Registration in the register of the Swiss Abroad

Are you obliged to register?

Yes, if you are a Swiss citizen, have taken up residence abroad, and are not registered with a Swiss municipality.

You have to register within 90 days after the announcement of departure to a foreign country and show a certificate of departure issued by the municipality of the last place of residence in Switzerland.

Registration will facilitate future administrative dealings with the Swiss representation responsible for your place of residence abroad, such as applications for Swiss passports and identity documents, transcription of a civil status event, registration for voting, etc.

How to apply?

Leaving Switzerland to take up residence abroad

You are living in Switzerland and about to take up residence abroad. When registering with the Swiss representation responsible for your new place of domicile you will need to submit the following documents:

  • registration using the Online desk or delivery of the form “Application for registration at a Swiss representation” duly completed and signed;
  • the valid Swiss passport or identity card of all members of your family (originals);
  • for the family member with foreign nationality: an official document of identity (passport or identity card / in original);
  • the certificate of departure issued by the municipality of the last place of residence in Switzerland;
  • if available, the certificate of origin (original);
  • if available, the family certificate or individual civil status certificate (original).

If you are a Swiss citizen and do not possess any valid Swiss identity document, please submit the following documents:

  • a valid official foreign ID document (passport or identity document, originals);
  • for single persons: an individual certificate of civil status (can be obtained from the civil status office of your municipality of origin in Switzerland);
  • for families: a family certificate (can be obtained from the civil status office of your municipality of origin in Switzerland).

If you are unable to print the “Application for registration at a Swiss representation" form, inform the Swiss representation responsible for your place of residence, which will then gladly forward you the necessary documentation.

The documents necessary for your registration can be forwarded by registered mail or a secure equivalent to the postal address of the Swiss representation responsible for your place of residence.

The Swiss representation concerned will be glad to receive you in person during normal visiting hours for the purpose of registration.

Your identity documents will be returned to you by mail, or in person if the registration is conducted at the representation.

What should you report?

You should report any event that affects your personal situation, notably:

  • on taking up residence in the consular district, for registration
  • any changes of address, telephone number or email address
  • an event affecting your civil status (birth, marriage, divorce, death)
  • acquisition or loss of citizenship
  • final departure from the consular district

Informing foreign authorities of your place of residence

Registration with a Swiss representation does not exempt you from the obligation to inform the foreign authorities of your arrival. It is your responsibility to enter into direct contact with the foreign authorities competent for your place of residence so that you may take the necessary steps to obtain a residence permit. In some countries, you might need formal authorisation prior to entering their territory. The Swiss representation cannot assist you in this matter.

Information for Swiss abroad in Hong Kong:

The following persons should register with the Consular district of the Swiss Consulate General in Hong Kong includes the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau: 

  • Swiss citizens who intend to stay in the consular district for at least 12 months
  • Swiss citizens who acquire Swiss nationality by birth, naturalization or adoption and who are already living in the consular district 

The register is intended to give an overall picture of Swiss nationals living in the consular district. Registration is mandatory and provides the details required for the fulfilment of official functions such as issuing new passports, registering births and marriages or ordering civil papers from the authorities in Switzerland.

The registration has to be made in person during opening hours (Monday-Friday, 9am to 12pm). Please bring the following along: 

  • Swiss passports and/or ID cards of all family members
  • Act of origin (Heimatschein - Acte d'origine - Atto d'origine) or Certificate of civil status (Personenstandsausweis – Certificat individuel d’état civil – Certificato individuale di stato civile) or Family certificate
    (Familienschein – Certificat de famille – Atto di famiglia)
  • Application for registration with a Swiss representation
  • Any other relevant documents/information that you would like this Consulate to know about (i.e. foreign passport ect.) 

In case you have been previously registered with a Swiss representation abroad, it is sufficient to contact the representation where you have been registered last and let them know your new address in Mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau.  Your data will then be transferred electronically and you will be contacted by the Swiss representation in charge of your new place of residence.