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Foreign nationals without gainful employment

Switzerland’s migration policy makes a clear distinction: On the one hand, the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons makes it much easier for EU and EFTA citizens to enter and stay in Switzerland. However, conditions are more restrictive for third-country nationals.

EU-27*/EFTA** nationals

Persons who are not gainfully employed (e.g. retirees and students) may remain in Switzerland if the following conditions are met:

  • They have adequate financial resources to cover the cost of living in Switzerland so as to ensure that they will not become dependent on welfare benefits, and
  • They have a health insurance policy that also includes accident coverage.
  • Students must also show the letter confirming that they have been admitted to a recognised educational institution (confirmation of enrolment).

Stays of up to 90 days within a six-month period do not require authorisation. For longer stays, foreign nationals have to register with the cantonal migration office as a non-employed person. The corresponding EU/EFTA residence permit will remain valid for a period of five years (for students, the permit will remain valid for the duration of education and training or will remain valid for one year and be renewed at one-year intervals). These residence permits will be renewed automatically as long as the abovementioned criteria are still met.

Croatia

Special provisions apply to nationals of Croatia. The provisions are available in the Croatia factsheet:

Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities

Third-country nationals

Citizens of non-EU-27*/EFTA** countries must meet the following criteria:

  • They must apply for a visa with a Swiss diplomatic/consular mission in the country of residence.
  • They have adequate financial resources to cover the cost of living in Switzerland so as to ensure that they will not become dependent on welfare benefits, and
  • They have a health insurance policy that also includes accident coverage.

Students must also submit the following documents with their visa application:

  • Personal study plan with information about the purpose of studies,
  • Confirmation of enrolment with a recognised educational institution,
  • Personal curriculum vitae,
  • Confirmation that they will leave Switzerland at the end of their education and training.

*EU-27 comprises the following countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Rumania, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Cyprus.

**EFTA: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland