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Entering and living in Switzerland: new in 2022

The guidelines concerning the issuance of legitimation cards to the staff of international organisations (see https://www.eda.admin.ch/content/dam/mission-onu-omc-aele-geneve/en/documents/Lignes-directrices-Organisations-internationales_EN.pdf) are updated regularly. The latest updates are as follows:

Entering Switzerland (point 3 of the guidelines)

  1. “Third-country nationals”* who hold:
    1. a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen country**
    2. and a valid recognised travel document

are no longer required to obtain a visa if they are travelling to Switzerland to take up employment or join their family.

The same rule applies to those who hold a valid D-type visa issued by a Schengen country and a valid recognised travel document.

  1. Australian citizens are exempt from the obligation to obtain a long-stay visa to take up employment or join their family in Switzerland.

Dependent spouses and relatives in the ascending line (point 2.6 of the guidelines)

Type-H legitimation cards are now issued to dependent spouses and relatives in the ascending line, for an initial duration of three months from the date of entry into Switzerland, and are subsequently renewed for one year. This period is designed to allow them to complete the necessary formalities with respect to health insurance, social insurance and taxation in Switzerland.

Foreign nationals holding a Swiss residence permit (point 4.1 of the guidelines)

Members of the personnel who have exchanged their Swiss residence permit for a legitimation card may recover their permit at the end of their period of service. In addition, the number of years they have spent in Switzerland as holders of a legitimation card since 15 December 2021 only are taken into consideration in determining their right to a C permit (settlement permit). This entitlement does not apply to family members, who can opt to retain their Swiss residence permit when the member of the personnel takes up employment.


In addition, two information notices have been modified as follows:

Access to the Swiss labour market for family members (Ci permit)

(See https://www.dfae.admin.ch/missions/mission-onu-geneve/en/home/manual-regime-privileges-and-immunities/introduction/manual-family/access-labour-market-family-staff.html)

  1. An exception to the requirement to live in the same household as the principal beneficiary may be granted where a family member works in a region of Switzerland that is far from the beneficiary’s place of residence and daily commuting is therefore impossible. The family member must nonetheless provide a written commitment to return to the beneficiary’s home every weekend.
  2. Family members who work from home for an employer based outside Switzerland must also obtain a Ci permit.

Remaining in Switzerland at the end of the period of service

(See https://www.dfae.admin.ch/missions/mission-onu-geneve/en/home/manual-regime-privileges-and-immunities/introduction/manual-stay/staying-end-functions.html)

Depending on their nationality, the staff of international organisations who meet the conditions for obtaining a C permit (see https://www.ge.ch/demander-permis-c, in French only) may also be required to meet the criteria for successful integration, including language requirements, defined by Swiss legislation (https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/integration-einbuergerung/mein-beitrag/zugewandert/sprache.html). Their family members are also subject to this requirement.

Relations with the Host States service

* Non-Swiss and non-EU/EEA nationals

** See https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/security/20190612STO54307/schengen-a-guide-to-the-european-border-free-zone