Global Relocation in Swiss
Why Immigrate to Switzerland
Due to its high standard of living, excellent education and healthcare, effective business infrastructure, high levels of privacy and discretion, bespoke taxation system, and great political stability, Switzerland has become a popular destination country for foreigners wishing to relocate to.
Although many individuals seek to immigrate to Switzerland, Swiss law specifically favours applicants who have an educated background (university degree holders) or who have a high net worth. Individuals are encouraged to apply for investor residency which allows applicants to set up a business in Switzerland and live there.
The Swiss residency visa program is aimed at high net worth investors who can take advantage of the Swiss fiscal package whereby individuals will not be taxed on their revenue or assets but only on their living expenses.
Benefits of Permanent Residence Permit in Switzerland through the Private Residence Program
Visa-free travel within the Schengen Area
Fast-track procedure (3-4 months); processing time depends on canton requirements and individual circumstances
Dependent family members can be included in the application
Right to live, work, and study in Switzerland
Favourable tax regime and extensive network of double taxation treaties
There are several conditions which must be met in order to satisfy the application process for permanent residency in Switzerland. It is imperative that you meet all the conditions prior to applying and investing your money; Switzerland is known to be highly selective in approving residency visas. The selection and interview process is undertaken with a great deal of discretion and is a far more structured process than other investment immigration programs.
In order to be qualified for a residence permit in Switzerland, applicants must meet the following requirements:
Be a non-EU citizen
Be no older than 55 years of age
Hold a clean criminal record
Make an investment with a minimum value of CHF 1 million in a company in the canton he/she wishes to reside
The purpose of the investment must be to finance the growth of the company the applicant invests into. The company in which the applicant makes an investment must be credentialed and must employ a number of full-time employees
The investment must be maintained for the full period of the applicant’s residency in Switzerland
Restrictions apply to what the applicant can invest into. Examples include bank accounts, apartments, and bogus companies
Non-EU investors can obtain a Swiss residence permit in one of the two following ways:
Active investments into a Swiss company formation with a minimum value of 1 million Swiss Francs. The applicant must demonstrate the economic benefit he brings to the canton, in particular, if the business creates new jobs or help retain existing jobs via new orders for local companies; the business stimulates new technologies, scientific or industrial development in the region.
Pay annual lump-sum tax (forfait fiscal). The amount may vary from CHF 150,000 ~ per year, depending on the canton of residence (except Zurich) and calculated based on 5 times the annual rental income or the annual living expenses. By paying this fee, there is no need to declare worldwide income and assets to Swiss authorities.
The Swiss business investment immigration program (+1 million CHF)
requires applicants to invest in a company which is struggling to expand without the necessary funding, as this will, in turn, enable the company in question to create more jobs and help the Swiss economy through its expansion. Applications will not be approved if applicants wish to invest in a Swiss bank or simply buy shares from a Swiss company quoted on the stock exchange – investments must add economic value to the region.
The annual lump sum tax (+150.000 CHF ~ per year ) for foreigners
who set up domicile in Switzerland at federal level and in some cantons has been abolished. This is an expenditure-based taxation which replaces ordinary taxes on income and wealth. The lump sum amount must be of some significance in order to create a tax interest for the canton. Applicants are advised to first obtain a lump sum taxation agreement with the relevant cantonal tax authority and then apply for a residence permit.
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Obtaining Swiss Citizenship
The nation of Switzerland offers numerous benefits and advantages, including unprecedented financial privacy via the nation’s ancient banking privacy laws, beautiful scenery including the famous Swiss Alps, a multicultural population, significant tax breaks (such as the non-existence of a federal inheritance or gift tax), and a representative parliamentary republic form of government. Obtaining Swiss citizenship will entitle a foreign national to these benefits and many more, which is why hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals immigrate to Switzerland every year.
First Step – Becoming a Permanent Resident
Before a foreign national can apply for Swiss citizenship, the national must first be a Swiss permanent resident for a specific amount of years. Foreign nationals may obtain permanent residency in several different ways such as through employment with a Swiss company or by pledging to pay a certain amount in taxes every year.
Regardless of how the foreign national obtains the permanent residency, the permanent residency must continue uninterrupted for ten years (though the years spent in Switzerland between the completed 10th and 20th years may count double for citizenship purposes).
Second Step –
Applying for Citizenship at the Federal Level
The process of becoming a citizen is called naturalization. Initial naturalization applications are filed with the Swiss Federal Office of Migration (FOM). Once the foreign national meets the permanent residency requirement, the national may file the application. During the application review process, the FOM evaluates how well the national has integrated him/herself into the Swiss culture and way of life, whether and to what extent the national is familiar with Swiss traditions and customs, and confirms that the national has complied with all Swiss laws and does not pose a national security threat to the country.
