The ultimate guide for Switzerland work visa & its work permit


How do you feel about working in one of the safest countries in the world? It could be impeccable—a paradise for the rest of your life. But you need to apply for a Switzerland work visa to move there. Sounds tough, but no gain, no pain.

This article will tell you who is eligible for a Switzerland work visa, its eligibility principles, requirements, the application process, FAQs, and whatever you should know about it.


Who Needs a Switzerland Work Visa?

The answer to this question needs answers to the below questions:

  • The lengths of your stay in Switzerland
  • Your nationality

The determining lengths of stay are three months. Will you be staying up to 90 days or longer? The EU and EEA nationals do not need a visa for up to 90 days of stay in Switzerland. They do not need a Permit to work in the country either. To stay longer than 90 days and work, they need to apply for the appropriate Residence Permit.

One of the requirements for a Switzerland work visa is having a job offer. It is not true for the EU and EEA nationals. They can move there and look for a job. But to work longer than 90 days, they need a Residence Permit.


Non-EU nationals

Non-EU nationals need a work visa and Residence Permit. The visa is authorization to enter the country. But the Residence Permit is the permission to work in Switzerland. The Swiss employer applies for the Residence Permit in Switzerland. But the employee has to apply for a work visa from his/her home country.


Who needs a Switzerland work permit?

Anyone who wants to work in the country needs a Switzerland work permit or Swiss residence permit. The visa permits you to enter the country the Switzerland work permit is the permission to work legally in the country.

The point to remember is that you as the employee can not apply for the Switzerland work permit and it is the employer’s responsibility to apply for it. That is why it’s essential to find a potential employer who is willing to hire you as a foreign worker.

The employee needs to send some supporting documents to the employer so he/she can apply for the work permit. When the Swiss officials agree to issue the work permit and grant permission, the employee can apply for the work visa from his/her home country.


Switzerland residence permit

The residence permit for Switzerland or the Swiss residence permit is the authorization to stay in the country after you enter the country through a visa. In terms of working in the country, you need a Switzerland work permit which is the same as the residence permit.

If you want to apply for a work visa, the employer needs to apply for a work permit or residence permit. But if you apply for a student visa, the Switzerland residence permit or study permit is issued after you enter the country.


Working in Switzerland as an EU citizen (Swiss residence permit B)

The EU citizens and nationals can work in Switzerland without a work permit and work visa for up to 90 days. The employer must register the employee through the notification procedure for short-term work in Switzerland. But if the EU citizens need to work for longer than 90 days, they must apply for a work permit.

The permit also gets called Swiss residence permit B or Resident foreign nationals.

The following documents are required to apply for a work permit:

  • a valid identity card or passport
  • confirmation of employment from your employer or a certificate of employment (e.g. an employment contract).

The EU or EFTA nationals have much less difficulty than non-EU nationals to work in Switzerland.

The validity of the EU nation’s work permit is up to the employment contract and they can extend it for up to five years which is again extendable.


Swiss residence permit for EU citizens

If the EU citizens want to work in Switzerland for longer than 90 days, they need a Swiss residence permit that gets called residence permit B or Resident foreign nationals.

The permit allows them to work in the country for one year and can get renewed for up to five years and can be extended further. The main point is to keep the employment contract.


What are the Requirements for Switzerland work visa?

There is one matter you should remember with the requirements for a Switzerland work visa. You need three formats for each piece of document. So apart from the original piece, you need two copies. The requirements are as follows:


Application form

Find the application form from the nearest Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country. Complete it with the correct form of relevant information. The language of the form could be in:

  • German
  • French
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • English



The passport you wish to travel with must be valid for at least three months over your work contract. It could not be older than ten years ago. Having at least two blank pages is a must.

Provide the following copies of your passport:

  • Pages 1-4.
  • The last page
  • The page contains the expiry date.



You need four photos of yourself. They all must be identical. The photos could not be older than three months to the date of application. Also, nothing could block your face:

  • Veil
  • Scarf
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat or cap
  • Unusual beard or mustache.

The photos must be passport-sized.


Work contract

Copies of the work contract between you and the Swiss employer.



Copies of your diplomas, or certificates along with the original form, are required.


Proof of experience

Provide evidence of all the professional work you have done.

Educational background

The officials need all the information about your educational history:

  • Majors that you have studied.
  • Colleges or Universities you have studied at.
  • Workshops you have participated in.
  • CV/Resume
  • Proof of accommodation

The officials need to know where you will stay in Switzerland. Make it clear. You could provide a rental agreement.

Note: have all of your documents translated into of the below languages:

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Italian

The Swiss officials might ask for additional requirements. You should be ready for it as well.

Who is Eligible for Switzerland Work Visa?

