As more and more people flock Switzerland to find jobs, knowing the procedures on getting a residence permit here would be very helpful. Aside from the competitive salaries, majestic Alpine scenery, safe and clean surroundings, Switzerland is also well-known for being organized. As such, you can find helpful information on how to register in Switzerland by visiting your “Gemeinde” or the resident’s registration office of the commune where you will be living.
As a general rule, one must obtain a permit if he/she will stay or work in Switzerland for more than three months. When we arrived in Switzerland we did not sweat at all to do all the paper works for the registration. Although German is the official language where we live, the staff in the government offices were all patient to direct and inform us of all the procedures in English. They even handed some documents to us containing information about Switzerland, health and insurance services, and local offices for various concerns. Many expats here also take advantage of some online forums to gather relevant information (www.englishforum.ch is one such forum).
Switzerland has signed several bilateral agreements with the European Union allowing citizens of the EU/EFTA states free movement to Switzerland. Since my husband is a Hungarian citizen, there has not been any difficulty for us to enter the country. Take note that only a limited number of citizens outside of the EU are granted with permits. A number of Filipinos who are Swiss permit holders have jobs in the organizations in Geneva, managerial positions, or are students. EU/EFTA Swiss permit holders may bring certain family members including their spouses under the family reunification program. Residence permits are issued by the Cantonal Migration Office (Switzerland comprises of 26 cantons or member states). A residence permit also serves as a work permit. You have to register within 14 days upon your arrival in Switzerland. There are various types of permits issued in Switzerland namely:
Permit L: intended for short stays and can be renewed only under special circumstances
Permit B: for EU/EFTA nationals this permit is valid for five years and can be renewed for another five years subject to requirements; for third-country nationals this permit is limited for one year when granted for the first time and is normally renewed every year
Permit C: may be requested after holding Permit B for at least five years (kindly check with your respective cantonal offices as issuance of this permit relies on various conditions)
Documents you need to bring for your application of a residence permit:
Valid ID card or passport
Additional documents will be requested from family members of EU/EFTA nationals:
Certificate issued by the authorities in the country of your origin proving that the person is related to you
For applicants who will have dependents you must have a letter issued by the authorities in the country of origin confirming that you will pay for their expenses
Further requirements may be asked depending on your type of employment and canton of residence. And of course, registration comes with a fee so prepare between 65-85 Swiss francs for this. After handing out all these documents to the Gemeinde all papers will be sent to the respective cantonal office who will then schedule you for an appointment to get your biometric data recorded (e.g. photograph, fingerprint, signature). After about two weeks you will receive your credit card-sized Swiss permit. Any other information about migrating in Switzerland is available at the Federal Office for Migration www.bfm.admin.ch When all is set you can now work/start your job hunting, apply for basic necessities (bank account, phone or internet lines, etc.), and connect with the locals. Welcome to Switzerland. Start learning the language immediately and I hope you will have a good stay.
Maria Kristine Fleischhacker lives in Lucerne, Switzerland. She often tinkers with the beauty in minute acts and is currently learning another language.