In order to enter Switzerland, foreign nationals need a valid and recognized travel document (passport or identity card). In certain cases, a visa is also required: in order to obtain a visa, it is necessary to demonstrate that there is sufficient financial means for subsistence during transit or stay, or that such means can be provided legally.
Visitors who legally enter Switzerland for tourism and not for the purpose of gainful employment or study, do not need a residence permit if their stay does not exceed three months. The stay must not exceed three months in any six-month period. Foreigners requiring a visa are required to observe the length of stay indicated on the visa.
Entry for study, gainful employment (employed or self-employed)
Foreigners who wish to study or seek gainful employment in our country must find a permit.
Finding a job in Switzerland
Citizens of EU/EFTA citizens can travel to Switzerland to find work and stay there for up to three months without a permit. If a job search lasts longer, EU/EFTA citizens receive a short-term EU/EFTA residence permit valid for three months per calendar year (total stay = six months), provided they have sufficient financial means to sustain themselves.
Permits for EU-EFTA nationals
Citizens of European Union (EU) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states require a residence permit. The procedure for obtaining these documents is the responsibility of the cantons.
This is issued to applicants who are nationals of an EU/EFTA country and who wish to establish themselves in Switzerland in order to carry out a gainful activity (employed or self-employed) or to reside there without exercising a gainful activity (study, income, pensioner, etc.). It can also be granted to family members, regardless of their nationality, with the right to a permit within the framework of family reunification.
The B permit is valid for five years, at the expiration of which must be renewed.
To be gainfully employed, you must have an employer's declaration of employment or an employment certificate (e.g. employment contract). Self-employed persons must be able to demonstrate that their activity is being carried out effectively and sustainably.
This may be granted to foreign nationals who have been legally residing in Switzerland for at least ten years, with a B residence permit. It allows the right of unlimited and unconditional residence.
This allows EU/EFTA citizens residing in the territory of an EU/EFTA member state to work in Switzerland or set up their own (independent) company without transferring their residence.
This is reserved for foreign citizens who intend to stay in Ticino for a period of more than three months and less than a year, with or without employment.
Permits for non-EU country nationals (non-EU/EFTA)
For citizens of non-EU countries, the regulations of the Federal Act on residence and establishment of foreigners (ANAG) and its Ordinances, in particular the Ordinance limiting the number of foreigners, is applicable.
Residence permit for non-EU country citizens
In order to apply for a residence permit, non-EU country nationals must prove that they are able to obtain a job in Switzerland. As a rule, the future employer submits the application to the cantonal authorities responsible for migration or the labour market. Entry into Switzerland is only possible after the cantonal authorities have issued a residence permit.
Institutions to contact for information and forwarding of the request
The Federal Office for Migration (FOM) provides detailed information on the current rules for the access of non-EU citizens to the Swiss labour market. The institutions to which the application should be addressed are the cantonal offices of the FOM. Non-EU citizens who wish to immigrate to Switzerland can request information on immigration rules from the Swiss representations in their country.