The Swiss government has put some standards over its work visa. Not everyone can apply for a Switzerland work visa. You have to comply with the following principles:


Job offer

The essential precondition is to have a job offer in Switzerland. A Swiss employer must offer you a job that you have expertise in it. The employer must have advertised for the job in Switzerland and the entire EU. If the Swiss employer has not been able to find an employee, you can take the job.

The job must meet the set standards. It must cover your expenses in Switzerland. Also, the agreement must lead to a work contract.



The employee must be a highly qualified person. He/she must have professional skills in the field.



You must have enough work experience in your field. Having 1-2 years might not suffice. Also, you must prove to the officials the gained experience.



Having a university degree is a must. If you don’t have one, you could provide a parallel qualification form a training academy.


Language proficiency

You must speak and write in the required language. The language depends on the area you live in. But holding an A1 level is mandatory. Remember that the job might require higher language proficiency.

If you are not fluent in the language, the officials might accept taking part in Switzerland’s language courses. Your employer could make sure of it. Ask the Swiss embassy/consulate in your home country. If they accept it, provide proof of enrollment.



The Swiss government puts a quota on the issued work visas. When you apply, the quota must not be full. It must allow you to get a work visa.


How to Apply for a Switzerland Work Visa?

You need to know one point before the application. There are 26 canton in Switzerland. A canton is a district or area in Switzerland. The rules and regulations might be different for a work visa. So, research about them. The following procedures are a general set to apply for a Switzerland work visa:


1. Do you need a work visa in Switzerland?

Wait a bit, then strike. Before you apply for a Switzerland work visa, ask do you need a visa? As the article explained, not everyone needs a Swiss work visa. The EU and EEA countries are free of it. See if you need a visa before applying.


2. Are you eligible?

You have no work experience. So you can not apply for a Switzerland work visa. There are a few principles about a work visa in Switzerland. You have to meet all of them. See the part above to get familiar with them. If you don’t, try to reach them. Work on your conditions to change them.


3. Job offer

The initial requirements for a work visa is a job offer. You could find a job through the internet or get help from the Recruitment agencies. Hundreds of them are available for service on the internet.

You and a swiss employer must agree on a work contract. Also, the offered job must fulfill the rules. It must pay you enough to live in Switzerland.


4. Residence permit

The Swiss employer has to begin the application process. Remember that you and the employer must keep in contact with each other. There are a few documents and information that the employer needs to begin the application.

The employer will visit the local Immigration Service in his/her canton. He/she must inform and prove to them that no one is available in the EU or EEA for the job. The local will evaluate the employee’s conditions. They will inform the Federal Office for Migration (FOM) for approval. If the FOM approves the case, they will notify:

  • The Swiss employer
  • The local Immigration Authorities at the canton.
  • The Swiss embassy in your home country.

Now you can apply for a Switzerland work visa.


5. Apply for the Swiss work visa

There is no obligation to wait until this stage. You could begin the procedure for a work visa a bit early. But you must be 100% sure that the government issues the Residence Permit.

Since you will be working in Switzerland for the long-term, you need a Switzerland long-stay visa. It is no task to apply for a work visa from your home country. Find the nearest Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country. Receive the application form from them. You could be able to get it from their website. Complete it with correct and honest information. What you provide in your application must be identical to your documents. It is particularly true with your passport.

Look at your names. The dictation of your names is important. “Hussein” is a common Arabic name. Its dictation is like this in the passports. But people write in “Hossein” or “Hosseyn.” It will be a shame to make a mistake like this with your name.

When completed, print the application three times. Sign and date the three formats.


6. Requirements

You have to collect a few documents for a work visa in Switzerland. They are an essential part of the application. See the section above to get familiar with them. There is one key point with the requirements for a Switzerland work visa. You need THREE formats for each piece of documents.

Engrave the point in your mind that you need THREE PIECES of each document. Provide two copies for each piece of the original document.


7. Visa appointment

Set a visa meeting with the Swiss embassy or consulate. Go to the embassy on the exact date. Try to arrive a few minutes early. Bring with yourself all the requirements.

The embassy’s officials will investigate your documents. They might require you to submit more documents. Consider this point to your mind. The authorities might ask about your background. If so, give true and honest answers.


8. Processing

Now is the time to wait for processing your visa. It takes about 2-3 weeks until the embassy works on your visa. When they issue the visa, you can move to Switzerland. But, you have to receive your Residence Permit upon arrival. The employer and officials of the canton will guide you.


Do I need a Residence permit for a Switzerland work visa?

Yes. All non-EU residents must receive a residence permit to work in Switzerland. The Swiss employer has to apply for the Residence Permit. The employee will apply to receive it upon arriving in Switzerland.

The Swiss Residence Permit you will receive is different. There are different types of it. Each one of them has its rules and limitations. You must know them and obey its regulations.


