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Moving to St. Gallen?

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St. Gallen at a Glance

Moving to St. Gallen

With expats making up close to a third of the local population, so expats moving to St. Gallen can look forward to relocating to a very multicultural city with a long and impressive history. So get prepared and read up on Swiss visa regulations, the city itself, as well as tips for your housing hunt.

About St. Gallen

St. Gallen is located in Switzerland; it’s the center of eastern Switzerland as well as a fairly large urban area. It’s populated by just fewer than 75,000 people and covers about 15 square miles. As of 2011, approximately 30% of the population is made up of foreign nationals and the ageing percentage of the population is relatively small compared with that of the rest of the world.

The most commonly spoken language is German, but some also speak Italian (the second most common language in St. Gallen). Finally, a very small number of people — less than 5% — speak Serbo-Croatian. The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc.

St. Gallen’s heritage lies in the textile industry, with a tradition in high quality textiles going back to the 15th century. Local historians have recorded a similarly prosperous time in the aftermath of the first depression of mid-18th century, embroidery machines continued to be developed throughout the 19th century. 

Visas for Switzerland

According to the Freedom of Movement Act, all EU nationals have the right to move to Switzerland. However, to move to Switzerland as an expat you would need to apply for a visa, a residence permit (this is for stays longer than three months) and a work permit.

If you’re moving to Switzerland, the visa you need to apply for is the long-term national visa — this is subject to authorization, so it’s recommended that you have a job to come to before applying. The visa application will need to be submitted to the Swiss embassy in your own country, you can find out where that is on this website: Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.The application form must be accompanied by your passport or travel ID, proof of health insurance including accident cover, bank or salary statement to prove you have adequate financial resources. You can find the application form here.

It’s important to remember that you have one fortnight following your arrival in Switzerland to register at your local Residents Registration Office and arrange to get your residence permit from the cantonal migration offices.

Finding Accommodation in St. Gallen

Websites such as Home Gate are great for looking for homes to rent or buy. Houses, villas and chalets are the common homes of people in St. Gallen. The average price for a regular sized house is around 600,000 CHF and to rent is between 1,000 CHF and 2,000 CHF per calendar month. Other great property searching sites include Inmmoscout 24, and Engel Voelkers

InterNations Expat Magazine