Law on ForeignersResidence permit

Permit and naturalization: I have been living in Switzerland for two years. Can I apply for family reunification for my wife and two children?

Do you hold a Swiss residence permit and would like your family, who is currently residing abroad, to join you? You will need to complete a family reunification procedure.
Lawrence explains to you how to do it!

As a Swiss resident, you can apply for family reunification, so that your relatives can also become Swiss residents, or in other words, receive a B permit. 

Family members who have obtained a residence permit through family reunification will be able to work in Switzerland. 

In the family reunification procedure, only the nationality of the Swiss resident counts: 

If the resident is an EU and EFTA national: 

Family reunification may be obtained for the following persons: 

  • The spouse or registered partner; 
  • Children and grandchildren under the age of 21, or older if the resident can guarantee their maintenance; 
  • Parents and grandparents if their maintenance is necessary. 

And that is regardless of the relatives’ nationality! 

You will also have to prove that you have a home big enough to accommodate the family. If you are self-employed or not in gainful employment, you will need to ensure that you have the financial resources to support your family. 

Relatives who have received a residence permit through family reunification, a Permit B, may apply for Permit C after an uninterrupted 5-year stay in Switzerland. 


If the resident is a third-country national : 

  1. A) If the resident holds a C permit, family reunification will apply: 
  • To the spouse or registered partner; 
  • To children under 18 years of age; 

It doesn’t matter what their nationality is or if the household lives together.


  1. B) If the resident holds a B permit, the canton of residence may grant family reunification. The modalities vary, so we advise you to inquire with the specific competent authority. 


Proof of accommodation, which must be large enough to accommodate the family and demonstrate that the spouse is able to speak the language of the canton of residence, will be required. 

The application for family reunification must be made within 5 years of the family’s settlement in Switzerland. This period is 12 months for children over 12 years of age. 

How to obtain family reunification? 

The application must be sent to the Foreigners’ Service of the canton of residence and a “M-Form”, specific to each canton, must be completed. The following documents are to be provided depending on the family situation: 

  • Copies of identity documents 
  • Passport-sized photos of each family member with their names 
  • Certificate of accommodation 
  • Family documents (birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. )
  • Proof of financial resources 


Let’s go back to our original question: You have been living in Switzerland for 2 years and therefore have a residence permit. In this case: Yes! Your family may benefit from family reunification. 

There are many elements to consider in this procedure. Do not hesitate to ask for help to make it happen in the best possible way. 

Any questions? Lost? Don’t panic! Lawrence answers all your questions and assists you in your legal steps!

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