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Social insurance for foreign nationals

Compulsory health insurance

Foreign nationals must take out insurance for themselves and for their families with a Swiss health insurance company no later than three months after arriving or beginning work in Switzerland. Cross-border commuters domiciled in certain EU states have the option of taking out insurance in their country of residence instead of Switzerland.

Accident insurance at the workplace

If you work eight hours or more a week, you are covered against accidents by your employer.

Old-age, Survivors’ and Invalidity Insurance

  • Persons who live or work in Switzerland must be insured by the Old-age and Survivors’ Insurance scheme (AHV) and by the Invalidity Insurance (IV).
  • Employees earning over a certain income must take out insurance with a pension institution (pension fund or vested benefits institution). Self-employed persons may join a pension fund voluntarily.

What you need to do in the event of unemployment

If you are looking for work or lose your job, you must register with the regional unemployment centre (RAV). If you live abroad and work in Switzerland, you will receive your unemployment benefits in your country of residence.

Support for families

  • All women living or working in Switzerland are entitled to maternity leave and maternity benefits.
  • Employees, and since 1.1.2013 also self-employed persons, are entitled to family allowances (child and education allowances and depending on the canton adoption and birth allowances). Non-active persons are also entitled to family allowances under certain circumstances. Nationals of an EU or EFTA country, whose children live in an EU or EFTA country, are entitled to full family allowances.

Pamphlet of the Swiss social insurance system