read more
  • Retirement & Pensions in Switzerland

    Retirement & Pensions in Switzerland

    Learn about the Swiss OASI pension system, the retirement age in Switzerland and the pillars that determine the pension expats receive when they retire.
    read more
  • Social security number (AHV)

    Social security number (AHV)

    Info on the Swiss social security number AHV (Alters- und Hinterlassenenversicherung): how to get and/or replace the social security number in Switzerland.
    read more
  • Social security in Switzerland

    Social security in Switzerland

    The social security system in Switzerland: disability insurance, unemployment benefits, family allowance, welfare, accident / occupational diseases insuranc...
    read more
  • Health insurance in Switzerland

    Health insurance in Switzerland

    An overview of health insurance in Switzerland: key facts, basic & supplemental health insurance, student health insurance and health insurance providers.
    read more
  • The Swiss healthcare system

    The Swiss healthcare system

    An overview of the Swiss healthcare system with info and links on doctors / GPs, hospitals, dental care, pharmacies, medicine, psychologists and therapists.
    read more
  • Taxation in Switzerland

    Taxation in Switzerland

    All expats in Switzerland need to know about taxation, the Swiss tax system, the annual tax return and asking tax advisors for help with Swiss taxes.
    read more
  • Driving in Switzerland

    Driving in Switzerland

    A guide to driving in Switzerland: driver’s licence, registering a car, taxes, insurance and inspections, learning to drive and importing & exporting cars.
    read more