Swiss tax and social legislation concerning other family members of staff members of the international organisations (IO) and of staff members of the permanent missions (PM) holding a type « H » FDFA legitimation card
Other family members (IO/PM) - tax and social legislations
« Other family members » are defined as persons admitted to Switzerland by way of exception on the grounds of family reunification and who receive a type « H » legitimation card (cf. Guidelines regarding the issuance of FDFA legitimation cards, see below).
Such persons include cohabitants not recognised as official partners, unmarried children over the age of 25, relatives in the ascending line, as well as grandchildren, nieces/nephews or children under guardianship. They must be living in Switzerland in the same household as the primary beneficiary (the staff member).
These persons do not enjoy privileges and immunities and remain subject to Swiss law. They must take the following steps as soon as they arrive in Switzerland.
All contact addresses and links to the relevant documents are provided at the end of this information note.
1. Income and wealth tax at federal, cantonal and communal level
All persons aged 18 or over, even if not in gainful employment, are required to declare their income and wealth to the cantonal tax authorities of their place of residence.
The person in question must write to the tax authorities of their canton of residence to request to be recorded to the tax roll (enclosing a copy of their legitimation card). They will then receive a tax return form each year, and the tax authorities will send them their tax assessment.
2. Social insurance (AHV/AVS)
Persons not in gainful employment are required to pay social insurance contributions (AHV/AVS) from 1 January following their 20th birthday until the statutory retirement age (64 for women and 65 for men).
However, a person not in gainful employment is not required to pay social insurance contributions if their spouse is gainfully employed as defined for the purposes of AHV/AVS and pays at least twice the minimum contribution (CHF 956).
They must contact the AHV/AVS cantonal compensation office of their place of residence; some cantonal compensation offices publish an application form on their website (see link below). The cantonal compensation office will then invoice them directly for their social insurance contributions.
If the person does not have an insurance certificate, they should request one from the cantonal compensation office (see link below).
3. Health and accident insurance
See also the information note on health insurance (see link below).
As is compulsory for all residents of Switzerland, the person must take out health insurance with a recognised Swiss health insurance provider (including accident cover) within three months of taking up residence.
Applications for exemption:
◾Other family members of staff members of the IO (OI with a headquarters agreement): they may apply for exemption from the requirement to take out Swiss health insurance. They must be insured with the same IO health insurer as the primary beneficiary (i.e. the staff member of the IO) and their insurance cover must be equivalent for obtaining healthcare in Switzerland (cf. Article 6 paragraph. 4 of the Ordinance on Health Insurance, see link below). They must submit a written application for exemption to the cantonal health insurance office of their place of residence. This must be accompanied by a written attestation from the IO's health insurer providing all the necessary information (concerning the cover offered for treatment in Switzerland) and an equivalence form completed by the insurer (see link below). An application for exemption must be submitted in writing within three months of joining the IO healthcare plan. An exemption cannot be granted once this period has elapsed.
◾Relatives in the ascending line (IO/PM): if joining a Swiss health insurance scheme would significantly reduce the level of insurance or medical expenses covered and the person in question is unable to take out private supplementary insurance on account of their age and/or health status, a person may be granted an exemption provided that they have equivalent insurance cover for treatment in Switzerland (cf. Article 2 paragraphe 8 of the Ordinance on Health Insurance, see link below). The person must submit a written application for exemption to the cantonal health insurance office of their place of residence. This must be accompanied by a written attestation from the foreign health insurer providing all the necessary information (concerning the cover offered for treatment in Switzerland) and an equivalence form completed by the insurer (see link below). The person cannot seek to reverse an exemption or the waiving of an exemption, except on special grounds.
4. Competent authorities
Permanent Mission of Switzerland to UNOG
Office of Privileges & immunities
Rue de Varembé 9-11
P.O. Box 194
CH-1211 Geneva 20
Tel. +41 (0)58 482 24 24
Fax +41 (0)58 482 24 37