Retiring abroad

Before you make preparations for leaving the country, be sure to obtain all the necessary information about the living conditions in the country of destination and the potential consequences of emigrating.

Foreign representations in Switzerland

The official foreign rapresentation in Switzerland (embassies or consulate) are your contact for many questions (entry requirements and customs).

If you are not able to get the information you need in Switzerland, contact the Swiss representation responsible for your destination country. They can usually help you clarify any specific issues you may have at cost. There is also a great deal of useful information relating to Switzerland on the websites of the various Swiss representations (e.g. how to register with the representation, questions about civil status, etc.).

Entry and residence requirements

Each country has its own entry and residence requirements. Some are very reluctant to give permanent residence permits to pensioners who have recently moved to their country. If you have retired, certain countries make it easier to get a permit if you are able to invest financially in your new host country (known as an investment visa).

Passports, visas and residence permits

Retiring in an EU/EFTA country

Registering in your destination country

Customs regulations

Health and prevention

Before retiring abroad you will need to look at the healthcare available in your chosen country and, if necessary, discuss your needs and circumstances with your GP in advance. Further information on health and prevention is available below. 

An old woman is standing on her balcony.
The decision to emigrate is individual. It is therefore important that you compare your needs with the concrete local conditions. (© Unsplash)

Financial matters

Preparing properly for your retirement abroad includes looking at your finances. You will therefore need to consult the relevant organisations in good time regarding pension payouts and insurance.

Living abroad without paid work before retirement age

It is important to obtain extensive pension planning advice to ensure that your retirement abroad is financially secure.

Health insurance

With regard to health insurance, different rules apply depending on whether you settle in a country within the EU/EFTA or in a third country. Follow the instructions below and contact the relevant authorities for detailed information.

Accident insurance

Taxation

If you leave Switzerland for good, you will no longer be subject to full tax liability. If you have immovable assets (e.g. property) or income from a business activity based in Switzerland however, you remain subject to limited tax liability. There is no withholding tax for OASI pensions in Switzerland, but lump-sum benefits from Swiss pension funds and institutions for tied pension provision (2nd and 3a pillars) are always subject to withholding tax. If there is a double taxation agreement between Switzerland and your country of residence that assigns the right of taxation to that country, you can request the withholding tax to be refunded. Withholding tax is only deducted from pensions and board member fees if Switzerland has the right of taxation. It also imposes a 35% withholding tax on dividends paid by Swiss companies, the interest on bonds issued by Swiss borrowers, and the interest on Swiss bank deposits. This can also be partially (or in exceptional cases fully) reclaimed if there is a double taxation agreement with your country of residence. Which income or assets will be taxed depends on the taxation law in your country of residence.

Find out more on the website of the State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF).

State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF)

Swiss nationals living abroad and Swiss banks