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Permits and naturalizations: Which are the different work permits in Switzerland?

    You would like to work in Switzerland, but don’t know which work permit is right for you? Overall, when seeking a work permit, the following two aspects should be considered: 

    • The nationality
    • The type of activity carried out

    The application for a work permit is made to Immigration and Labour Market Authority of the Canton in which you wish to work. 

    Switzerland follows a dual system regarding the nationality of a permit applicant: 

    1. You are a citizen of the European Union or a member country of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). 

    In this case, you benefit from the free movement agreement. You will be able to spend 3 months in Switzerland without needing a permit , if actively looking for a job. Once this period has elapsed, a residence permit will be required. 

    1. You are a third-country national 

    You must have a contract or a promise of employment, as well as a residence permit, before you settle in Switzerland. As a third-country national, obtaining this will be more complex. There are quotas per permit granted to each nationality. Your future employer will also have to give national priority and then prove the uniqueness of your skills. 


    There are four work permits in Switzerland: 

    1. The L permit (short-term residents) 

    If your employment contract is a fixed-term contract for a period of three to twelve months, but you may be hired for a longer period, you need an L permit. The permit will correspond to the duration of your work contract, but it will be possible to renew it. 

    Furthermore, it doesn’t bind you in any way as to where you work or live!


    1. The B Permit (long-term resident) 

    If you are an EU or EFTA national and your employment contract is for an indefinite period, or for a fixed term of more than 12 months, you will need to apply for a B permit. It will be valid for five years and can be renewed according to your professional situation. 

    If you are a third-country national (outside the EU or EFTA) and your employment contract is of an indefinite duration or a fixed-term contract of more than 12 months, your permit, issued for an initial period of one year, will automatically bind you to your employer, which means that you will have to apply for a new permit if your employment situation changes.
    In addition, you will always have to pay close attention to the Swiss quotas when applying for this type of permit! 


    1. The C Permit (establishment permit) 

    If you are a citizen of the EU, EFTA, the USA or Canada, you can obtain this permit after an uninterrupted stay of 5 years in Switzerland, whether you reside there for professional reasons or not. 

    If you are a citizen of a third country (outside the EU, EFTA, Canada and the USA), you will only be able to obtain a visa after a stay in Switzerland of 10 years. 


    1. The G Permit (the “border crossers’ permit”) 

    If you work in Switzerland, live abroad and return home at least once a week, you need a G permit. 


    You still don’t know what permit you’re eligible for or are struggling to obtain it? Lawrence assists you in all your legal procedures!

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