EU/EFTA Citizens: Living and Working in Switzerland

EU/EFTA
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).

However, the Federal Council decided to invoke the safeguard clause as per 1 June 2017. In application of the safeguard clause, category B EU/EFTA residence permits granted to citizens of the EU-2 will be subject to quotas during one year. This measure applies to citizens from Bulgaria and Romania who possess an employment contract in Switzerland that is valid for more than a year (or unlimited duration) as well as for self-employed persons.

The Federal Council decided on 18 April 2018 to extend by a further year until 31 May 2019 the validity of the safeguard clause for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals. As the threshold set in the AFMP was not reached by 31 May 2018, the safeguard clause for short-term permits (L EU/EFTA) has not been activated.

The transition period for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will end from 1 June 2019 and they will enjoy full freedom of movement from this date.

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).

EU-28/EFTA

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    

Documentation

EU-27/EFTA

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    

Documentation

EU-17/EFTA

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  

Documentation

EU-8

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  

Documentation

Bulgaria and Romania (EU-2)

Bulgaria and Romania (EU-2)

The Federal Council decided on 18 April 2018 to extend by a further year the validity of the safeguard clause ‒ a provision of the Free Movement of Persons Agreement ‒ for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals with regard to category B EU/EFTA permits of more than one year. This measure, which has been in force since 1 June 2017, allows to limit the number of permits for taking up gainful employment. Between 1 June 2018 and 31 May 2019, 996 permits B EU/EFTA will be available (as in the previous year).

Affected by the quotas are workers from EU-2 countries with an employment contract valid for one or more than one year or indefinitely wishing to take up employment in Switzerland and therefore applying for a type B residence permit for gainfully employed persons. The same applies to self-employed persons.

The Federal Council also decided to reintroduce quotas for short-term permits (L EU/EFTA), if the AFMP threshold will be reached by 31 May 2018. As the threshold set in the AFMP was not reached by 31 May 2018, the safeguard clause for short-term permits (L EU/EFTA) has not been activated.

The transition period for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will end from 1 June 2019 and they will enjoy full freedom of movement from this date.

Further information can be found in the Circular of 16 May 2018 and in the Directive on the Regulation on the Free Movement of Persons (VEP) (These documents are available in German, French and Italian).

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.

Documentation

Croatia

Croatia

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”.

Documentation

Permits

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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