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ChSwitzerland Visas
& Permits.










Country Capital



Swiss franc (CHF)

With everything from short- and long-term residence permits, special work permits, and self-employment visas available, it can be challenging to determine which visa employees need to work in Switzerland.

Types of work visas in Switzerland

Before delving into the different types of work permits, companies should know that the requirements differ based on nationality. Citizens from the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries face fewer hurdles and do not have international worker quotas (except Croatian nationals).

Switzerland is part of the Schengen area; therefore, a Swiss Visa enables free travel to other member countries. If you’re hiring EU/EFTA nationals, they can apply for 1 of the following options:

  • Permit L: This permit suits short-term residents who want to live in Switzerland for less than a year. Applicants will need an employment contract valid for 3 to 12 months, and the visa will match that length.
  • Permit B: Expats who want to live in Switzerland for longer than a year can apply for a B permit if they have an employment contract lasting at least 12 months.
  • Permit G: Cross-border commuters who work in Switzerland but live in a border zone are eligible for a G permit. They must return to their main place of residence at least once a week.

Requirements to obtain Switzerland work visas

When it comes to non-EU/EFTA nationals as well as Croatian nationals, the government in Switzerland has put quotas in place that limit the number of permits distributed each year. Once the quota is reached, expats have to wait another year to apply for the permit. Since Switzerland comprises 26 cantons, or member states, requirements also vary among locations.

Non-EU/EFTA citizens face many requirements. For example, non-Swiss nationals have to be fluent and literate at a certain level in their canton’s dominant language.

Other qualifications and requirements include:

  • Holding a skilled position
  • Possessing a university or similar degree from a higher education institution
  • Having several years of professional work experience
  • Completing the application form
  • Providing 2 passport photos
  • Presenting the original passport and copies of previous visas
  • Ensuring 2 blank passport pages

Employers also need to fulfill certain requirements. First, companies must prove that it wasn’t possible to find a qualified local employee from Switzerland to fill the position. Companies will also need to explain the need for the job vacancy and proof that it was advertised to citizens of Switzerland.

Application process

Switzerland leaves much of its governmental decisions up to each canton. This changes the application process and cost by region and is also impacted by the employee’s originating country. You can find the application form for each specific canton authority on the cantons’ websites.

Other important considerations

EU and EFTA nationals holding a Swiss residence permit or short-stay permit may bring:

  • Their spouse as well as their own children or their spouse’s children (who are under the age of 21 or receive support).
  • Their own parents or their spouse’s parents who receive support (this option is not available for students).

This provision applies regardless of the nationality of the family members.

Discover how G-P can help you manage your global teams.

At G-P, we’re committed to breaking down barriers to global business, enabling opportunity for everyone, everywhere, and helping companies tap into the fullest potential of their workforce. We help you maintain full compliance with local laws and ensure everything from hiring and onboarding to paying your employees is quick and easy, regardless of where they are in the world.

Find out more about how our Global Growth Platform™ can help you grow your team across the globe.

For this particular location, G-P may offer support in the processing of certain work visas and permits. Contact us today to assess your specific needs.


THIS CONTENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL OR TAX ADVICE. You should always consult with and rely on your own legal and/or tax advisor(s). G-P does not provide legal or tax advice. The information is general and not tailored to a specific company or workforce and does not reflect G-P’s product delivery in any given jurisdiction. G-P makes no representations or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of this information and shall have no liability arising out of or in connection with it, including any loss caused by use of, or reliance on, the information.

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