Work Permits

Work Permits

Which permits are necessary in order for EU/EFTA citizens to work and stay in Switzerland?

Citizens of the EU-17, the EU-8 and the EFTA-3 States

Employees from the above three categories benefit from agreements on the free movement of persons. Admission to Switzerland without a work permit is allowed for a period of three months and it is permitted to take up employment for this period. There is a requirement to register with the responsible authorities. If the employment extends longer than three months, an application for a residential permit must be made through the cantonal migration authorities where you reside.
Short-term Residence Permit
(Permit L EU/EFTA): The short-term permit is for a limited period of employment up to twelve months, according to the duration of the employment contract, and is valid until the contract expires. Job seek-ers from the EU/EFTA can be granted an L EU/EFTA permit after three months. A change of domicile is allowed.
Residence Permit
(Permit B EU/EFTA): This permit is issued to persons holding a written confirmation of employment or a guaranteed contract of employment for twelve months or of unlimited duration. The permit is valid for five years and can be extended for a further five years.
Settlement Permit
(Permit C EU/EFTA): Citizens of the EU-15 and the EFTA countries are granted a settlement permit after a continual and uninterrupted stay of five years in Switzerland. Citizens of the other EU countries can normally apply for the settlement permit after ten years continual and uninterrupted stay in Switzerland. The appropriate cantonal authorities are responsible for processing and issuing of the settlement permits.
Cross Border Commuters from EU-17/EU-8 and EFTA Countries
Cross border commuters from the above countries are granted professional and geographical mobility within all of Switzerland’s border zones providing they retain their place of residence in one of these countries. Cross border commuters can choose to become a weekly resident in Switzerland provided the place of residence abroad is returned to once a week but they must register with the local authorities where they are staying. For an employment period of under three months it is not necessary to obtain a permit but there is a requirement to register with the responsible authorities through an online registration procedure. A period of employment longer than three months is subject to the regulations for cross border commuters (permit G EU/EFTA) and an application for a permit must be made with the Migration Office of the cantonal authorities of the place of work. A valid identity card or valid passport must accompany the application.
Cross Border Commuters from Bulgaria and Romania
Citizens of Bulgarian and Romania, who live in a country adjacent to Switzerland and work in a bordering area, can apply for a cross border commuter permit type G EU/EFTA. The permit granted is valid solely for the border areas of Switzerland. The following regulations apply for cross border commuters:

  • priority clause for the domestic workforce
  • vetting of pay and employment conditions
  • observance of quotas for both residence and short-term permits

These restrictions will remain in force until 2016.

Service Providers from Bulgaria and Romania
Bulgarian and Romanian citizens have the right to act as temporary service providers without obtaining a permit providing  their stay lasts for no more than 90 days (three months) per calendar year per per-son and per company providing staff to Switzerland. However, there is an obligation to register, which can generally be done online.