Keywords: Brexit

In 2016 the United Kingdom (UK) decided that it wished to leave the European Union (EU). This will also have consequences for Switzerland, since relations between Switzerland and the UK are primarily governed by the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU.

In the withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK, the two parties have agreed on a transitional phase lasting until 31 December 2020. This means that the UK will continue to have the status of an EU Member State until this date.

The Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) between Switzerland and the EU thus continues to apply to UK nationals in Switzerland and Swiss nationals in the UK until 31 December 2020. During this transitional period, both UK and Swiss nationals will be able to acquire AFMP rights until 31 December 2020.

The UK is an important partner for Switzerland. The Federal Council wants therefore to ensure that existing mutual rights and obligations continue to apply and are even expanded after Brexit (Mind the Gap strategy).

Safeguarding citizens’ rights

At its meeting on 19 December 2018, the Federal Council approved the agreement with the United Kingdom (UK) on citizens’ rights post Brexit. This agreement protects the rights of Swiss and UK nationals obtained in the UK and Switzerland respectively under the AFMP (e.g. residency rights).

After the signing of the agreement in Bern on 25 February 2019, the Federal Council conducted consultation proceedings, which ran until 29 May 2019.

On 6 December 2019, the Federal Council adopted the dispatch on the agreement and submitted it to Parliament.

The agreement will enter into force on 1 January 2021, at the end of the transitional period. If the transitional period is extended by the EU and the UK, the agreement will come into force after the new end date.

Further information


Further information regarding the agreement on the rights of citizens can be found here:

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