Arriving in Switzerland
Working and establishing residence in Switzerland require permits. Particularly, in order to receive a salary, you require a work permit.
The work permit and related administrative aspects will be handled by the HR office of the University, supported by the departmental secretaries.
The process is different for citizens of member countries of EU/EFTA and all other countries (see below). Note that temporary measures may differ for some EU countries.
Overview of ID and visa provisions according to nationality.
No visa needed. Note that temporary measures may be announced for some EU countries. More information.
Non EU/EFTA Citizens
IMPORTANT: This process might take several months, so plan well in advance
- Before arrival to Switzerland, the employer (HR office at the University of Fribourg) will apply for the required permit at the canton’s labour office (Service de la population et des migrants, SPoMi).
- In parallel you must apply for a working visa in the Swiss embassy / consulate of your home country.
- Once the work permit is granted (by SPoMi), it will be sent directly to the Swiss Embassy, which in turn will issue the correct visa.
- This visa can only be issued at your resident country and not in Switzerland.
- EU/EFTA citizens
Upon arrival to Switzerland, you will have to apply for a residence permit at the ‘Cantonal Immigration and Labor Market Authority’ of the canton you decide to settle (in Fribourg) and at your municipality:
- Registration at the canton service (Service de la population et des migrants/Amt für Bevölkerung und Migration www.fr.ch/spomi).
- After reciept of confirmation from the canton, registration at the office of your municipality (Administration Communale / Gemeindeverwaltung)
Check for the required documents to avoid multiple visits. Typically, you will need:
- A work contract (which you will receive from the HR Unifr)
- A valid ID or passport
- Two passport pictures
Short summary of Swiss residence permits
- B - temporary residence, typically issued to EU/EFTA citizens for 5 years and to non-EU citizens with a yearly renewal.
- C - permanent residence, can be applied for after 5 years of residence. Professors and their family can apply upon arrival.
- L - Short term for periods of 3 months up to 1 year.
A good source of information is www.ch.ch/en/entry-stay-switzerland/
Moving your household to Switzerland is tax and customs-free, but requires customs formalities, even for relocation within Europe. Typically the removal company will arrange this, but be aware of the following:
- All household goods (including vehicles) must be owned 6 months or more before change of residence
- Pets, require vaccination documents
The following documents are required:
- Swiss work and residence permit
- Rental contract / house title
- Detailed inventory
- Swiss custom form 18.44
For more information check the webpage of the Swiss customs authorities.
Finding accommodation in Fribourg and surrounding areas is less challenging than in the bigger Swiss cities (such as Geneva lake or Zurich). Most newcomers to Switzerland initially rent an apartment / a house. Swiss rental contracts tend to be rather presciptive in terms of number of persons allowed, pets, subletting and cancellation conditions. Therefore read the contract very carefully.
For signing a contract you will need:
- a copy of your residence permit,
- a copy of your passport,
- a recent salary certificate, less than three months old, or a copy of the employment contract,
- 'Attestation de Non Poursuite' (Proof of having no debts, optional)
Links to some estate search engines:
It is possible to use the services of professional relocation agencies.
When renting a house you will also have to consider the insurance. Usually property rental will require a general liability insurance (assurance responsabilité civile / Haftpflichtversicherung). In Switzerland such an insurance is very common (even when not required for property rental), since it covers liability for damage to any type of property.
A further insurance to consider is a household insurance (assurance ménage/ Hausratversicherung) covering your belongings in the house in case of any property damage (fire, water, etc.). This is optional and requires a careful estimation of the value of your belongings.
Switzerland is a federal state. This has important implication for you: many rules are decided at the canton level rather than the national level and vary between the cantons.
Regulations regarding residence registration, taxation, or school holidays are some examples.