Switzerland Permanent Residency: How to Apply and The Benefits

Getting permanent residency in Switzerland is an important milestone for foreign nationals who live and work there. However, not everyone understands how it works, what you need to do to earn it, or even how to get one once you’ve made it. 

Switzerland, located in central Europe, is a business haven. Due to the countless opportunities there, many people look to migrate to Switzerland in search of greener fields. Like most European countries, many advantages are associated with visiting or relocating to Swiss lands, including friendly travel terms, healthcare, top-notch education, etc. So, how can you make it work if you decide to stay there permanently?

This article addresses your many questions about obtaining permanent residency in Switzerland. It lets you know whether or not you’re qualified to have one and how to get it.

What is Switzerland Permanent Residency?

Switzerland Permanent Residency (or Swiss PR) is state permission for a foreign national to live and work in Switzerland indefinitely. You must obtain a permit to identify as one who has been granted a Permanent Residency. 

The Swiss offer three kinds of residency permits;

  • “L” permits, which are awarded for brief stays. It is usually valid for a year at a maximum. It can only be renewed once.
  • “B” permits, which are the first residency permit you get when you apply in Switzerland. Like Permit L, this one is usually granted for one year but may be renewed yearly.
  • “C” permits, also known as Permanent residency permit, gives you free access to live and work anywhere in Switzerland. While there are restrictions on when you can leave Switzerland, holders of this visa are free to stay there indefinitely.

As you can testify, the first two permits are temporary and are of little consequence to this article. Therefore, our focus is on the “C Permit,” the Switzerland permanent residency permit.

Eligibility Criteria for Switzerland Permanent Residency Permit

To qualify for a Swiss PR Permit, a few conditions exist. However, the primary one is to have lived in Switzerland for a necessary duration on the B- or L-type permits. 

Since Switzerland is an EU and a Schengen country, all travel agreements that bind both conglomerates apply to Switzerland too. Essentially, EU citizens, EEA, EFTA, the Schengen-member citizens, and a small group of different nations with visa-free travel agreements with the Schengen can enter the country for up to 90 days without a Switzerland visa or a residency permit of any kind. 

However, you must obtain a Swiss residency permit regardless of nationality if you wish to stay in the country longer than three months. Here are the requirements for different categories of people wanting to get Switzerland permanent residency.

#1. EU/EEA/EFTA Citizens:

Just like the visa requirements, EU citizens have it easier than others with Swiss PR requirements. After residing in Switzerland for five (5) consecutive years, citizens of EU/EFTA countries are eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit. This privilege also extends to those countries with visa-free travel agreements with Schengen Area countries

#2. Third-Country Nationals:

Third-country nationals refer to citizens of countries outside the EU and Schengen Area. These countries typically have no visa-free agreement with Switzerland. Therefore, they have stricter requirements than EU citizens. For example, third-country nationals should have resided in Switzerland with a Permit B or L for at least ten years straight to be eligible for a Swiss Permit C.

#3. Family Reunification:

In exceptional cases, non-EU citizens can apply for a Switzerland Permanent Residency in five years. Such cases include;

  • You are the partner or child (aged 12 to 18) of a Swiss national 
  • You are a partner or child of a foreign national in Switzerland who holds a Permit C.
  • If a child of a Swiss national or a Permit C holder is below 12 and comes to Switzerland through a Swiss family visa, they automatically get permanent residency.

#4. Other Special Cases:

If you presently hold a “B” permit and can demonstrate the following to a certain degree, you could also be eligible to apply for a “C” permission:

  • A written B1 level and an A2 level in the language of the country (spoken)
  • Sufficient acclimation to Swiss norms and culture
  • A clear criminal record and the assurance that you pose no danger to Swiss security or public order
  • Personal economic independence and a lack of sole reliance on government benefits

If you fulfill these requirements and have lived in Switzerland on a B- or L-type permit for five years, you can contact your local canton for further information.

Applying for Switzerland Permanent Residency

Switzerland’s 26 cantons have unique rules and procedures for applying for a “C” authorization. The canton where you are currently resident is where you must submit your Permit C application. Usually, you’ll have to bring the following requirements;

  • Means of legal identification (e.g., National Passport),
  • Your Swiss address as proof that you currently reside in Switzerland.
  • Your most recent residency permit. 
  • Any other evidence that you satisfy the requirements (e.g., language certificates)

You’ll need to take these documents to your local canton office. After that, you will fill out an application form indicating you want to apply for a Permit C.

