Local registration is the final step of the immigration process. It will only be successful if the correct immigration process for each individual family member has been followed. For more information, visit the website of the Swiss Federal Office of Migration or contact the municipality (commune/Gemeinde) of your area of proposed residence.
- Understand the immigration and registration system
- Check opening times and location of the immigration office
- Call ahead to check document and biometric requirements and to arrange appointments
- Bring documents to the immigration office to complete registration
- Receive your residence and/or work permit
Need to know
- All newcomers need to register at their local municipality (commune/Gemeinde) within 8 days of entering Switzerland and prior to their first working day
- Non-EU/EFTA citizens who require a single entry work/ residence visa will need to officially enter Switzerland before expiration of their visa
- Non-EU/EFTA citizens will need to make a multiple entry request should they need to travel internationally before the final permit is issued
- Proof of local residence/address is required for registration. This can be a temporary accommodation address which must be valid until issue of the final residence/work permit
- Change of address within the same canton can be easily processed when permanent accommodation is confirmed
- The residence permit issued for non-EU/EFTA individuals will enable them to travel throughout the Schengen area without a visa
Note: The authorities in some cantons will require full payment of fees in cash upon registration, so plan to have the cash with you. In other cantons, the authorities will send an invoice.
How to proceed
- Register at the local registration office of your commune/Gemeinde in person (usually including all family members)
- Check location and opening hours online
- The standard list of registration documents includes:
- Valid ID or passports of each family member
- Up to 3 passport photographs of each family member
- Birth certificates of children
- Marriage certificate or decree absolute (if applicable)
- May need certified translation if from a non EUcountry
- Residential lease contract
- Work contract or confirmation of admission to higher
- For non-EU/EFTA citizens: police record from your
home country, work permit and entry visa
- Other documents may be required depending on
the local authority's requirements. Call your local
commune/Gemeinde first to inquire about required
documents before going there to register
- Ask at your commune/Gemeinde when you can expect to receive your final permit. In the event of a long delay, ask for an attestation of residence to help you with other administration you will encounter during your relocation process
- Citizens from non-EU/EFTA countries will also be invited to go the relevant cantonal office to submit their biometric data to comply with Schengen regulations
All newcomers need to register at the town hall of their local municipality (commune/Gemeinde) within 8 days of entering Switzerland and prior to their first working day.
The final work permit document will be issued between 2 and 4 weeks after your registration date.
Non-EU/EFTA citizens need to begin their immigration process 2 - 3 months before their target move date.
Where to find help
Contacting an immigration specialist is highly recommended for non-EU/EFTA citizens and for EU/EFTA citizens arriving without a permanent local work contract.
Do you have all the right documents? Can you communicate with the officials at town hall?
Let the experts handle it for you
Gordana Muggler is Head of Global Mobility and HR Services at BDO Switzerland. Gordana and her team of immigration specialists are here to support you and your family members on any matters related to immigration.