Residence permits

All foreign citizens living and working in Switzerland must have a valid work permit and/or residence permit. The application is normally made by the employer. There are several different types of residence permits:

  • Permit B (residence permit): This is a residence permit with authorisation to work. The permit is issued upon production of an employment contract with a duration of at least 12 months. It is valid for 5 years. There are no restrictions on the type of work or place of residence.

  • Permit C (settlement permit): Residence permit of unlimited duration, not linked to any particular conditions. A prerequisite for obtaining this settlement permit is regular, uninterrupted residence in Switzerland for 5 years.

  • Permit G (cross-border commuter permit): Persons with a G permit live in another country but close to the Swiss border and have a valid employment contract in a Swiss border area. They must return to their foreign place of residence at least once per week.

  • Permit L (short-term residence permit): This is issued for a limited duration (usually less than one year) to persons with a particular reason for short-term residence in Switzerland. This is often the case for "au pairs" or young workers between 18 and 30 years of age wanting to complete an internship in Switzerland. If the employment contract is extended, an L permit can be converted to a B permit, or into G permit if the person lives close to the border.

  • Permit Ci (residence permit with gainful employment): The residence permit with gainful employment is intended for the families of members of intergovernmental organisations and for members of foreign representations. This concerns the spouses and children up to 25 years of age. The validity of the permit is limited to the duration of the main holder's function.

You can find comprehensive information on the various residence permits on the website of the Federal Office for Migration (FOM):


Administrative support can be obtained from: