The Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons makes it easy for EU/EFTA nationals to enter and stay in Switzerland. The rules are more restrictive for people from other countries (third countries). The permit you require differs depending on the purpose and duration of your stay.
Nationals of EU-27*/EFTA** countries
* The following countries belong to the EU-27: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
** The following countries belong to the EFTA: Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland
If you need a permit to live in Switzerland, please contact the cantonal migration or employment authorities of your commune of residence.
The requirements you need to meet depend on your nationality and the duration and purpose of your stay. ch.ch gives you more information on its pages Working in Switzerland as a foreigner and Staying in Switzerland without working.
Submit your application to your commune of residence. If you live in the canton of Geneva, please contact the canton.
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Submit your application along with the following documents:
your current permit
a valid identity card or passport (if you are not an EU or EFTA citizen, the ID card or passport must be valid for at least three months after the expiry of the permit)
notice of expiry of the permit if you have received one from the cantonal migration authority.
You can apply to renew your permit no earlier than three months and no later than two weeks before it expires.
Report the loss of your permit to the police; they will issue you with a loss notice.
You can find a police station here.
Then go to the residents' register office in your commune (or to the cantonal migration authority) with your passport, a passport photo and the loss notice. You must pay for the duplicate or new permit. The costs vary.
If a permit reported as lost is subsequently found, you must cancel it at the residents' register office in your place of residence.
If you have obtained a permit to live in Switzerland under family reunification but you divorce the person who gave you the right of residence or this person dies, you must notify the cantonal migration authority.
If you have a residence permit (B permit), you may be permitted to stay subject to certain conditions:
You can apply for a permit in your own name if you are working or have sufficient resources to ensure your financial independence.
You can have your permission to stay extended if
you have been married for at least three years and have lived in the same household with your spouse (Swiss or foreign national),
you are well integrated in Switzerland (respect for law and order, good oral language skills, in work or pursuing education or training), or
you need to stay in Switzerland for important personal reasons (e.g. social reintegration in the country of origin is seriously compromised, domestic violence).
For more information on permission to live in Switzerland, contact your local cantonal migration or employment office.
The State Secretariat for Migration has drawn up a list of frequently asked questions about permits for living in Switzerland.