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Working in Switzerland as a citizen of an EU/EFTA member state

Citizens from EU-27* states enjoy full freedom of movement. This means that citizens of those countries are free to travel to Switzerland, and to live and work here. Since 1 January 2017, Croatian nationals have also benefited from the freedom of movement; however they are still subject to transitional provisions (see the section on Croatia below).

Short-term employment up to three months

You do not require authorisation for short-term employmentof up to three months or 90 days per calendar year. Your Swiss employer is nonetheless required to register your employment using the electronic notification procedure. The notification must be made no later than the day before you start work.

Registration procedure for short-term work in Switzerland

Employment longer than three months

For employment lasting longer than three months, a residence permit is required. Register with the communal authorities in the place you reside before taking up work. You will be required to present a:

  • valid ID card or passport

For non self-employed you will also need a:

  • statement of engagement from the employer or a certificate of employment (e.g. an employment contract)

For self-employed you will also need a:

  • accounting records, in order to prove that you are effectively self-employed and that you can earn a decent living.

If you apply for welfare benefits, you will lose your right to remain in Switzerland. For more information about residing in Switzerland and working in a self-employed capacity, contact the cantonal migration authority or check the web page of the State Secretariat for Migration, www.sem.admin.ch > Entry & Residence > Living and Working in Switzerland.

Registering with the communal authorities

Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities

Looking for work in Switzerland

EU/EFTA nationals may enter Switzerland to look for work. They may stay in the country for up to three months without a permit. If the job search takes longer than three months, EU/EFTA nationals may apply for a temporary residence permit valid for three months within any calendar year (total stay = six months), provided they have the financial means to pay their living expenses.

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

**EFTA: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland

Special rules applying to Croatian nationals

Croatian nationals interested in working in Switzerland are subject to transitional provisions. For the time being, they may only work in Switzerland subject to the following restrictions:

  • Priority given to Swiss nationals (preference given to Swiss and foreign nationals who are already on the Swiss labour market)
  • Salary and working conditions
  • Separate, annual, gradually rising quantitative limits for temporary residence permits and residence permits.