Switzerland is not a member of the European Union. It has however signed the Agreement of the free movement of persons and is therefore part of the Schengen/Dublin area, thus promoting the free movement of persons under certain conditions.
However, the Swiss system for granting permits and nationality remains complex and may be subject to quotas, depending on the nationality of the applicant. In some cases, powers are granted to cantons and communes as well.
For EU/EFTA citizens, obtaining a permit has become more flexible in recent years, while for third-country nationals, obtaining a permit remains a complicated process. However, it is likely that in the context of a global crisis, such as the health crisis that was declared in spring 2020, the entry and residence conditions in Switzerland will be tightened, for EU/EFTA nationals as well.
There are a large number of different permits required to enable non-nationals to work and/or reside in Switzerland: short-term permit (L Permit), residence permit (B Permit), settlement permit (C Permit), residence permit for gainful employment (Ci Permit), cross-border commuter permit (G Permit), etc.
Our specialised immigration lawyers advise individuals from the EU/EFTA and third countries on residence with gainful employment, residence without gainful employment, such as for obtaining a lump-sum taxation benefit in some Swiss cantons, residence for educational purposes or family reunification.
Our specialists in the field of law on foreign nationals assist and advice also companies in Switzerland that must obtain and renew a Swiss working permit for their foreign employees.
Since 2018, Switzerland has made the conditions for granting naturalisation more stringent. Obtaining Swiss nationality, whether through ordinary naturalisation or through facilitated naturalisation, is therefore not an easy task, especially since the cantons and communes have certain powers and these vary from canton to canton and from commune to commune.
Our immigration lawyers provide their support to European Union and third-country nationals in these naturalisation procedures, represent them wherever possible before the administrative authorities that have to issue the certificates required as part of naturalisation applications and, if necessary, before the competent judicial authorities.