Everyone, including EU nationals, requires a residence permit if their stay in Switzerland exceeds three months. In an effort to limit immigration from non-EU/EFTA countries, Swiss authorities impose strict annual limitations on the number of residence and work permits granted to foreigners.
A residence permit can be obtained from the Cantonal Migration Office responsible for your place of residence in Switzerland. A list of all cantonal migration and labor market authorities can be found on the website of the Federal Office for Migration.
All such permits are issued in form of paper identity cards to EU and Schengen nationals. As of 2011, all third-country nationals will receive a new biometric foreigner’s identity card in compliance with EU regulations. The biometric data (two fingerprints and a passport photograph) will be stored in an invisible chip on the card and deleted after five years once the person has left the country
The following types of residence permits are available for expats:
For more information on these different types of residence permits, their requirements, as well as how to become a Swiss citizen, please refer to our in-depth article on Swiss residence permits.
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