Swiss Residence Permit L

The L Residence permit is valid for one year. You may not change your employer or company. Often, you might be able to extend the permit for another one year. But, the L permit does not allow you to work for longer than two years in Switzerland.


Swiss Residence Permit B

The validity of Permit B is two years. However, you have the authorization to extend it for five years. You may extend it for another five years. The government allows you to extend a Permit B every year. Yet, you have to:

  • Keep the employment contract with your initial employer.
  • Stay in the canton of your employer and not leave it.
  • Keep working for the same fist employer.

When you live in Switzerland for ten years under Residence Permit B, you can apply for Permanent Residency. The US and Canadian residents have to live for five years to be eligible for Permanent Residency.


Swiss Residence Permit C

When you have lived in Switzerland for TEN years, you become eligible for Permanent Residency or Permit C. It allows you:

  • To live anywhere in Switzerland you want.
  • Work for any employer you find.
  • Change jobs as you wish.

Bear in mind that only Residence Permit C allows you to become self-employed in Switzerland.


How long is the Switzerland Work Visa valid for?

There is not an initial definite answer to this question. It depends on your Residence permit. As the text covered above, there are different types of Residence Permits for Switzerland. The validity of the Residence Permit determines how long you can stay in Switzerland. Also, if you manage to keep working in Switzerland, you can stay. You can stay until you have a work contract.


Can I Extend Switzerland Work Visa?

You have permission to extend your work visa to Switzerland. However, there is a precondition for it. You can extend the Residence Permit if you have a job offer. In fact, if you continue your work contract with the Swiss employer, you can stay in the country. Remember that the conditions of each residence permit are different. See the section above to know about them.


Switzerland work visa for Indian

The Indian nationals can apply for a Switzerland work visa and they need a work permit as well. First, you need to find a job or employer who is willing to hire you in Switzerland.

The following websites can help you to find a job in Switzerland

  • The Local
  • JobScout24
  • Wiley Job Network
  • Jobs in Geneva
  • Jobs in Zurich
  • Top Language Jobs
  • The Local
  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor
  • Jobs
  • Jobscout 24
  • JobUp
  • Jobwinner
  • Monster
  • Seasonworkers – ski jobs
  • StepStone
  • Total jobs
  • Google For Jobs


Some large companies and corporations are situated in Switzerland and they always need skilled workers and employees. You can contact them and ask if they recruit new staff or not or follow their recruitment ads. Some of the largest companies are as follows:

  • Glencore International
  • ABB
  • Novartis
  • SGS
  • Roche
  • Zurich
  • Credit Suisse
  • Adecco


If you find a job, you can hope to receive a Switzerland work permit and a work visa.  The above information can help you in the process.


Switzerland work visa requirements for Pakistani nationals

The requirements for a Switzerland work visa mentioned on this page are all required for Pakistani nationals who want to receive a work visa.

Before applying, see the eligibility principles and see if you are qualified for the program or not.

The point to remember is that the Swiss authorities have strict rules and regulations and pick on the supporting documents.

You would better double-check everything and ensure they are according to the rules.

Also, the Swiss embassy in Pakistan could require further supporting documents and requirements. The decision is with them and that might not be the same for everyone.


Switzerland work permit for Indian

The Indian nationals who have a good resume can look for a job in Switzerland. If they find a job and an employer who wants to bring the person to the country, they can hope to receive a work permit.

But the employee can not apply for a work permit and only the employer can apply for it. The first and foremost rule is that the employer must apply for a work permit. You just have to convince him/her to hire you and take all the necessary steps.

When you send the requirements to the employer, he/she applies for the work permit. When it is issued, you gather the requirements for the Switzerland work visa and apply to the Swiss embassy in New Delhi, Mumbai, or Bengaluru.


Switzerland work visa fees for Indian citizens

Switzerland’s work visa fee is $97 according to Swiss officials. But the Indian nationals might have to pay more or less by their conditions and the services provided by the Swiss embassy in India. There are three Swiss embassies in India and each one of them might require a different fee.

You would better ask them about the fee and prepare enough money to pay it.


Let’s sum up…

This article brought you all you should know about Switzerland’s work visa. It covered who needs a work visa to Switzerland, requirements, the application process, FAQs, and more.

Providing that you need to know more about other types of Switzerland visas, visit the left-sidebar.

If you seek to gain information about other country’s visas, go to the homepage of the Visa Library.

Visa applicants beg you to share your knowledge about visas if you have any. They are valuable tips for candidates to avoid mistakes.

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Comments (2)

  • Tori Reply

    I haven’t got much experience in my career. Is it plausible that I get a Switzerland work visa?

    June 22, 2021 at 10:30 am
    • Support Reply

      Hello there. Thanks for leaving a comment on our website. You must have enough work experience in your field. Having 1-2 years might not suffice. Also, you must prove to the officials the gained experience.

      June 22, 2021 at 10:30 am

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