- Migrants can choose between short-stay visas and long-stay visas
- Both visas are available as a single entry and multiple entry visas
- If the person intends on staying in Switzerland for more than 3 months, a permanent residence permit is also required.
Many people look at Switzerland as a place they would like to settle down in. In fact, a majority of the population consists of migrants. The cultural diversity, standard of living and environment are only some of the reasons why people choose to migrate to Switzerland. Read to know more about how you too can move to Switzerland.
For migrants, the scenic beauty of Switzerland is as appealing as its strong currency and economy. With about one-fourth of its population born outside the country, Switzerland is one of the two countries with the highest proportion of migrants. Australia is the other country.
According to a study conducted in 2010, Switzerland also has the highest Potential Net Migration Index amongst European countries. Migrants to Switzerland come from across the world but a majority of its migrants are from neighboring European countries.
|Country||Europe||Swiss-born||Africa||America||Asia, Oceania and Stateless|
|Percentage of Population||60.2%||12.7%||6.8%||4.9%||15.5%|
Why Migrate to Switzerland?
There are many reasons people migrate to Switzerland. The country has a rich economy and has ample job opportunities. The salaries offered in Switzerland are often double or triple the salaries offered in other European countries.
It also boasts of an excellent educational system, quality health care and a high quality of life. It is one of the most stable democracies in the world. Life in Switzerland is safe and calm. Given its high migrant population, it is easy for a foreigner to integrate himself or herself into the Swiss community.
Who needs a Swiss permit or visa?
Not everyone who chooses to migrate to Switzerland needs a visa. Since Switzerland is part of the Schengen area, citizens of the other 25 Schengen countries do not need a visa or permit to travel to Switzerland. Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein also form the European Free trade Association (EFTA). Through the European Economic Area (EEA), the EFTA and EU members can enjoy a free market.
The Freedom of Movement Act allows almost all EU and EFTA nationals to move to Switzerland, While they do not need a visa, they will have to apply for residence permits if they intend on staying in Switzerland for more than 3 months. Citizens of some of the newer EU member countries such as Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania may be subject to special rules.
Types of Swiss visas
Since Switzerland is part of the Schengen area, a valid Schengen visa allows a person to travel to Switzerland. There are two main types of visas a person may choose between when they migrate to Switzerland. The main difference between these two visas is the duration of stay permitted by them.
Short Stay Visa or Uniform Schengen Visa
This visa allows the holder to reside in Switzerland for up to 90 days in a six month period. These 90 days begin from the date of entry. Thus, even if the visa is valid for 1 year, the person may not spend more than 90 days at a stretch in the country. This visa also allows the person to travel to other Schengen countries. A short stay visa may be given in the form of:
This visa allows the person who wants to migrate to Switzerland to enter the Schengen area only once. Hence if he or she leaves the Schengen area, they may not be allowed to re-enter with the same visa even if their visa is still valid.
This visa allows the person to enter the Schengen area twice. After leaving the Schengen for the second time, the person may not return to Switzerland even if the visa is still valid.
This visa allows a person to enter and exit the Schengen area as many times as they would like as long as their visa is valid. There are three different types of multiple entry visas.
- 180-day MEV
- 3-year MEV
- 5-year MEV
Long Stay Visa or National Visa
Anyone who wants to migrate to Switzerland to study, work or reside in the country for more than 3 months needs to apply for this visa. This may be obtained as a single entry visa or a multiple entry visa. To be eligible for this visa, the applicant must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- He or she must be an international student enrolled in a full course in Switzerland. In this case, the visa is usually granted for 1 year. It may be extended at the end of this time period.
- The applicant must be involved in pedagogical work at a research center or higher education institute.
- The applicant must be an artist, sportsman or professional of any other kind who wants to migrate to Switzerland to share his or her expertise.
- The applicant must have a medical condition that does not permit them from leaving Switzerland at the end of their current visa validity.
Basic Visa Requirements to Migrate to Switzerland
To apply for a short stay or long stay visa, the documents required include:
Passport – This passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the intended return. It should have at least 2 blank pages.
Visa Application Form – The visa application form is available online and can be downloaded freely. This may be filled in by hand or typed out.
Passport Photograph -2 passport photographs are required when applying for a visa to migrate to Switzerland. These photographs must meet all the specifications below.
- It must have been taken within the last 6 months and reflect how you look currently.
- It must be taken against a plain, neutral backdrop
- Size: 35mm x 45mm
- It must be well-focused, clear and printed on glossy paper
- The applicant’s face must make up 70% of the frame
- The applicant’s ears, forehead, and chin must be clearly visible.
- The applicant must be photographed with a neutral expression while looking straight into the camera.
- If glasses are worn, they must not cause a reflection or cast a shadow on the applicant’s face
- Sunglasses and tinted glasses are not permitted
- Headwear is permitted only if worn for religious reasons. In such cases, it must not cover any part of the face.
Travel Insurance -A person who wishes to migrate to Switzerland must have travel insurance of at least 30,000 Euros.
Hotel Reservations – Proof of appropriate stay arrangements is a must. This may be in the form of hotel bookings or an invitation from friends and family members in Switzerland.
Holiday Itinerary – This is required in the case of short-stay visas.
Proof of Financial Sufficiency -The person must be able to prove that he or she has enough money available so as to be able to spend a minimum of 92.34 Euro per day. In the case of students, this amount is only 27.7 Euros per day.
Cover Letter – Lastly, every application should be accompanied by a cover letter. This gives a list of the documents supporting the application and the reason for applying for the visa.
Swiss Residence Permit
Any foreigner who wants to migrate to Switzerland for more than 3months needs to apply for a residence permit. This includes EU and EFTA nationals. There are 3 main types of Swiss residence permits.
Permit L (short-term residence permit)
This is a biometric card that is valid for 1 year and maybe later renewed for one more year. It is usually linked to a company or job.
Permit B (initial or temporary residence permit)
This is a biometric card that is valid for 1 year and may be renewed. To be eligible for this the applicant must have a permanent work contract or be enrolled in a full-term study course. A limited number of these residence permits are awarded each year.
Permit C (settlement permit)
This biometric card permits the person to migrate to Switzerland permanently and may be renewed whenever needed. It is issued after the applicant has spent 10 years continuously in Switzerland. In the case of Canadian and US citizens, this time period is reduced to 5 years.