Today, Switzerland is not inferior to any of the developed countries of the planet in terms of economic and political stability. It may even be the leader of the so-called modern progressive world. This small state, with a population of just over 8.8 million people, has managed to achieve incredible success in improving the well-being of its citizens and continues to work hard in this direction.

Residence permit in Switzerland

By the way, the average life expectancy of the Swiss is one of the highest in the world, about 83 years. This is another argument for making a decision to immigrate to this wonderful country. However, there are plenty of people willing to do so. According to statistics, the Swiss population consists of migrants by more than 35%. And in recent years, the government is only tightening the requirements for foreigners. For example, it introduces additional quotas for work permits.

But for promising and, so to speak, "necessary" citizens, the road to this country is always open. The famous Swiss banking secret, which attracts depositors from different corners of the globe, is worth a lot. But there are other ways of immigration. The first step on the way to integration into the Swiss society is to obtain a residence permit (LPR). In this article we will consider all options and in general answer the question of how to get a residence permit in Switzerland in 2024.

How to get a residence permit in Switzerland

So, a residence permit in Switzerland for foreigners is not only a dream, but also a prerequisite for legal stay on Swiss territory for more than 3 months.

This document is issued by the cantonal authorities at the place of residence of the foreigner and is a specially designed card with a built-in microchip, which contains biometric data of the owner, i.e. color photo and fingerprints. This rule has been in force since 2011, not only in Switzerland but also in the countries of the European Union.

In addition to a regular passport, the residence permit card allows you to travel freely between Schengen countries. In order to apply for a residence permit in Switzerland, a potential immigrant must have a specific reason. For example, employment, business, study or reunification with a close relative.

If this is the case, you can and should apply for a national visa (D) at the Swiss Consulate in your home country. This should be done no later than 1.5-2 months before the planned trip. Employees of the agency will provide the necessary assistance and clarify the list of required documents. The cost of a Swiss national visa is 60 euros.

Switzerland consists of 26 autonomous regions or cantons. Despite the fact that the country has a federal immigration law, each of the cantons has its own migration offices, which are responsible for issuing residence permits. All cases are dealt with on an individual basis.

Therefore, it is necessary to contact the migration office of a particular canton at the visa application stage to get practical, first-hand information. Here is a link to the contact details of all Swiss cantons. After arriving in Switzerland, the foreigner has two weeks to register at the place of residence and apply to the migration office for a residence permit card.

Types of residence permits in Switzerland

Types of residence permits in Switzerland

  • Category L (short-term residence permit). Short-term residence permit valid for up to 1 year, renewable. It is issued for a maximum of two years in total. As a rule, it is connected with employment in a specific Swiss company or a long-term business trip and does not allow you to change jobs in order to apply for a new residence permit card.

  • Category B (initial or temporary residence permit). A temporary residence permit is issued for 1 year, renewable. Basically requires a long-term contract to work or study at a Swiss university.

  • Category C (settlement permit). A residence permit for permanent residence in Switzerland with the possibility of unlimited extension. It is issued after continuous residence in the country for at least 10 years. The holder is endowed with extensive rights on a par with local residents, including the change of workplace and the free conduct of business. Since the fall of 2016, only this residence permit card allows you to apply for Swiss citizenship.

  • Category G (cross-border commuter permit). This temporary residence permit is issued to foreigners working in Switzerland but living in another country. It is more suitable for Europeans for whom the level of Swiss prices is unacceptable compared to their home country.

  • Category Ci (residence permit with gainful employment). Residence permit for spouses and children (up to 25 years old) of employees of diplomatic departments and intergovernmental organizations with the right to employment. Issued for the term of office of the main holder of the residence permit card.

  • Category F (provisionally admitted foreigners). The residence permit is issued to foreigners who were obliged to return to their native country, but certain circumstances do not allow this. As a rule, this is due to a threat to life or violations of human rights. The validity of this card is up to 1 year, with the right to extend for another year or more, depending on the situation. The holder is allowed to get a job without any restrictions.

  • Category S (people in need of protection). Temporary residence permit is issued to people in need of protection. It entitles the holder to employment only if he/she has a work permit.

No later than two weeks, but not earlier than 3 months before the expiry of the residence permit, regardless of the category, you must apply to the cantonal migration office for an extension of the document.

Swiss residence permit for family reunification

Swiss residence permit for family reunification

The program of granting a residence permit in Switzerland to close relatives – spouses and children under 18 years of age – is available for holders of residence permit card category C, that is, permanently residing (at least 10 years) in the Swiss territory of foreigners. In other cases, such as for category B, the residence permit is issued under certain conditions and is considered by the local cantonal authorities on an individual basis. The mandatory requirements include sufficient living space and financial means for the relatives.

After moving to Switzerland, family members must register with the local labor office and visit the migration office. This will entitle them to employment. At first a temporary residence permit of category B is issued, after continuous residence on Swiss territory for at least 5 years it is allowed to apply for permanent residence permit of category C.

What gives a residence permit in Switzerland

  1. Free movement on the territory of 26 countries that have signed the Schengen Agreement.

  2. Quality education in one of the best universities in the world.

  3. Salaries in Switzerland are among the highest in Europe.

  4. The opportunity to do business in a state with a completely transparent legal system and low corporate tax rates.

  5. Life in a country with an ideal infrastructure and many places for active recreation.

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