Are you a lawyer and want to immigrate and work in Switzerland? It’s one of the wealthiest countries in the world. The quality of life, safety, thousands of places to see, and being in the center of the EU make it a perfect destination for lawyers.
This article from the Visa Library brings you how you can immigrate and work in Switzerland as a lawyer. The way you have to follow is up to your nationality and conditions.
How to work as a lawyer in Switzerland?
You must be a verified lawyer to represent clients in a Swiss court of law. To be eligible and work in the country as a lawyer is up to your nationality.
EU and EFTA nationals.
The EU and EFTA lawyers have permission to represent clients in a Swiss court occasionally. But if they want to work as a lawyer in Switzerland on a regular basis and represent clients, they must pass the registration exam with the cantonal bar they want to work in. The rules and regulations depend on the canton you want to work as a lawyer.
You’d better contact the authorities in the canton you want to work to know about the rules and regulations of your conditions.
If you are a lawyer in the EU but not a national of the EU, you might not be able to work as a lawyer freely in Switzerland. You have to register with the officials and then practice law in the country.
The EU national who wants to work as a lawyer in Switzerland must contact the Bar Committee in the canton they want to work to register or get approval.
Non-EU and non-EFTA nationals.
If you are a non-EU and non-EFTA national, you can not register with Swiss officials. You have to get a MA degree from a Swiss university or law school, then pass the bar exam and meet the other requirements to get admitted to the bar association.
Follow these steps to become a lawyer in Switzerland.
Find a Swiss university that offers a law course.
If you are a non-EU and non-EFTA national and want to work in Switzerland as a lawyer, you need to study at a Swiss university and get a degree. For the first step, you have to find a Swiss university that offers a law course and provides it to international students. This is the point you must be careful about. Determine whether the university provides the course to foreign students or not.
The other point you need to consider is that you need to stay a BA degree and then a MA degree to work as a lawyer in Switzerland.
If you have already got your BA and want to study for a MA degree in Switzerland, you need to determine whether the canton law permits you to work as a lawyer or not. You have to find out whether you can take the bar exam, and after passing it and the training course, it allows you to work as a lawyer or not.
This is a slit of the Swiss universities that offer a law course;
- University of Basel,
- University of Bern,
- University of Lausanne,
- University of Fribourg,
- University of Lucerne,
- University of St. Gallen,
- University of Neuchatel,
- University of Geneva
- University of Zurich.
Visit the university website and determine the admission requirements;
- Latest education degree.
- Language proficiency.
You need to fulfill the requirements and apply to the university.
Get admission to the university.
Fulfill the university requirements and apply to them. You have to find out each university’s requirements and meet them all.
Getting admission to a Swiss university is the first step you have to pass. You need an admission letter from a Swiss university to continue the rest of the procedure.
It takes time until the Swiss university works on your application and decides whether to grant permission or not. After they decide and the answer is positive, they will send you an admission letter. Now you can continue the process and apply for a student visa.
Apply for a Switzerland student visa.
As a non-EU national who wants to study in Switzerland, you need a student visa. As the course takes longer than 90 days and it’s about 3 years, you can not use the visa-waived agreement. Every non-EU national who wants to study for the long term needs a student visa. Follow these steps to receive your student visa;
Gathering the documents.
You have to gather a list of documents to prove you are eligible to study and receive a Switzerland student visa. This is a sample list of the documents you have to gather;
- Admission letter
- Valid passport.
- Application form.
- Proof of having enough funds
- Payment of tuition
- Latest education documents
- Cover letter
- Commitment letter
- Health insurance
- Proof of accommodation
- Clean record certificate
You can visit the Switzerland student visa article on the Visa Library to learn more about the process and the detail of the documents you have to gather.
The above list is a sample of the documents you have to collect. The Swiss embassy in your home country might ask for further documents. You’d better visit their website or email them to know the full list of the documents.
Visit the Swiss embassy/consulate.
After or while gating the documents, you have to schedule a meeting with the Swiss embassy/consulate in your home country. You’d better do research to find out who is responsible for visa processing in your home country.
Whoever is responsible, schedule a meeting with them and find out how you can do it. You might have to visit them, email them, or call them.
Visit the center on the scheduled date and bring all the collected documents. Do not miss anything. Remember that you need 3 copies of each document you have gathered.
Submit the documents to the officials, pay the visa processing fees, and answer their questions regarding your studies in Switzerland. This is the interview, and you have to give true and honest answers. If the official donut you have another purpose, they might reject your application.
Visa processing by the embassy/consulate
After you are done with the embassy meeting, wait for the visa processing. The embassy works on your application and decides whether to issue the visa or not. If they reject the application, they will send a letter and inform you why.
If the decision is positive, they will inform you, and you have to submit your passport to get the visa label.
The way you have to submit your passport is with the embassy. You might have to deliver it in person or post it.
