Switzerland: Country-Specific Brexit Information

December 16, 2020 Lucy Halse

UK nationals who have been legally living in Switzerland before December 31, 2020 when the UK withdraws from the EU may continue to live, study, and work in Switzerland through rights established through the Withdrawal Agreement. UK nationals who are residents of Switzerland by the end of the Brexit transition will be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, and their rights will be protected if they remain a resident. UK nationals should make sure they are registered as residents.

Entry and Residency Requirements

UK nationals will be able to stay in Switzerland if they were residents before December 31, 2020.

UK nationals must register at the local office of resident services in the municipality where they are staying within 14 days of moving to Switzerland. UK nationals only need to apply for a residence permit if they are staying for more than 90 days. UK nationals who need a residence permit can apply for one with the local cantonal authority in the municipality where they live. UK nationals who have a current residence permit should apply for a new one before their existing one expires, regardless of whether they are short-term or long-term permit holders or have a frontier worker permit.

UK nationals who move to Switzerland from January 1, 2021 on must meet requirements set forth in the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act. All arriving UK nationals must have a work permit, and they are subject to a quota for UK nationals. UK nationals who have an international permit are not in the scope of the UK-Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement. Individuals in this category will not be affected by the Brexit transition.

Starting on January 1, 2021, travel is permitted in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in a 180-day period without a visa to visit family or friends; attend business meetings, sports events, or cultural events; for tourism, and for short-term study or training. Travelers should note that visits to other Schengen countries within the previous 180 days also count towards the 90-day maximum stay. Any days spent in Switzerland before January 1, 2021 will not count towards the 90-day limit.

Working in Switzerland

UK nationals who are residents of Switzerland before the Brexit transition can continue working in the country in 2021.

UK nationals who plan to work in Switzerland for less than 90 days do not need a residence permit, but they must submit an online notification form before they start work. UK nationals who plan to live and work in Switzerland for more than three months need a residence permit. Individuals who work eight or more hours each week are covered against occupational and non-occupational accidents through their employer.

UK nationals may need a UK police certificate to work in Switzerland. The certificate can be obtained from the ARCO Criminal Record Office.

Individuals who arrive in Switzerland after December 31, 2020 are subject to rules for non-EU nationals. They must apply for a work/residence permit prior to arrival, including for stays of less than 90 days.

Individuals who live in Switzerland and commute to work in another EU/EFTA country may need a permit proving that they are a frontier worker starting in January 2021. The Home Office will provide further details when guidance is available.

Passports

Travel rules will remain the same between Switzerland and the UK after the end of the Brexit transition. Rules on travel within the EU will stay the same through December 31, 2020. During that time, UK nationals may travel to countries in the EU and Schengen area with their UK passport. UK nationals should ensure that their passport is valid for the duration of their trip.

Starting on January 1, 2021, travel is permitted in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in a 180-day period without a visa to visit family or friends; attend business meetings, sports events, or cultural events; for tourism, and for short-term study or training. Travelers should note that visits to other Schengen countries within the previous 180 days also count towards the 90-day maximum stay. Any days spent in Switzerland before January 1, 2021 will not count towards the 90-day limit.

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