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This guide is structured primarily by a division into two categories: whether a person is European or not. The rules differ depending on whether you are a citizen of a member state of the European Union (EU), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) or of the rest of the world.

Legal basis: Art. 2 FNIA

As of April 2017, foreign nationals from the following countries may assert their rights under the Free Movement of Persons principles and should consult the section on Europeans. Moreover, persons having a family member who is a national of one of these countries can also, under certain conditions, claim their rights under the AFMP.

Member states of the European Union (EU): Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia*, Denmark, Spain, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden.

Member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA): Norway, Iceland, Principality of Liechtenstein.

*Croatia: note that Croatian citizens have been subject to the AFMP since 1 January 2017. Transitional provisions apply, however, that limit access to the labour market.

Brexit: The UK officially left the European Union on 31 December 2020.

A distinction must be made depending on the date of immigration.

  • If a British person immigrated before 31 December 2020, they maintain those rights which are referred to as “acquired”, in other words, the privileged regime of the AFMP. (
  • If a person immigrates after 31 December 2020, they are considered “non-European”.

Always consider the following questions:

  1. Is the person coming to reside in Switzerland for educational purposes only?
  2. What is their nationality (and, where applicable, the nationality of their family members)?

The answers to these questions will determine whether this guide is relevant and which section to look at for practical information.

This guide also features a section that applies to both statuses which sets out some precautions to bear in mind, particularly when receiving an administrative decision. It is called: legal action.