Travelling to Switzerland on business? A big part of planning a work trip is applying for a visa, so we’re here to guide you through the process from start to finish. 

The first thing to think about is how long you’ll be working in Switzerland. Depending on this, you may or may not need a residence permit. 

  • Short-term employment: You won’t need a residence permit to work for an employer for up to 3 months. This is also the case if you provide a service in Switzerland for a maximum of 90 days per calendar year. 
  • Employment over 3 months: You would need to apply for a residence permit from the Swiss commune if you wanted to be employed in Switzerland for over 3 months.

Commonly asked questions about visas in Switzerland

What if I’m a non-EU/EFTA national?

Only qualified non-EU/EFTA nationals can work in Switzerland. This includes managers, specialists, or university graduates with several years of professional experience. Even for short-term employment and self-employment, non-EU/EFTA nationals will need a work permit. It’s worth noting there’s a limited number of permits that get issued. If you’re the spouse of a Swiss national with a settlement permit, you won’t need to worry about getting a work permit.

What if I’m a UK national?

As of 1 January 2021, UK nationals are no longer citizens of the EU so are referred to as ‘third-country nationals’. If you’re from the UK, you can apply for a permit from the cantonal immigration and labour market authorities before working in Switzerland. The requirements are governed by the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (FNIA). You can find more guidance on this, here

It’s also important to note that until the end of 2025, service providers from the UK need to tell the Swiss authorities about short-term work of up to 90 days in Switzerland. You can do this via the online notification procedure.

What if I’m an EU/EFTA national?

If you’re from a country in the EU/EFTA, you can find specific guidance here

What if I’m a young professional trainee in Switzerland?

In this case, you can find details of what you’ll need to do here

Last updated 15 May 2024