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Family reunification for third-country nationals living in Switzerland

You are holding a settlement permit (permit C)

Third-country nationals holding a settlement permit (permit C) may bring, under the condition that they live together, the following family members to Switzerland under the family reunification programme:

  • Spouse, registered partnership,
  • Children under the age of 18.

Upon arrival in Switzerland, family members must present the following documents:

  • proof of language competence (to at least oral level A1) in the national language spoken in the future place of residence. Proof of registration for a language course also meets this requirement.
  • Valid ID card or passport,
  • Visa if applicable,
  • Certificate issued by the authorities in the country of origin proving that the person is related to you,
  • Anyone who will be dependent upon you must present a letter issued by the authorities of the country of origin confirming that you will pay their living expenses.

Spouse and children between 12 and 18 will receive a residence permit (permit B). This permit will have the same period of validity as your own settlement permit. Family members may take up employment but must register with the cantonal immigration and labour market authorities. If they live five years in Switzerland without interruption, they will be granted a settlement permit (permit C). Children under 12 will directly receive a settlement permit (permit C).

You are holding a residence permit (permit B)

The cantonal authorities may approve your application for family reunification, provided you meet the conditions of the Foreign Nationals Act (Art. 44).

Please contact your cantonal migration authority for more information.

For asylum seekers and recognised refugees

For the entire duration of the asylum procedure, asylum seekers may not bring family members to Switzerland under the family reunification programme.

Recognised refugees (holding a B or C permit), however, may bring family members if there are no grounds to prevent them from doing so.

Recognised refugees who hold an F permit (temporarily admitted persons) must wait at least three years after the decision granting them temporary admission status before submitting an application for family reunification for the children under 18 and their spouse. The same requirements as for permit B holders apply (living together, apartment must be large enough, adequate financial resources).

Applying for family reunification

Registering with the cantonal immigration and labour market authorities