Trek the Pyrenees with Fellow Expats 


Switzerland is not part of the EU but it is part of the Schengen Area. This means that it’s simpler for someone from the UK to move to Switzerland versus a non-European. However, there are still important things to consider before the Brexit transition period ends.

If a UK national is preparing to move to Switzerland, there are necessary steps they will need to sort out first. For example, if a UK expat lives in Switzerland for less than three months, they can access the healthcare system with their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).  If an expat plans to stay over this period, they will need to join the Swiss healthcare scheme–which is private.

Whether it is applying for the right residence permit, opening a bank account, or figuring out the tax system in Switzerland, there is plenty you will need to learn when moving to this country. For example, expats may be eligible for certain tax deductions, if they are in the country as highly skilled workers or executive employees. However, you are more likely to land a job, if you speak one of the four official languages on top of English.

2. What You Should Do about Brexit

If you are relocating long-term to Switzerland from the UK, you will need to apply for a residence permit. No matter whether you are an EU/EFTA national or not, everyone who remains in Switzerland for more than 90 days needs to have a residence and work permit. If you intend to stay in the country even after Brexit is finalized, you will have to apply for Permit C, which allows you to stay in Switzerland for ten years.

Read more about which work and residency permit applies to your situation in our detailed 
Switzerland guide.

a. Register as a Swiss Resident

b. Register for Swiss Healthcare

Healthcare in Switzerland is not public; however, it is mandatory to be insured. This means you will need to take out compulsory health insurance with a Swiss company no later than 90 days after you arrive in the country. Many insurers offer a basic package to guarantee every resident can afford insurance.

Keep in mind, that after you register as a permanent Swiss resident, you will no longer be allowed to use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) linked to the UK to access healthcare in Switzerland. You will be issued a new EHIC card linked to your Swiss health insurance.

Find more information on 
Swiss healthcare in our full guide.

Although your UK driver’s license is valid in Switzerland for 12 months after registering as a resident, you should consider exchanging it for a Swiss one anyway. This will make things much easier for you after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31st, 2020. You can exchange your license at the local cantonal authority.

For information on driving in Switzerland, read our detailed guide.

5. Does Your UK Driver’s License Work in Switzerland?

Even with Brexit looming over your head, moving your household items to Switzerland should be fairly straightforward. Although EU/EFTA nationals are not subject to many customs regulations for Switzerland, you should still prepare for any unforeseen hiccups along the way.

It cannot hurt to prepare the following documentation beforehand in case you will be asked about it at Swiss customs:

  • employment contract
  • rental lease
  • an itemized list of goods you are importing
  • confirmation of departure notice from the previous country

If you need help finding a suitable moving company, contact us. We offer a free quote and connect you to the most reliable moving professionals around.

3. How to Move Your Belongings to Switzerland

To rent in Switzerland, you will need to be a legal resident. Competition for housing in popular cities such as Geneva, Zurich, Lausanne, or Basel is fierce, so you should come prepared with the right documentation. This may include a reference letter from your employer. Be aware, that expats tend to pay more on rent and will also take more time to find a place. Once you do, be prepared to sign a long lease contract, as this is the norm.

Nearly half of the housing market in Switzerland is made of rentals. Renting is popular, which is also reflected in the high prices. Across the country, the minimum housing rent rarely drops below 1,000 CHF (1,020 USD) per month. Geneva is the most expensive city to rent in. A one-bedroom apartment costs around 2,000 CHF (2,400 USD) per month. In Zurich, the second most expensive city in terms of housing, rent for a one-bedroom apartment will set you back 1,800 CHF (2,500 USD) per month.

4. How to Find a Home in Switzerland

If you are a UK national, you do not require a work permit to work in Switzerland legally. Your employer will be responsible for registering your employment through the government’s online portal or with the local canton authorities before you begin working.

As you are planning on moving abroad for longer than three months, you will require a long-term work authorization that will be noted in your residence permit. To obtain your residence permit, you will also need to register with the Residents Registration Office within two weeks of arrival.

1. Do You Need a Swiss Visa and Work Permit? 

9 Things You Need to Know If You Are Moving from the UK to Switzerland

I was able to connect with other expats in Zurich who enjoy cycling as much as I do and organize weekly rides.

Andrey Vasilyev

At the first InterNations event that I attended, I met my wonderful partner. We now live together in a flat next to the Limmat.

Elin Gustavson

The group of InterNations expats in Zug is so open and friendly that it was very easy to make friends.

Jayanti Magnussen

  • Start the tour with one night in Barcelona, where you can get to know the others in your group while enjoying tapas in the center of the city
  • Enjoy 4 four guided, moderate full-day hikes in Andorra, plus a free day to explore
  • Discover the natural landscape of Andorra and then relax in the hotel spa 
  • Get to know your group while having great adventures — a Tour Host will coordinate many opportunities for socializing throughout the trip

Discover events & meet expats in your city!

Want to meet other expats facing similar challenges? With InterNations you can get to know your local expat community at fun events. Whether you like sports, dining out, or just want to grow your network, there’s something for everyone. Join today!

Learn More about Switzerland

Visas & Work Permits in Switzerland

Healthcare in Switzerland

Working in Switzerland

Banking in Switzerland

Education in Switzerland

Housing in Switzerland

The largest international community for people who live abroad with 4 million members, offering a range of online and in-person events.

The largest international community for people who live abroad, offering a range of online and in-person events and networking opportunities. 

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At the first InterNations event that I attended, I met my wonderful partner. We now live together in a flat next to the Limmat.

Elin Gustavson

Meet other Brits in Switzerland!


Meet fellow compatriots and expats from all over the world at our expat events...

Meet other Brits in Switzerland!


Meet fellow compatriots and expats from all over the world at our expat events...