EU and non-EU permits

Some of this will need to be reviewed:

EU Permits - bullet points:

Q. Can I travel to Switzerland without a visa?
A. Yes

Q. Can I search for a job in Switzerland?
A. Yes. You will be given a 6-month residence permit (three months as a visitor, three months jobseeker’s permit) allowing you to reside here while searching for jobs.

Q. Is access to the job market restricted?
A. No. A work permit will be delivered automatically upon signature of the contract.

Q. Is my permit tied to the employer??
A. No

Q. Does this mean I can change jobs freely?
A. Yes

Q. Can I work as an independent?
A. Yes. See details here.

Q. Is my significant other allowed to come with me?
A. Yes.

Q. Is my significant other allowed to work?
A. Yes, provided the union is official (marriage, civil partnership), and regardless of nationality.

non-EU Permits - bullet points

Legal base: Federal Aliens Law in German ; Federal Aliens Law in French

Gainful employment is any activity carried out as a self-employed or employed person, temporary or permanent, which is usually paid, even if no payment is received :

  • for an employer which is based in Switzerland or abroad, no matter where the salary is paid
  • as an apprentice, trainee, volunteer, sportsperson, social worker, au pair, artist, etc…

First employment : priority for residents

When a first employment is involved, priority will be given to Swiss nationals seeking employment or foreigners residing in Switzerland and who hold resident and work permits.
The employer is required to prove :

  • that it has made every possible effort to find a worker on the Swiss and European local labour market, the latter if the application concerns a non-European national
  • that it has notified the job in question to the Cantonal Employment Office by means of the Vacancy “We are searching” form and that the Office has been unable to find a candidate within a reasonable period
  • that for the post in question it cannot train or have trained within a reasonable period a person available on the labour market

Conditions of employment, employment contract

Permits may only be granted if the employer is offering the foreign national the same salary and employment conditions current locally and in the industry and if the foreign national has adequate sickness insurance.

The employment contract must be enclosed with any application, whatever the period of employment.

Changing a job or place of work

Since the 1st of Jan. 2008 foreign nationals who hold an annual work permit (B Permit) must no longer obtain permission to change job, profession or canton and to change from employment to self-employment. Note this applies only to permits delivered for long-term contracts, not to short-duration or job-specific (i.e. project) permits. Legal base Art. 38 AuG / LEtr

Obtaining a visa - application and first entry into Switzerland

The prospective employer must do the application on behalf of the prospective employee . The vetting process can take up to three months. Once the authorisation to receive a work permit is delivered, foreign nationals must apply with it for the specific entry visa at the Swiss consulate / embassy of their residence . Upon entering Switzerland, the visa must be stamped by the immigration officers at the border. Failure to get a stamp may result in being required to exit and reenter Switzerland to get said stamp.

US citizen EU spouse - Requirements for permits:


Visa Requirement
NO Residence Visa/Permission granted before arrival is required for a NON-EU spouse coming from a visa-exempt country or has access to Schengen Visa and you come entering WITH your spouse of EU citizenship. If you have a residence permit in another EU country you also do not need a Visa to enter WITH spouse.

YOU require a Visa if

  1. You are in risk of overstaying your 90 day Schengen in the 180 day time span. This also means when they check you they count back 180 days from that date. So if you’re spending on and off a lot… you might want to save yourself some big legal trouble and count back. The process takes about 1-3 weeks maximum if you have all your paperwork together
  2. Your spouse is already a resident and you are entering AFTER that
  3. See above… you are in need of a visa from the very beginning.
  4. Your spouse is not EU
  5. You have a marriage certificate from a NON EU country with Apostille or International AND in German (Sometimes I heard they accept from non-EU countries a marriage certificate if it is apostiled ahead of time… but this was very important for them when I called)


  1. Passport photos
  2. Birth Cert.
  3. Marriage Cert.
  4. Criminal Record Cert. or Affidavit… and in addition a once more sworn little paper with your Gemeinde that you are not a criminal
  5. Passport and should ideally match the new name on your marriage certificate.
  6. Be prepared to state when you entered or left EU or for them to scan your passport or have a look on it.
  7. Rental contract of spouse/you
  8. Work contract of spouse
  9. Health insurance proof. They are more relaxed on this as long as you can prove you can supplement yourself until your spouse puts you on their plan or you have a health insurance that can cover you (like travel insurance per say which is what I’m actually on right now until first of month) and show them concrete Swiss based insurance within 3 months – thats your time limit normally for any paper you don’t have on you for EU spouse or EU citizen. But get it in ASAP.