In general, you must demonstrate that:

  1. You have sufficiently assimilated into Swiss society and are fluent in the canton’s dominant language to qualify for the Swiss Permit C. It would help if you exhibited oral language proficiency at level A2 and written language proficiency at level A1. To demonstrate this, you will have to take a language competency test.
  2. Having a clean criminal record verified by the Swiss police, demonstrating that you have no debts at any of the residences you have occupied while living in Switzerland, and having a history of employment or gainful employment are additional conditions. Evidence that you haven’t gotten any social benefits, etc.

The conditions and procedures for granting a Swiss Permit C vary by canton. The terms also change according to your socioeconomic standing, e.g., if you have dependents or children. Hence, it would help if you contacted a municipal office or your neighborhood canton to confirm their terms.

Benefits of Switzerland Permanent Residency 

Here are some of the advantages you can hope to enjoy once you secure a Switzerland Permanent Residency permit:

  1. You are free to work for anybody you wish.
  2. Job changes are permitted without approval.
  3. In Switzerland, you can live, work, and study wherever you want.
  4. You could start a business.
  5. You have access to welfare or social assistance benefits. (However, receiving them can make you ineligible for full citizenship.)
  6. Permission to purchase real estate property in Switzerland.
  7. You may be awarded grants or have your qualifications acknowledged.
  8. The Swiss Permanent Residency now allows you to travel around the EU and Schengen area without needing a visa.

Limitations to Swiss Permanent Residency

With the Swiss Permanent residency, you get a lot of new benefits. However, some rights are still reserved for Swiss nationals and those with citizenship. They include;

  1. Voting in Switzerland elections
  2. Running for a Swiss political office
  3. Ability to travel outside of Switzerland for as long as you want time without losing your status

A “C” residency permit is necessary for many people applying for citizenship in Switzerland, such as those who do so through the standard naturalization process. However, this implies that you would have to apply to become a permanent resident as part of the citizenship process.

Switzerland Permanent Residency Permit Fees

The cost of acquiring a Switzerland Permanent Residency permit varies from canton to canton in Switzerland. In several cantons, non-citizens of the EU and EFTA have to pay more than citizens. Children typically pay less as well.

An adult permit often costs no more than about CHF 95. Permits for children cost about CHF 35. Some cantons do, however, charge more. For instance, the canton of Ticino presently charges CHF 110 for an EU/EFTA citizen’s “C” permit and CHF 147 for a person from a third country’s “C” permit.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. How much money do you need to immigrate to Switzerland?

For instance, it typically costs $3,450 to relocate to Switzerland if you come from the US. Given that goods must be transported over great distances promptly and safely, international moves are frequently more expensive. However, this price will significantly change depending on your unique circumstances.

#2. Can I live in Switzerland without a job?

You must apply for a residence permit from the cantonal immigration and employment market authorities if you want to relocate to Switzerland without finding gainful employment. You might also need to submit a visa application through a Swiss representative abroad based on your nationality.

#3. Does a baby born in Switzerland get citizenship?

Yes, at birth, your child will have Swiss citizenship. According to the Swiss Citizenship Act, a child born to Swiss parents automatically acquires Swiss citizenship. If only the mother is a citizen of Switzerland and the parents are not married, the kid is immediately granted Swiss citizenship.

#4. Can I lose my Switzerland Permanent Residency?

Yes, you can. Several things could lead to you losing your Swiss PR. The two most prominent of these are lying in your application (including acts of forgery) and leaving Switzerland for more than six months at a time without first informing immigration authorities. Others include criminal acts and national security reasons.

#5. How long does it take to get Swiss Citizenship?

To become a Swiss citizen, you must have lived in the country with a C-type residency permit for up to 10 years. An alternative means is to invest significantly in the country’s economy, but few people ever take that path.

Conclusion

Having a Switzerland Residency Permit saves you from many expenses and gives you more freedom in the country. It is about as close as you can get to being a citizen without actually being one. So, what are you still waiting for if you have the requirements and have lived there long enough? Contact your canton immigration office and make that application.

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