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Work permits in Switzerland

Work permits in Switzerland
There are various work permits available in Switzerland, depending on the situation. Discover our detailed guide to permit types, procedures and advice.

Table of contents

Swiss work permits: the essentials

Swiss work permits: the essentials

Do I need a work permit?

If you wish to work in Switzerland and are not a Swiss citizen or the holder of a work permit such as a B or C permit, you will need to apply for a work permit.

Frontier or resident permit?

It's important to distinguish between a work permit for cross-border commuters (Permit G) and a permit for a person wishing to settle and work in Switzerland.

Types of work permits in Switzerland

Depending on your situation, you may need a simple work permit or a residence permit with work authorization.

EU/EFTA B permit

The EU/EFTA B permit is for nationals of one of the 27 countries of the European Union and EFTA (Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein). Holders of this residence permit long-term residents in Switzerland for a specific purpose, and may or may not be gainfully employed.

This residence permit is valid for five years. To obtain a residence permit, you must prove that you have been committed for a fixed term of at least 1 year or indefinitely.

B permit for non-EU countries

The B permit for non-EU/EFTA nationals is similar to the EU/EFTA B permit. However, the residence permit is valid 1 year instead of 5. It is generally more difficult to obtain than an EU/EFTA B permit, because the employer has to justify the difficulty of finding a non-Swiss or EU/EFTA candidate.

EU/EFTA L permit

Like EU/EFTA B permit holders, EU/EFTA L permit holders are foreigners staying in Switzerland for a specific purpose. They must present a employment contract from minimum 3 months to a maximum of 12 months. The validity period of the work permit can be extended for a maximum of 12 months, but must be justified by the employment contract.

L permits for non-EU countries

The characteristics of the L permit for third-country nationals are similar to those of the EU/EFTA L permit, but, like the B permit for third-country nationals, the employer must provide the following documents evidence in Switzerland and EU-EFTA countries.

Ci EU/EFTA permit

The Ci EU/EFTA residence permit is the permit offering the most freedom to foreign residents in Switzerland. There are no conditions to be met before entering the country, and the right of residence is indefinite.

To obtain a Ci residence permit, you will need to provide proof of 10 years in Switzerland. Nationals of some countries can obtain an EU/EFTA Ci permit after 5 years.

C permits for non-EU countries

The C residence permit for third-country nationals is the same as the Ci EU/EFTA permit. However, the holder must have lived in Switzerland for at least 10 years, unless he or she is spouse a Swiss citizen or spouse of a C license with 5 years' residence in Switzerland.

Work permit G (cross-border commuter)

Permit G holders (or cross-border commuters) are nationals of an EU/EFTA or non-EFTA state who reside in the territory of an EU/EFTA or non-EFTA state and work in Switzerland. They must return to their place of residence abroad at least every once a week. G permit holders can live in any region (border or non-border). 

Permit G is valid during 5 years for allone year minimum. Visit 3 months and 1 yearThe validity of the G booklet will correspond to the duration of the employment relationship.

How do I obtain a work permit in Switzerland?

In all cases, you must have a valid promise of employment or work contract to qualify for a work permit in Switzerland. You should also check the conditions you need to meet, depending on your situation.

To obtain a residence permit, please contact theOffice cantonal de la population et des migrations (Geneva).

You will find emoluments to be paid for your application to settle in Switzerland on the Swiss Confederation website.

Frequently asked questions

A work permit is required for employees of foreign nationality wishing to work in Switzerland.

Employers are responsible for applying for permits, except in the case of European Union (EU, EFTA) nationals, who must register with the relevant offices themselves (in the case of residence permits).

Foreign nationals can apply for 4 different work permits: G, L, B and C.

Visit G permits is intended for cross-border workers: it will be granted to you if you have an employment contract in Switzerland, but are returning to your home country. country of residence at least once a week.

A work permit in Switzerland is not particularly difficult to obtain if proof of employment or an employment contract exists.

However, EU/EFTA nationals are favored, while non-EU nationals are not. frames or highly qualified may encounter difficulties in obtaining their license because theemployer must justify he has been unable to find a Swiss or EU/EFTA employee.