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.

Registration with a Swiss Diplomatic or Consular Representation

  • For Swiss citizens living abroad for more than 12 months at the time, it is mandatory to register with the competent Swiss Diplomatic or Consular Representation.
  • If your country of residence is Nigeria, you may come to the Embassy on any working day between 09:00 and 11:00. You should bring along your Swiss Passport and Identity Card (if any) as well as the Swiss Passports and Identity Cards of the members of your family. You also need to bring your certificate of origin (Heimatschein/Acte d'origine/Atto d'origine) or, if you do not possess any, a confirmation from your last place of residence that you have given up residence Switzerland.
  • If you cannot come to the Embassy personally, you should inform the Embassy of your arrival in the country in writing (e-mail) or by phone, indicating your exact address as well as your telephone, fax and mobile phone numbers and, if available, your e-mail address. The necessary forms and documentation will then be forwarded to you. However, you eventually still have to come to the Embassy in person, bringing along the documents as mentioned in the second para above, togher with the completed registration form.
  • If you are taking up residence in Chad or Niger, you should get in touch with the respective Swiss Consular Representation (see AFRICA and then the respective country for their addresses).
  • In order to speed up the registration process, you may download the appropriate application form on the right, print it out and fill it in by hand - or more conveniently, fill it in directly on your screen and print it out afterwards. (In the latter case don't forget to sign it before submitting it!).

For further information with regard to your registration and/or taking up residence, kindly refer to the downloadable «Information Leaflet for Newcomers».