Living in Switzerland

How can I immigrate to Switzerland?

The rules on immigration are very strict. Your nationality is important: citizens of the 15 pre-2004 EU member states and of EFTA countries face fewer restrictions than citizens from the rest of the world.

It is almost impossible for non-EU nationals to find work in Switzerland: they need to be highly qualified and able to perform a job that no Swiss person can do. Without a job arranged in advance, you cannot take up residence.

How can I buy property – real estate – in Switzerland?

The purchase of real estate in Switzerland by foreigners is strictly regulated. Non-residents can buy vacation properties in tourist areas. EU citizens who are Swiss residents can buy without restriction, while other foreign residents can buy one property for their own use. Special restrictions apply for the purchase of large areas of land.

The Federal Office of Justice has issued official guidelines for foreigners wishing to purchase real estate.

The details of the purchase process vary from canton to canton.

You can find property advertisements on swissinfo’s swisslinks.

How can I open a bank account in Switzerland?

The Swiss Bankers' Association has an FAQ on opening a bank account.Its site also contains more general information about banks, including an overall introduction to the subject.

There are many private organisations which will help you open an account; the best way to find them is probably by searching in internet. You will probably find some useful information on their pages even if you do not use their services.

How can I find legal advice?

Your first port of call could be an advice bureau: these are known by different names in different cantons: “Rechtsauskunftsstelle” “Permanence Avocats” “Permanence juridique” etc. In Basel contact the “Advokatenkammer Basel – Kontaktstelle”, and for Ticino you may call the “Ordine degli avvocati” in Chiasso. You can find the addresses on the site of the Swiss Bar Association.

The Bar Association also provides a search service to help you find a lawyer specialising in the area you need.

Swiss notaries also have their own umbrella site.

How can I get married in Switzerland?

Please see the links below for information about the legal aspects of marrying in Switzerland.

Popular places for getting married/holding the reception include well known tourist destinations (eg the Matterhorn), or a castle. There are many commercial organisations which will help arrange this.

You can find the address of the registry office on the website of the relevant commune (if it has one).