Thanks to freedom of movement, citizens of EU/EFTA member states can enter, live and work in Switzerland.
Please note that there are temporary restrictions on Croatian nationals taking up employment in Switzerland for more than three months or becoming self-employed in Switzerland. The number of new short-term permits and new residence permits that can be issued to Croatian nationals is capped for 2023 and 2024.
You do not need a residence permit if you work for an employer in Switzerland for up to 3 months, or if you provide a service in Switzerland for a maximum of 90 days per calendar year.
However, your employer must register your paid employment through the notification procedure for short-term work in Switzerland at least one day before employment is due to begin.
Employment longer than 3 months
You must apply for a residence permit from the Swiss commune in which you are living before starting work. You will be have to submit the following documents:
a valid identity card or passport
confirmation of employment from your employer or a certificate of employment (e.g. an employment contract).
The residence permit is valid throughout Switzerland and allows you to change your job or employer. Its period of validity depends on the length of your employment.
You must register your arrival in Switzerland within 14 days and apply for a residence permit from the commune where you are living. You will have to submit the following documents:
a valid identity card or passport
documents proving that you are or will be self-employed and can support yourself and your family (e.g. your accounting records).
Looking for work in Switzerland
You can come to Switzerland and look for work for up to 6 months. For the first 3 months you do not need a permit. After that, you can obtain a short-term EU/EFTA residence permit, which is valid for 3 months per year, provided you have the necessary financial means to support yourself.
For more information see EU/EFTA Citizens: Living and Working in Switzerland on the website of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) or contact the cantonal immigration and employment market authorities.
Since 1 January 2021, UK nationals are no longer citizens of the EU and are therefore subject to the same rules that apply to third-country nationals, including quotas.
If you are a UK national and already had residence rights in Switzerland before 2021, you benefit from special provisions under the agreement between Switzerland and the UK on acquired rights.
Switzerland and the UK have also concluded an agreement on mobility for service providers. Until the end of 2025, service providers from the UK must notify the Swiss authorities of short-term work in Switzerland of up to 90 days via the online notification procedure.
You can find further information on the United Kingdom web page of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) under the title ‹Non-EU/EFTA nationals›.
Who can work in Switzerland?
Only qualified non-EU/EFTA nationals, for example managers, specialists or university graduates with several years of professional experience, may work in Switzerland.
Non-EU/EFTA nationals require a work permit, even for short-term employment. The number of permits issued is limited.
A work permit may also be issued for self-employment. Spouses of Swiss nationals or of persons with a settlement permit do not require a work permit.
Your future employer must demonstrate that your employment is in the economic interests of Switzerland and that they are unable to recruit the necessary personnel in Switzerland or from an EU/EFTA member state.
Your employer must provide you with the same working conditions and remuneration as for Swiss nationals.
How do I obtain a permit?
It is up to your future employer to take the necessary steps to obtain a work permit from the cantonal immigration and employment market authorities. However, if you are self-employed it is up to you to take the necessary steps.
Further information on the procedure for non-EU/EFTA nationals is available on the website of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).
A work permit alone does not necessarily entitle you to enter Switzerland. Depending on your nationality, you may also require a visa. To find out if this applies to you and how to obtain a visa, see the visa page for foreigners.
On arrival in Switzerland, you must register with the communal authorities in the place where you are living within 14 days. You cannot start work before then.
Working in Switzerland brings you into the Swiss social insurance system. Not all contributions are deducted from your salary.
Health insurance is compulsory but private. You must take out health insurance for you and your family no later than 3 months after arriving or beginning work in Switzerland. For more information, see the web page on taking out health insurance.
You only need to worry about private accident insurance if you work less than eight hours a week. Above this threshold, your employer is obliged to insure you, and the contribution is deducted from your salary.
State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) website: EU/EFTA Citizens: Living and Working in Switzerland
Information on the procedure for working in Switzerland for non-EU/EFTA nationals
Information on working in Switzerland if you are from the United Kingdom
Addresses of the cantonal immigration and employment market authorities.
For more about the Swiss social insurance system