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Applying for an L permit for Switzerland | Reiss Edwards

In this article, we will explain the purpose of the long-term (L) 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 a dream destination for many migrants around the world looking to live, work, and study in a safe, prosperous, friendly country with a beautiful environment. With its world-renowned transport system, robust jobs market, excellent schools and universities, rich and vibrant culture, Switzerland has a great deal to offer short-term and long-term migrants. From the perspective of wages for those working in Switzerland, the average salary is around £50,000, with sectors such as IT and finance paying significantly more. In this article, we will explain the purpose of the L permit for Switzerland, the eligibility criteria, and how to apply.

What is an L permit for Switzerland?

The L 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 short-term temporary basis. Whereas B permits for Switzerland are granted for one year for non-EU nationals and five years for EU nationals, L permits are granted for no more than a year in all cases.

According to the State Secretariat for Migration SEM, “Short-term residents are foreign nationals who reside in Switzerland for a limited period of time, usually less than a year, for a certain purpose with or without gainful employment”.

The L permit scheme is subject to quotas that are published on an annual basis, hence there are limits on the amount issued. In addition, whereas the longer-term B permit counts towards permanent residence in Switzerland, the L permit does not.

Because L permits are tied to specific job offers, if you wish to change jobs or employers, it is recommended that you speak to your local cantonal immigration office as you may need a new residence permit.

Am I eligible for an L permit to work in Switzerland?

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

L permit applicants from within the EU/EFTA region need to have a job offer from a Swiss company and a contract of employment lasting between three and 12 months. Where employment contracts last for less than three months, a permit is not needed. It is also possible for EU/EFTA nationals to secure an L visa in order to find employment in Switzerland. SEM states, “EU/EFTA nationals are entitled to this permit provided they are in possession of an employment contract valid from three up to twelve months. Employment contracts of less than three months’ duration within a calendar year are not subject to a permit, but are regulated via a notification procedure… L EU/EFTA permits without gainful employment are granted to job seekers from all EU/EFTA states. However, this practice does not create an entitlement to social insurance”.

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

L permit applicants from outside the EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA) need to secure employment from their home country before travelling to Switzerland. A contract of employment lasting no longer than 12 months and signed by the employer and employee must be submitted to the immigration authorities by the employer. Employers in Switzerland first 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.

Applicants must also:

  • Have relevant professional work experience
  • Have a relevant university degree
  • Be paid a minimum salary that complies with the regulations in the canton where you’ll be working

The precise eligibility criteria for residence permits depend on which of the 26 cantons (or regions) you are applying from. The details of each canton in Switzerland are available on the SEM website.

How do I apply for an L permit for Switzerland?

How you apply for an L permit for Switzerland depends on whether you are from an EU/EFTA country or from outside the EU/EFTA. If you are from an EU/EFTA country and plan to stay for a short duration in Switzerland, you will need to personally apply for a residence permit within 14 days of arrival in the country. Once you have registered your details, including your personal information and address, at a local Residents Registration Office, you will be able to collect your L residence permit from your local migration office.

The process of applying for a short-term L permit for non-EU citizens is completed by the employer in two stages:

  1. After completing the labour market test, your Swiss employer will need to apply to the cantonal authority, who first assess the application for an L 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 L 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 L permit in Switzerland?

Yes, it is possible to renew/extend L permits to a maximum period of two years. It is important to ensure that you apply for your renewal in good time – this must be no earlier than three months and no later than two weeks before your permit expires. According to the Swiss authorities, “You will need to present your residence permit, a valid passport (which must remain valid for at least three months after the date of expiry of the residence permit) and (if available) the letter notifying you that your residence permit is about to expire”.

Reiss Edwards has the resources and expertise to assist with all aspects of Swiss immigration. If you need assistance with your L 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

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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