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Divorce or death: right of foreign spouses and children to stay in Switzerland

Are you a foreign national and have you been granted a residence permit under the family reunification programme? In certain circumstances, divorced, estranged or widowed spouses and their children can stay in Switzerland following divorce or the death of their spouse/parent.

You have a residence permit (permit B)

EU/EFTA citizens

If you are from an EU/EFTA state you can apply for your own residence permit if your marriage ends (either through divorce, death or annulment) provided:

  • you are employed or
  • you have sufficient financial means to meet your living requirements in Switzerland.

Persons from non-EU/EFTA states

A divorced spouse’s or a child’s existing residence permit may be extended provided:

  • the marriage lasted at least three years in Switzerland and the spouse / family lived together; and
  • the persons concerned are successfully integrated in Switzerland (unblemished reputation, respect for Swiss constitutional values, knowledge of the language spoken at their place of residence, willingness to work or to train for a job) or
  • important personal circumstances make it necessary to continue living in Switzerland (e.g. persecution in their home country).

You have a settlement permit (permit C)

The dissolution of the marriage or the death of the spouse does not affect the right to settle in Switzerland.