You should*… get a residence permit within 3 weeks… your Gemeinde must first mail papers to kanton… you have an appointment for biometrics… then within ten days after that if all is good permit is with you. We had all our paperwork correct and orderly… made process go so smooth and imagine it could have taken us a lot longer had we not.
Your residence permit should be 5 years … as you should be treated the same as

Work Permits for Foreign Nationals - Swiss official rulings on work permits:

Visas and Documents Required - for non EU India


Hi @OakbrookIL thanks for the post. I have a couple Qs as an EU citizen.

  1. Can EU nationals who have yet to secure a B residence permit get one via unskilled hourly work, for example jobs in bars/cafes, or are B residence permits only granted for salaried/white collar positions?

  2. Do jobseekers have to go to the relevant meldeamt within the first few days of arrival to declare their stay/intentions?

  3. Does the 6-month residence period as a visitor/jobseeker reset if you leave the country?

1 Probably yes, if the income is considered to be sufficient to live here without claiming any social benefits.

2 Yes

3 Yes and no. You cannot just leave for a few days and the come back and apply again. In principle you have to leave if you haven´t found a job after 6 months.

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B permits are not governed by what you will earn. The main criteria is that your employment contract is for more than a year. If it is then you should get a B permit; if it’s a year or less you will get an L permit.

As an EU national you can be here as a tourist for up to 3 months and look for a job without registering. If you haven’t found anything in that period and want to continue looking while in the country then you must register as being a resident. Providing you can prove you have sufficient funds to support yourself you will get an L job seeker permit for 3 months. If you still haven’t found a job in that period and still want to continue looking you can apply to have the L permit extended for another 3 months providing you have sufficient funds. After that you must leave the country if you haven’t found a job.


Dear Fellow Expats:

Hope somebody can help with some advise/guidance for NON-EU Permit related query during a strange situation in life:

I resigned from Old Company(L-Permit) to start a new job(received a B permit for it as well) and but now new company mentioned that they can’t start my onboarding because of some internal issue in that company before even I could start with them.

So now I am un-employed with no other financial support/sources and a family to look after in Swiss.

Immigration office advised to contact Canton AWA office, who now informed me that this permit is linked to that new employer.

However there is no such remark mentioned on the permit(it was mentioned on L-Permit that restriction for the service in the contract) but no such remark on the permit card. Some friends mentioned its an open permit so right now in a dilemma that whether would be able to find a new job with permit or not.

Appreciate if somebody can guide on this post.

for now registered with RAV

Just look for a new job. If the permit doesn’t work, the new employer can get one for you.

I´d rather ask the immigration office to be sure.

Where I live, you don’t automatically get the work permit. You have to take the signed contract to the Gemeinde offices, and they arrange for your permit to be delivered.

But the approval is automatic.

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Hello everyone! I have some doubts regarding C permit for NonEU students.
I know that after finishing your degree in Switzerland, your time with a B Permit for studies can count towards C permit and naturalization if you work at least 2 years with B permit after your degree. But I’ve also seen that a NonEU normally gets first a L permit for the first two years as a worker due to the B permit quotas. Will that quota also affect me if I studied in Switzerland or will I have some sort of advantage because of my degree?

If the quota affects me and I also get an L permit right after my degree, would the L permit make the wait longer for not having B permit right after graduation? If that’s the case how long will I have to wait for me to be able to apply for C permit, taking in to account I’d like to apply with VINTA? 5 years (2 as student + 2L + 1B?, 6 years (2 as student + 2L + 2B)?, 7 years (2 as a student + 2L + 3B), or 9 years (2 as student + 2L + 5B)?

Also, I saw that L permit does not count for naturalization purposes, so if I have the L permit, would that make that my student years not to be counted for citizenship? It seems to me, worst case scenario, I’d have to wait 14 years (2 as a student + 2L + 10 with B or C), am I right with this assumption?

Thanks in advance!

Welcome to the forum. :slightly_smiling_face:

No, the quotas don’t affect you. Graudates fall under different rules so as long as your employment contract is for longer than a year you’d get a B permit. If it’s a year or less then you get an L permit.

Thanks a lot for your answer! It’s great to know about this!

Hello, quick follow up to my original question. You said quotas wouldn’t affect me if getting a job longer than a year after my studies, do you know if this only applies to the same canton where I currently study or will the same outcome happens if I start working at a different canton? Would there be any difference by changing cantons before getting C permit?


It’s federal so applies everywhere.