Registration in Switzerland – Complete Guide

In this article, you will find everything about the process of registration in Switzerland.

Excited? I bet you are because that’s how I felt on my first day in Switzerland.

But before emerging into this beautiful country you must register in Switzerland. I know you don’t like bureaucratic stuff, most expats don’t but this is a mandatory step if you want to live and work in Switzerland.

Important things to know before you register in Switzerland

You must register at your local municipality within 14 days of entering Switzerland.

If your registration is approved you will receive a residence permit giving you the right to work and live in Switzerland.

You must register in person (it can not be done online).

Let’s get more in-depth to find out how long it takes till you receive the documents.

Registration in Switzerland

What do you need to register in Switzerland?

The first step is to have the documents that you will need in order to register.

This is what you will need when you register in Switzerland:

  • A valid official identification document for each family member moving to Switzerland.
  • Documents regarding your family status (family register, marriage certificate, etc.).
  • Your contract of employment or registration certificate in the case of university students.
  • A copy of a current Swiss rental agreement.

The next step is to go to your local municipality (‘commune’ in French / ‘Gemeinde’ in German).

We recommend visiting the municipality early in the morning so you will have enough time and usually, there are fewer people present at this time of the day. 

You do not need an appointment at your local commune to register.

registration in Switzerland Bern Municipality Opening Hours
registration in Switzerland Bern Municipality Opening Hours

Tip: Check the opening hours on Google before you go (you don’t want to go there just to find out it is closed)

In a smaller city, you should not assume that the officials will be able to speak to you in English. You might need someone that know one of the official language (German, French, Italian).

How long does it take to register in Switzerland?

The registration can take from one hour to two hours. In most Swiss cantons, you must register in person.

If all your documents are in order and your registration is successful, you will receive a registration confirmation.

You will receive at your post office an invitation to the local municipality for a biometric appointment (photograph, fingerprints) and fee payment.

You will pay between 90CHF and 200 CHF depending on the canton you choose to live in.

After that, you will receive your permit and you will be officially legal living in Switzerland 🙂

The total process from the moment you apply and receive the permit takes between 3 and 5 weeks.

Can I move to Switzerland without a job?

As an EU citizen, you can stay in Switzerland for up to 90 days without a job.

If you come to Switzerland to look for work but haven’t found a job after three months, the canton can grant you a short-term residence permit for a further three months.

Non-EU / EEA and EFTA citizens, unfortunately, cannot come to live in Switzerland without a work contract, unless reuniting with a family member who has Swiss citizenship.

Can a foreigner move to Switzerland?

Yes. Everyone has to apply for a residence permit if they want to move to Switzerland, even EU/EFTA nationals.

Note that non-EU/EFTA citizens need to begin their immigration process 2 – 3 months before their target move date, as it normally also includes a visa application process.

Good to know: You have 3 months to choose a Health Insurance provider from the moment you entered Switzerland. Basic health insurance is mandatory for anyone residing in Switzerland. It covers the most important fundamental medical benefits such as doctor’s appointments, medicines, emergencies, and in-patient hospital stays in a general ward in the canton of residence. If you don’t have one after 3 months you will be fined.

I hope now you have a good understanding of how registration in Switzerland works and if you still have questions please click on the banner below or write a comment.

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Hi, I’m Vladislav! I emigrated to Switzerland when I was 27. I went through the same process so I may have encountered the same problems you are having now. Set up a 30-minute meeting with me and let’s solve your problem.

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