Moving to Switzerland from the UK
European Union citizens and citizens from countries that are part of the European Free Trade Association can live in Switzerland for up to 3 months without needing a visa, UK citizens can also visit Switzerland for up to 90 days without needing to obtain a visa.
However, whether you’re moving from the UK or any other non-EU country, you’ll need a Swiss Visa and residence permit if you plan on living in Switzerland on a long term basis. There are a variety of residence permits that are tailored to differed needs.
The L Permit is for those moving to Switzerland for the purpose of working in a specific job or company. The L Permit is a temporary permit that is issued for 1 year and can be extended up to a maximum of 24 months.
The B permit is also a temporary permit and can be issued to those who plan to study or work in Switzerland. To be eligible you need to have either an employment contract valid for a year or be enrolled in a course of study. For EU/EFTA nationals the B permit is issued for 5 years, however for non-EU/EFTA nationals the permit is just issued for 1 year.
The Swiss C Residence Permit is a permanent residence permit that allows you to live and work in Switzerland indefinitely. To be eligible non-EU/EFTA immigrants, including UK nationals, must have a continuous residence of at least 10 years in Switzerland.
Tax in Switzerland
As a non-resident of Switzerland, you will be subject only to Swiss withholding tax on certain income originating in Switzerland, such as dividends from Swiss companies and certain interest income from Swiss sources. Other forms of income such as rental income from property situated in Switzerland or business profits arising from business activities conducted in Switzerland may be subject to taxation depending on the extent of your involvement with such activities and whether they are carried out through a Swiss entity.
Income tax is levied at the cantonal level, and there are 26 different cantons in Switzerland with their own tax rules. For example, income tax can range from 0% to almost 30%, depending on where you live. On top of this, VAT is charged at 8%, with some exceptions (food and children’s clothes).
The Swiss healthcare system
The Swiss health care system is famous for being one of the best in the world. It is also famous for being expensive! The cost is primarily met by compulsory health insurance.
If you will be living or working in Switzerland for more than 3 months then you are required to take out health insurance with a Swiss health insurance company. This can be taken out with private insurance companies or under the state-run option (Grundversicherung’).
It’s worth noting that having your healthcare covered by your employer does not count as health insurance – you must still either pay into a private policy or take out state-run cover.
Switzerland Business Visa
A business visa to Switzerland is mandatory for citizens of the United Kingdom who wish to visit Switzerland for business purposes. If you’re British national planning to travel to Switzerland for any business-related reason, you’ll need to apply for a business visa.
- Your passport and copies of your previous visas – valid for at least three months beyond the return date – are required.
- Your passport must have at least two blank pages
- You must provide one passport-size photograph.
- Proof of status in the UK (e.g., residence permit, student ID, etc.) if you’re not a British citizen.
- Travel insurance is required for the duration of your stay in Switzerland.
- A cover letter stating the purpose of your trip, travel dates, and places to be visited, including contact details while in Switzerland.
- An invitation letter from your business partner in Switzerland on the company’s letterhead, with signature and company stamp, containing info about your trip and duration of stay.
Switzerland Study Visa
A study visa is required if you’re a citizen of the United Kingdom and planning to enter Switzerland for learning or training. It is an official document that permits you to study or train in Switzerland for the specified period on your visa.
- Passport of your country
- Acceptance letter from the university where you will be studying
- Academic performance documents (transcripts, diplomas, etc.)
- Proof that you can afford to study and live in Switzerland
- Valid Health Insurance
Switzerland Medical Visa
To obtain a medical visa, you have to submit certain documents to the Swiss embassy or consulate in your country of residence. You must also schedule an appointment with a representative of the Swiss embassy or consulate to apply for this visa. Other requirements include:
- Duly filled application form with two recent photographs
- Covering letter for stating the purpose of visit
- Confirmed return air ticket
- Original medical papers including doctor recommendations, case papers, X-ray reports, etc
- Bank statements for the last three months
Switzerland Work Visa
All UK citizens must apply for a work visa to take up employment in Switzerland. The following list contains all documents required when applying for this type of visa:
- A valid passport
- A copy of your passport information page(s)
- Two completed application forms
- Two recent photos on a light background, with your face visible and the photo free of shadows
- Trade federal certificate for workers and employees (EFZ) or any other professional qualification recognized by Switzerland
- Employment contract with an employer in Switzerland (a job offer is not enough)
- Bachelor’s degree obtained at a Swiss higher education institution or a foreign university recognized by the Swiss authorities.
Switzerland Spouse Visa
The Switzerland spouse visa is an official document issued by the Switzerland embassy that authorizes you to legally enter and stay in the country with your Swiss partner for a specified period. If you are applying for a spouse visa, your relationship will be the central focus of your application.
- Completed Visa Application Form
- Valid Passport
- Birth certificate
- Marriage Certificate
- You must have lived with your partner abroad for at least two years before applying
- Your relationship must be recognized as marriage or partnership in either the home country or Switzerland
How to get Switzerland citizenship
You need to be a permanent resident of Switzerland to apply for citizenship. You can’t apply until you have been living in the country for five years, but you also need to be living there for at least four of those years. If you’ve had your Swiss residence permit for more than five years, likely, you’re already eligible to apply.
The five-year residency requirement is waived only if you qualify as a dependent of someone who’s already got a Swiss passport and is applying for a family or humanitarian visa or if you have a permanent abode in Switzerland and are applying for work or student status.
There are some other exceptions, but they’re rare. They include being married to or having an existing relationship with a Swiss national, being employed by the federal authorities, being the parent of a Swiss citizen who’s subject to international protection, and being employed by the federal authorities.
Takeaway: The Swiss government makes it easy to emigrate to Switzerland from the UK, and with the correct information, it becomes even easier.
Last modified on January 18th, 2023 at 11:48 am
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It is an exciting experience to emigrate to Switzerland from the UK, but if you’re planning to settle in the long term, you’ll likely want to learn at least some local language.
It’s important to remember that many people in Switzerland speak English as their first language, and even those who don’t will usually be fluent. This means that you can get by without learning Swiss, German, or French – but it doesn’t mean that you should. Learning the language will also open up job opportunities if you haven’t already secured employment before moving.
You have one year to change your UK licence to a Swiss one. The process is relatively simple, and you will need to go to the Licence Office of your canton (Swiss state/province) with your passport, residency permit, and driving licence.
When you emigrate to Switzerland from the UK, you will be allowed to bring your car into Switzerland if you have owned it for at least six months and intend to keep it for another year. You must also be able to prove that you are resident in Switzerland.