Annex 1

Types of Swiss Work and Residence Permits

The following is an overview of the various types of residence and work permits issued to foreigners in Switzerland.

Please note that work permits are issued by the Swiss authorities depending - among other factors - on how many permits have already been issued previously to the respective Swiss employer requesting the employment of foreigners. Therefore, if a particular employer already has too many foreigners compared to Swiss residents on their payroll, it may be difficult to obtain a permit even though all other conditions are met.

On 1 June 2002 the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the European Union have come into force. From that date, new, less restrictive regulations apply to citizens of EU and EFTA member states, and different categories of permits are issued to EU/EFTA citizens.

Permits issued to Non-EU/EFTA citizens

Annual Work or
Residence Permit

authorisation annually)


Issued usually for 12 months, annually renewable; B-permit is the standard Swiss residence/work permit giving its holder full residence status

Permit is either issued indefinitely or for a maximum of 4 years; family is allowed to stay in Switzerland; employer must prove necessity for employing the foreigner; quota restrictions apply

Permanent Residence Permit
autorisation d'establissement)


Generally issued after 5 or 10 years of residence in Switzerland (depending on bilateral conventions between Switzerland and the foreigner's country of citizenship); issued indefinitely; C-Permit gives its holder permanent residence status with the same rights as Swiss citizens (except political).

Controlled every 3 years; permit becomes invalid if holder leaves the country for more than 6 consecutive months.