Entry Conditions

Living in Europe, Working in Europe | Entry conditions/visas | Switzerland

Whether you intend to visit the country as a tourist or if you plan to work in Switzerland (or accompany someone who does, e.g. as a partner or family member), makes a huge difference. Switzerland has a dual system for granting foreign nationals access to the Swiss labour market.

Anyone who works during his/her stay in Switzerland or who remains in Switzerland for longer than three months requires a permit. Residence permits are issued by the Cantonal Migration Offices. A distinction is made between short-term residence permits (less than 1 year), annual residence permits (limited) and permanent residence permits (unlimited).

From 1 June 2016, the same conditions apply to all citizens of member states of the EU-27/EFTA, i.e. citizens of the EU-25/EFTA (EU-17/EFTA plus EU-8). Since 1 January 2017, Croatian nationals benefit from the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons. However, transitory provisions apply.


EU-2 Member States (Bulgaria and Romania)

The Federal Council decided on 10 May 2017 to invoke the safeguard clause provided for in the Agreement between Switzerland and the EU on the free movement of persons, applying it to the EU-2 Member States (Bulgaria and Romania). Since 1 June 2017, category B EU/EFTA residence permits granted to citizens of these countries will be subject to quotas.

This measure applies to citizens from Bulgaria and Romania who possess an employment contract in Switzerland that is valid for more than a year (or unlimited duration) as well as for self-employed persons.

The Federal Council decided on 18 April 2018 to extend by a further year until 31 May 2019 the validity of the safeguard clause for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals. As the threshold set in the AFMP was not reached by 31 May 2018, the safeguard clause for short-term permits (L EU/EFTA) has not been activated.

The transition period for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will end from 1 June 2019 and they will enjoy full freedom of movement from this date.


Information for Citizens of EU/EFTA countries




If you have to clear Swiss customs on entering you should be aware of certain formalities.


Bringing pets and plants

Anyone planning to travel with pets and plants should complete the formalities in advance.


Importing vehicles

No import tax is payable on vehicles which you have owned for more than six months, but a completed clearance request form for moving purposes must be submitted.