Newly Swissed Online Magazine

10 Steps to Settling in Switzerland: Legalizing Yourself (#4)

As a foreign national, you must register with the residents' registration office of the commune where you will be living within 14 days of arrival. If your new home is in a town, you will want to visit your "Gemeinde". Most cities, on the other hand, have a "Personenmeldeamt" desk at each neighborhood's "Kreisbüro".

EU citizens who want to work in Switzerland have the right for a work permit (temporary or unlimited). However, once an EU citizen finds a job, their job contract will be in a pending state until a work permit has been issued.

Types of Visas in Switzerland:
- Kurzaufenthaltsbewilligung (Permit L): This visa is intended for short stays of less than one year. The L permit can only be renewed under special circumstances.
- Aufenthaltsbewilligung (Permit B): The B permit is the equivalent of a green card, as it allows the holder to live and work in Switzerland. It needs to be renewed annually.
- Niederlassungsbewilligung (Permit C): After holding permit B for at least five years, permanent residency in the shape of permit C can be requested. This permit will be valid indefinitely.

Required Documents:
Make sure to bring your passport, working permit and residence address. If you have a rental contract, you need to bring that with you also. If you are staying at someone's home temporarily, the registration office will give you a document which the legal owner or renter of the house needs to sign.

When it comes to registration in Switzerland, there is usually no queuing (unbelievable, but true)! Your case will be handled swiftly and before you know it, you will receive a temporary registration or work permit.

Biometrics Appointment:
If you live in a town, you might be expected to show up in a nearby "Kreisbüro" for biometrics (eg. photograph, fingerprints, signature). Once completed, you can expect your credit-card sized ID to arrive in the mail a couple of weeks later.

You will surely feel like a VIP when you are offered a large envelope containing dozens of documents and guides on making your new life easier! But do not forget that nothing is free in Switzerland (expect reading the Newly Swissed Blog)... So be prepared to pay about CHF 65 for the registration.

My advice: Save the receipt you will get from the Kreisbüro because it will serve as your confirmation of registration and address. For instance, you will need this receipt for opening a bank account! In addition, once you receive your permit, you are legally required to carry it with you at all times and to show it to immigration officers whenever you re-enter Switzerland.

- Official government information on Swiss visas
- Find your local residents' registration office


A travel obsessed, positive thinking day dreamer from Spain who tries to gather as many experiences and memories as possible in Switzerland.


  • *grin*
    Finding this website has made my day :)
    Will be in Switzerland for a year starting this September. Absolutely looking forward to it.

  • Thank you for your comment, Aiko! We will keep on posting the rest of the steps in the following weeks… Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any doubts or if there is a topic you would like us to write about!

  • i am non EUROPIAN i have got married with swiss wife one years ago but i have still not b permit when we call to imgration they all the time to say for waiting

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