UK Citizen staying longer than 90 days

Hi all,

A bit confused over here. I’m here working in ZH on a 5y B permit. My partner (not yet wife) holds British and Greek passports. We have always understood that she is only allowed to visit me in Switzerland for 90 in 180 days, which we keep on top of with a spreadsheet as we are sometimes close to the limit.

But a ready these pages, it seems to clearly state the no visa is required even for a stay longer than 90 days?…onal-visa.html

Have we been missing something?

Of course I understand that working here is a different thing.


Even as an EU citizen, your cannot stay in Switzerland for more than 90 days without registering as resident here.


“Residence permit requirement
No permit is required for economically inactive persons (e.g. tourists) wishing to stay in Switzer-
land for less than three months. If the stay is to last longer than three months, then the foreign
national must register as an economically inactive person with the migration office of the canton
in which he/she wishes to stay. A five-year residence permit (B EU/EFTA) will be issued upon
presentation of a valid passport or identity card. This permit is valid for the whole of Switzerland
and is automatically renewed by the authorities as long as the above-mentioned conditions con-
tinue to apply.”

Tourists, no matter what nationality can only be here for a maximum of 90 days; your partner is considered a tourist since she hasn’t registered as being a resident here so yes, the 90 day rule applies.

If she uses her Greek passport when entering Switzerland then once she does register as being a resident under family reunification she won’t need a visa. If, on the other hand, she uses her British passport then she’d need to apply for a Type D visa under family reunification. It’s best that she sticks to the Greek one for things; the British one will only cause more hassle.

As far as I’m aware UK nationals are exempted from the need to get a D visa for Switzerland so from that aspect there would be no issue using the UK passport.

Overall though she would still be better off using the Greek one.

EU and UK citizen do not need a visa. But they will need a residence permit. if they want to stay beyond the 90 days in any 180 day period. EU citizen have a right to get permit if they can afford their stay, UK citizen might be granted a resident permit w/o gainful employment.

As a dual citizen you get the better of both. Example as a Greek/UK dual citizen you can get a work permit B based on the free movement of person agreement between Switzerland and the EU. And after after 5 years of stay you can get a permit C based on the agreement between the UK and Switzerland OR based on the agreement between Greece and Switzerland. (I think the latter is a bit better). More relevant if you are from an EU country w/o an agreement such as Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, etc.

Note you are not here on a specific passport, you are always here as a citizen of all your nationalities.

You’re right. I assumed post-Brexit that UK nationals would need one.

Thanks all - that's all clear and I now understand that visa != permit.

Thanks for the helpful info - I was also not aware of the dual-nationality benefit.

Have a great rest of your weekends!


There is no need for a national Schengen D visa (the site says), because Switzerland uses its own B-permits instead. If you look closely, it says there is no need for visa, but you need to register within 14 days, meaning, applying for a residence (B or whatever) permit. Unlike some other countries, Switzerland does not issue such residence permits for tourism (at least for people of working age).

If your friend uses the UK passport, where entries and exits to Schengen are recorded, the 90-180 day limit it strictly enforced. If she uses the Greek passport to enter the Schengen zone, there are no time limits to stay in the zone, as she can stay in Greece unconditionally (ie she has an indefinite residence permit there so to speak). There are still the 90-180 limits for traveling within the rest of Schengen, but there are no entry-exit records as there is effectively no border checks between Greece and Switzerland.

It she does not like being a tourist here (meaning, among others, not being able to open an ordinary bank account, no 1/2 fare on trains, no health insurance) she has to either find a job and get a work B-permit, apply for a permit 'looking for a job' which is limited to 1 year, or apply for a EU fiancé/concubine B permit, possible if she lives with you but you have to agree to sign to be responsible for up to X chf per month of her debts for 5 years.

Tourists can buy a 1/2 fare card no problem.