Once the FOM is satisfied that the national meets these requirements, the FOM gives provisional approval – called “giving the green light” for the national to acquire Swiss citizenship. The actual conferral of citizenship is reserved to the specific canton and community in which the national resides.
Third Step – Applying for Citizenship at the Canton and Community Levels
After a foreign national receives the green light from the FOM, the national may apply for citizenship in his/her canton and community. As stated, the different cantons and communities have their own particular requirements for granting citizenship.
For example, the Bern canton is a popular city for foreign nationals to relocate to as it is most populated Swiss city and serves as the country’s de facto capital. Beginning on January 1, 2014, Bern is requiring naturalization applicants to pass an examination that tests their knowledge of Swiss history, geography, social security, civics, language, rights and duties of Swiss citizens, religion, democracy, federalism and education. The test will be timed and all answers must be completed within 90 minutes and to achieve a passing score the applicant must answer at least 60% of the questions correctly. This new test requirement replaces the old requirement of simply completing a citizenship course that taught naturalization applicants about the Swiss law, the structure and organization of its government, and its everyday life and culture.
Similarly, the Zurich canton also requires its foreign national citizenship applicants to pass a test. Zurich residents must successfully demonstrate their German language proficiency through satisfactory passage of the Cantonal German Test. Zurich immigration authorities will not approve a naturalization application if the foreign national cannot pass the Cantonal German Test. Additionally, the Zurich immigration authorizes conduct their own criminal backgrounds to verify the applicant has not committed any crimes, and they also interview the applicant to ensure the person is fully integrated into the Swiss lifestyle and has a firm and demonstrable knowledge of the German aspects and influences of the Swiss lifestyle. Zurich also requires its resident to prove that they possess sufficient income or financial resources and assets to be able to provide for themselves and their families for the indefinite future.
Importantly, there is no right to an appeal of a denial of a naturalization application at any level. Moreover, there is no right to citizenship so a particular canton or community may deny a national’s application at any time.
It should also be noted that upon naturalization, Switzerland does not require the new citizen to relinquish or renounce the individual’s previous citizenship with his/her country of origin.
(Switzerland : Attention : reserved only for French Resident card holder)
Onsaemi worldwide provides consular support at diplomatic missions in Switzerland and, where possible, prepares applications for the submission at Swiss diplomatic missions abroad.
Conversion of Driver's License (Switzerland)
We are able to assist with converting foreign drivers licenses to a local license .
Departure Formalities (Switzerland)
Onsaemi worldwide can assist with departure requirements when leaving Switzerland.
Document Services (Switzerland)
In partnership with local office Geneva-Lausanne, Onsaemi worldwide can procure and authenticate documents where official documents need to be obtained and/or copies certified as true copies for a range of immigration applications. Documents can include birth, marriage and police certificates. In addition, we can coordinate with certified translators to obtain sworn translations where these are required for immigration-related applications.
Entry Visa (Schengen D Type) Applications (Switzerland)
For Schengen applications, we are able to assist with the entry visa, leveraging our network of affiliated Onsaemi worldwide partners across Europe and around the world.
Immigration Services for Spouses and Dependents (Switzerland)
We provide full support to dependents involved in immigration processes in Switzerland. Specifically, we guide assignees on the optimum immigration strategies for accompanying dependents, partnering closely with them and their dependents to prepare all required documentation for timely application processing in Switzerland, and to help them maintain compliance with immigration process requirements in Switzerland for the duration of their stay. In addition, we assist with renewals and/or changes to dependent immigration status. Support includes assistance with Ci permit applications for dependents of international organization employees; C permit tracking and maintenance cases; and applications to bring newborn children “in line” with the status of the foreign national parents.
Notification Procedure Applications (Switzerland)
We assist with applications under the Swiss notification procedure.
Registration at Commune of Residence (Switzerland)
We assist with registration requirements in the commune of the individual’s residence.
For all work and residence permits mentioned above, we are able to assist with applications to renew applicants’ status, where applicable.
Short-term Work Permits (Switzerland)
We assist with short-term permits, including ‘quota-free’ or those for stays of 120 days or less.
Value-added Services (Switzerland)
Onsaemi worldwide’s fixed transactional fees include a range of benefits for which other firms charge significant fees. For example, our clients have access to Onsaemi worldwide’s proprietary, worldwide case management portal, which allows authorized stakeholders and assignees within their company to track cases in progress, current status, and critical expiration dates.
Work Permit Applications and Related Processes (Switzerland)
We provide full support for L, B and G work permit applications and related processes.
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