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Applying for a B Residence Permit for Switzerland

In this article, we will explain the purpose of the long-term (B) permit for Switzerland, the eligibility criteria, and how to apply. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers and solicitors in London, on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk

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Switzerland is at the top of the list for many migrants from around the world looking for a new country to live, work, and study. Located at the heart of Europe, Switzerland has so much to offer. From a world-class transport system, thriving economy, vibrant culture, to beautiful towns and cities, stunning scenery, and of course, warm, friendly people. The wages in Switzerland are also highly attractive, with the average salary currently at around £50,000. Salaries in certain sectors are much higher than the national average. Those working in finance and insurance receive an average monthly wage of £7,350, and in IT, this is around £6900. In this article, we will explain the purpose of the B permit in Switzerland (aufenthaltsbewilligung b), the eligibility criteria, and how to apply.

What is a B Permit for Switzerland?

The B residence permit for Switzerland is intended for foreign nationals, either from the EU or from outside the EU, who wish to stay in Switzerland on a temporary basis. B permits for Switzerland are typically granted for one year for non-EU nationals and five years for EU nationals. The B permit differs from the C permit, with the latter signifying permanent residence.

According to the State Secretariat for Migration SEM, “The residence permit for EU/EFTA nationals is valid for five years. It is issued if the foreign national is in possession of an employment contract of at least twelve months’ duration or of unlimited duration. The residence permit will be renewed for another five years if the foreign national satisfies the requirements”.

Those who have held a Swiss B permit for at least ten years can then apply for a C permit (permanent residency) with the exception of nationals of EU/EFTA countries, the US and Canada, who can apply after just five years. Applicants for permanent residency also need to be able to demonstrate that they:

  • Have sufficient knowledge of the national language in Switzerland – this must be to A2 level for written language and B1 for spoken language
  • Have integrated into Swiss life
  • Pose no threat to national security or the public in Switzerland
  • Have sufficient financial resources with needing to seek access to public welfare
  • Have no criminal record

Am I eligible for a B Permit to work in Switzerland?

Applicants from within the EU/European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

Applications for a B permit from those within the EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) are typically straightforward. Candidates are first able to travel to Switzerland to seek employment for a period of up to 90 days. If suitable work is found during this time of one year or more, they can apply for a B permit (shorter duration work requires an L permit).

Applicants from outside the EU/European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

Applications for a B permit from those outside the EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) require candidates to secure employment from their home country before travelling to Switzerland. Employers in Switzerland have to complete a labour market test to verify that no person within the local Swiss job market or in Europe is available to carry out the work being advertised.

It is important to note that the precise eligibility criteria can vary between where you apply (there are 26 cantons - or regions - in Switzerland). The details of each canton in Switzerland are available on the SEM website.

How do I apply for a B Permit for Switzerland?

The process of applying for a B Permit for Switzerland differs depending on whether the individual is from an EU/EFTA country or from outside. Those from an EU/EFTA country who are travelling to Switzerland with the intention of staying for more than three months are required to apply for a Swiss residence permit within 14 days of arrival in the country. Candidates need to register their details at a local Residents Registration Office and collect their residence permits from their local migration office. Where you apply will depend on the canton in which you intend to live.

The process of applying for a B Permit for non-EU citizens has two main stages:

  1. Your employer in Switzerland will need to complete the application process for you. After completing the labour market test, they apply to the cantonal authority, who first assesses the application for a B permit.
  2. Applications that are approved by the local cantonal authority are then forwarded to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) to be checked and approved at a federal level. If approved at this level, the B Permit will be granted.

It is important that non-EU/EFTA nationals do not travel to Switzerland or undertake work in the country until they have received clearance to do so.

Can I renew my B permit in Switzerland?

EU and EFTA nationals with a B permit are able to extend their five-year stay for another five years if they continue to meet the requirements for a residence permit. In some situations, for example, if the applicant is involuntarily unemployed, they may only receive a residence permit lasting one year. The SEM B permit rules state, “The residence permit will be renewed for another five years if the foreign national satisfies the requirements. First-time renewal of the permit can be limited to one year, however, if the holder has been involuntarily unemployed for more than twelve consecutive months”.

For non-EU/EFTA nationals, B permits are typically granted for up to one year, but this can then be renewed/extended for a further year each time.

Reiss Edwards has the resources and expertise to assist with all aspects of Swiss immigration. If you need assistance with your B permit for Switzerland or any other immigration matter, contact our Swiss Immigration Lawyers on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk

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O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

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