EU/EFTA Citizens: Living and Working in Switzerland

ATTENTION: Federal Council invokes safeguard clause for EU-2 states

The Federal Council decided on 10 May 2017 to invoke the safeguard clause provided for in the Agreement between Switzerland and the EU on the free movement of persons, applying it to the EU-2 Member States (Bulgaria and Romania). From 1 June 2017, category B EU/EFTA residence permits granted to citizens of these countries will be subject to quotas. There will be 996 residence permits B EU/EFTA available. These are issued according to the principle "first come, first served".This measure is to remain in force for a year.

This measure applies to workers from EU-2 countries who wish to take up an employment with a yearly, one-year or permanent contract in Switzerland and apply for a residence permit B EU/EFTA as an employed person. The same applies to self-employed persons who wish to settle in Switzerland.

More information about the safeguard clause can be found from 1 June 2017 on this page in the tab "Bulgaria and Romania (EU-2)".

enlarge_picture EU/EFTA

Are you planning to work in Switzerland, to join your spouse or family or to study at a Swiss university?

The conditions applicable for residence in Switzerland are dependent on both your nationality as well as on the reason for your stay.

From 1 June 2016, the same conditions apply to all citizens of member states of the EU-27/EFTA, i.e. citizens of the EU-25/EFTA (EU-17/EFTA plus EU-8) and citizens of Bulgaria and Romania (EU-2). Since 1 January 2017, Croatian nationals benefit from the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons. However, transitory provisions apply.

You will find the documents relevant to your stay in the table below (according to your nationality).


Countries of the EU-28/EFTA

Austria   Finland   Latvia   Portugal  
Belgium   France   Liechtenstein   Romania  
Bulgaria   Germany   Lithuania   Slovakia  
Croatia   Greece   Luxemburg   Slovenia  
Czech Republic   Hungary   Malta   Spain  
Cyprus   Iceland   Netherlands   Schweden  
Denmark   Ireland   Norway   United Kingdom  
Estonia   Italy   Poland    



Countries of the EU-27/EFTA

Austria   France   Liechtenstein   Romania  
Belgium   Germany   Lithuania   Slovakia  
Bulgaria   Greece   Luxemburg   Slovenia  
Czech Republic   Hungary   Malta   Spain  
Cyprus   Iceland   Netherlands   Schweden  
Denmark   Ireland   Norway   United Kingdom  
Estonia   Italy   Poland    
Finland   Latvia   Portugal    



EU-17/EFTA citizens have full rights to freedom of movement since 1 June 2007.

Countries of the EU-17/EFTA

Austria   France   Italy   Norway  
Belgium   Germany   Liechtenstein   Portugal  
Cyprus   Greece   Luxemburg   Sweden  
Denmark   Iceland   Malta   Spain  
Finland   Ireland   Netherlands   United Kingdom  



EU-8 citizens have full rights to freedom of movement since 1 May 2011.

Countries of the EU-8

Czech Republic   Latvia   Poland   Slovenia  
Estonia   Lithuania   Slovakia   Hungary  


Bulgaria and Romania (EU-2)

Bulgaria and Romania (EU-2)

On expiry of the transitional provisions, i.e. from 1 June 2016, Bulgarian and Romanian workers become subject to the same system as citizens of the EU-25/EFTA.

For the provision of services, the same conditions apply to all citizens of member states of the EU-27/EFTA from 1 June 2016. Further information can be found here: Registration procedure

Self-employed Bulgarians and Romanians in Switzerland have been subject to the same conditions as EU-25/EFTA nationals since 1 June 2011. Applicants must provide the cantonal authorities with proof of their self-employment in Switzerland (start-up capital, business plan etc.). Self-employed EU-27/EFTA citizens may not take up a self-employed activity until their application has been processed and a residence permit has been issued.)

When staying in Switzerland without gainful activity (students, pensioners, etc.) and in matters of family reunion, citizens of all EU-27 and EFTA states enjoy the same rights.




Croatia joined the European Union (EU) on 1 July 2013. Each time a new member joins the EU, the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) is supplemented by an additional protocol. The extension of the AFMP to Croatia was negotiated in protocol III, which provides full free movement of persons for Croatian nationals following a ten-year transitional period.

In the light of the popular initiative aimed at stopping mass immigration and the adoption of the constitutional provisions on immigration (Art. 121a Cst) on 9 February 2014, protocol III had not been signed immediately. However, Switzerland applied separate quotas for Croatian nationals from 1 July 2014 to 31 December 2016. Their access to the Swiss labour market remained subject to the provisions of the Foreign Nationals Act.

On 17 June 2016, the Swiss Parliament approved protocol III and authorized the Federal Council to ratify it once an agreement to control immigration is reached with the EU that is compatible with the Swiss legal system. This condition had been fulfilled when the Parliament passed the act implementing Article 121a of the Federal Constitution on 16 December 2016. With the ratification of protocol III on 16 December 2016, the AFMP has been extended to Croatia. Due to this ratification, Switzerland is fully associated to the Horizon 2020 research programme since 1 January 2017.

On 1 January 2017, protocol III came into force. During the first implementation period, special transitory measures with quotas and restrictions regarding the access to the labour market (priority clause for local workers as well as control of wages and work conditions) are applied on Croatian nationals. These measures can be extended after a first two-year period.

More detailed information regarding the admission of Croatian nationals is provided in the factsheet "Croatia”.



The cantons are competent for issuing permits. For detailed information on the application procedure (where to apply, which form to fill out, how long it will take, etc.), please contact the competent cantonal authorities:

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