After you get the visa label, you can move to Switzerland to begin your studies.
You can visit the Switzerland student visa article from the menu or the link provided above to learn more about the process and things you have to do after arriving in Switzerland.
Complete your education.
You have to complete your education in Switzerland and get your BA and MA. During this time, you have to obey the national law.
You’d better work hard and get high scores as you will need to pass a training period and the bar exam. You need knowledge and some experience to pass these two steps.
You also need to get your MA degree from a Swiss university. So you have to do your best to get admitted to higher education for a MA degree.
Pass the apprenticeship course.
After you complete your education, the canton authorities determine a one or two-year apprenticeship program for you. You have to pass it and satisfy the requirements.
This is to get familiar with practical work experience and get familiar with the legal procedures in Switzerland.
You’d better work hard and gather as much experience and knowledge as you can during this period. You need them to pass the bar exam and work as a lawyer in the country.
Pass the bar exam.
After passing the apprenticeship, you have to pass the bar exam with the canton officials. The rules and regulations are a bit different for each canton, so it is with the requirements to become a lawyer.
The canton officials guide you on how to register and pass the bar exam. You can find information while passing the apprenticeship period or preparing yourself for it.
Get a work permit.
After passing all these stages, you can begin working as a lawyer in Switzerland. But you might have to apply for a work permit.
The non-EU nationals need a work permit to work in the EU and Switzerland. The local immigration office in the canton you live in will help you with the work permit requirements and the application.
What are the requirements to become a lawyer in Switzerland?
The requirements to immigrate and work in Switzerland as a lawyer are up to your nationality and conditions. You’d better read the above section once and then ask yourself about the requirements.
As explained, if you are an EU or EFTA national, you can work as a lawyer in occasional cases. But if you want to work regularly, you have to register with the canton officials or pass the bar exam. The rules and regulations are up to the canton your want to work in, and your conditions, whether you are an EU national or you are non-EU national with an EU degree.
These are the general requirements to immigrate and work in Switzerland as a lawyer, but your conditions are the determining factor;
Get admission to a Swiss university.
The non-EU and non-EFTA nationals need an educational degree to become a lawyer in Switzerland. So you have to get admission to a Swiss university that offers a law course.
You must be able to get admitted to the university and fulfill the requirements. They might differ for each university, and it’s your responsibility to find the requirements and fulfill them.
You can find a list of the universities from the above section and the requirements on their website.
Educational degree from Switzerland.
After you get admission to the Swiss university, you have to get your BA and MA degrees from the university. You must pass the courses and get a high score.
The canton officials need a valid degree from Switzerland. So you have to complete your education and get your degree.
Being able to get a student visa.
After you get admission to a Swiss university, you need to get a student visa to enter the country and complete your education. You must be able to get a student visa and gather the documents. You can find out about the process from the above section to learn how to get a student visa.
There is a list of supporting documents for a student visa. Determine if you can gather them or not. For instance, you need a clean record certificate for your student visa. Can you get it from your home country?
Pass the apprenticeship program.
After completing the university and getting your degree, you must pass an apprenticeship period. It’s one or two years. The canton officials will arrange it for you. You have to pass it.
Do your best to pass this training period and get as much experience and knowledge.
Pass the bar exam.
Swiss authorities need you to pass the bar exam. After you get your degree and pass the apprenticeship, you have to pass the bar exam in the canton you live and want to work. If there are other requirements by the officials, you have to fulfill them. It’s up to you to find them and meet every required item.
Lawyers’ salaries in Switzerland.
Your salary as a lawyer in Switzerland is up to various factors. Your work experience is one of the essential determining factors.
Different sources have mentioned various figures for your salary as a lawyer in Switzerland. According to Glassdoor, the average salary is about CHF 130,000 ($141.938) per year.
According to Salary Explorer, the average salary of an attorney is about 245,000 CHF per year. This source indicates that the lowest salary is about CHF113,000 ($123.377), while the highest salary is CHF 389,000 ($424.722)
This is while the Salary Expert indicates that the average salary is about CHF 165’200 per year.
Let’s sum up….
The Visa Library team brought you how to immigrate and work in Switzerland as a lawyer. There are different ways of doing it, and it’s up to your nationality.
The list of requirements and the process you have to follow to become a lawyer in Switzerland are all explained.
If you have questions, write them in the comment section. The Visa Library team will answer them.
Frequently Asked Questions about moving to Switzerland as a lawyer.
What is the first step to becoming a lawyer in Switzerland?
You need to study law at a Swiss university and continue the procedures covered in the article.
Can foreign lawyers become a lawyer in Switzerland?
EU nationals can work occasionally, but they need to pass the bar exam if they want to work regularly. Non-EU nationals need to get a degree from a Swiss university.
Do I need language proficiency?
It’s up to the university.