Moving to Switzerland

moving to Switzerland

Immigrating to the confederation?
UTS supports you!


Is your new centre of life in Switzerland or are you leaving this region? With our location in Switzerland, we are happy to help you. No matter where: UTS knows the challenges and masters them for you.

UTS advises you on the preparations, clarify your questions about VISA, immigration and import regulations and take care of your move. Switzerland is a popular emigration destination, which is particularly associated with the openness and warmth of the locals. With a population of just under 8.5 million, Switzerland is a small country compared to Germany, but can score points with a high quality of life. More than 300,000 Germans now live in Switzerland, and the number is rising. The cities of Geneva and Zurich are particularly popular emigration destinations.

When moving to Switzerland, however, there are a number of special considerations to be taken into account in order to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Your UTS experts are the right contact for this and will accompany you step by step.

Your contact person

UTS team simon rieb

Mr. Simon Rieb

Removals Germany & Europe

Telefon Icon+49 (0)69 2445049-32

All topics at a click:

Our services

  • Individual requirements
  • Individual offers
  • Pre-inspection
  • Delivery & unpacking on site
  • Dismantling, packing & loading
  • Transport by truck
  • Customs clearance
  • Storage & warehousing
  • Transport insurance


Transfer times to Zurich & Geneva

For the transport from the loading point in Germany to the unloading point in Switzerland (and vice versa), at least 1-2 working days should be calculated for transport and customs clearance, depending on the distance.

uts umzuege schweiz umzug transferzeiten


A valid visa

The be-all and end-all


UTS Germany recommends everyone to find out about the entry and residence regulations at the Swiss embassy early enough before moving to Switzerland. Nevertheless, we have already compiled a summary of the most important points for you:

Do I need a visa?

Every person who works or stays longer than 3 months in Switzerland needs a permit. This is issued by the cantonal migration office and is divided into several categories:

Permit B
(residence permit)

This permit includes a work permit. It is issued on presentation of an employment contract issued for 12 months or longer and is valid for five years.

Permit C
(settlement permit)

This permit is an unrestricted authorization for an unlimited period.
The prerequisite for this is an uninterrupted stay in Switzerland of at least five years.

Permit G
(cross-border commuter permit)

A permit with a work permit in Switzerland, but with residency in a neighboring country (e.g., Germany or Austria). The prerequisite here is that employees return to their foreign place of residency at least once a week.

Permit L
(short stay permit)

Authorization for a limited period (usually less than one year).

The EU/EFTA membership is necessary for obtaining the permit mentioned above.

An application must be submitted in due time for your family to join you. Usually, however, a residence permit is issued without any further complications.


Moving to Switzerland with your pet


Are you planning a move to Switzerland and do you want your pet to come with you? Of course, UTS will also take care of a safe and professional move for your pet. This includes, among other things, organising the transport and dealing with administrative requirements.

Here you can find more information about moving with animals. So that you are well prepared for everything, UTS has created a page on this topic for you. If you have any further questions, your UTS relocation expert will be happy to advise you.

Regulations for the entry of pets into Switzerland

  • The pet needs an EU pet passport
  • A valid rabies vaccination (applies to dogs, cats and ferrets older than 12 weeks)
  • The animal must be chipped (ISO standard 11784, must be readable with a reader according to ISO standard 11785)
  • Tattoos are accepted if they were made before 03.06.2011
  • The website of the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office provides further information.


Entering your neighbour


Customs regulations in Switzerland are quite individual. The individual regulations depend on the respective cities or municipalities. Therefore, we recommend that you speak to one of our qualified UTS employees to provide you with relevant information and give you the best possible advice for your move to Switzerland.

However, you will definitely need the following documents to import your removal goods:

  • Inventory list (will be provided by the removal team).

  • Copy of passport

  • Copy of the rental or purchase contract for the house/apartment

  • Confirmation of registration in Switzerland (municipality of residence)

  • Confirmation of deregistration in Germany (municipality of residence)

  • Copy of employment contract

  • Copy of residence permit

  • Customs form 1844 (signed in duplicate in the original by the person moving)

We also recommend the Switzerland Country Guide on the IAM homepage. Here you will find important information on the import and export of removal goods when moving to Switzerland.


Health insurance


Anyone who wants to move to Switzerland must take care of their own health insurance. This is not done by the employer!

In addition, there is a compulsory basic health insurance for every citizen in Switzerland. The benefits included are prescribed by law and are the same for all insurance companies. They cover everything that is medically necessary - except dental costs. Supplementary insurance (outpatient supplementary insurance and/or hospital supplementary insurance) is only offered on a voluntary basis.

After moving to Switzerland and registration at the residents' registration office, you have 3 months to take out health insurance at a local health insurance company. If you register within this period, you will be insured retroactively from the date of entry and have nothing to worry about.

There are a few points to note here:

  • The entire monthly premium is due for months that have already begun.

  • Premiums are independent of salary, but depend on place of residence and age

  • Costs are partly covered by the municipality of residence in case of very low income

  • Contributions are calculated per capita and differentiated between adults and children.

The Health Insurance Act (HIA) obliges all health insurance companies to accept every applicant, regardless of age and state of health. Thus, any person can apply freely and independently to any health insurance fund.

The insured persons must pay a certain part of their health costs themselves. This cost sharing is called a "deductible rate" and is agreed individually with the health insurance company. The health insurance company only covers the costs that exceed the agreed limit. For example, if a deductible rate of CHF 500 is agreed upon and CHF 800 in health costs are incurred in the course of a year, the respective person will receive CHF 300 from the insurance company.


Pension insurance

There are also differences here


In Germany, employees pay just under 18.6 percent of their gross salary into the pension insurance scheme, half of which is paid by the employer.

In contrast, pension provision in Switzerland is based on the so-called three-pillar model:

  1. old-age and survivors' insurance ( OASI): This covers the subsistence needs in old age. This is a pay-as-you-go pension system to which the entire population must contribute without exception. Unlike in Germany, the self-employed, civil servants and housewives must also pay their contributions into the pension insurance. However, the amount of contributions is limited, as is the maximum pension. The monthly old-age pension is currently at least CHF 1,195 and at most CHF 2,390, but only if contributions have been paid into the pension fund throughout.

  2. pension funds: From an income of CHF 21,510 per year, every employee is obliged to pay into the pension funds. The insurance contributions are invested on the capital market. Gradually, the investor accumulates assets, similar to a classic savings investment.

  3. private pension provision: this is tax-privileged, but not obligatory.

moving to Switzerland - FAQ

Frequently asked questions


Below we have summarised some of the most frequently asked questions about formalities when moving to Switzerland. For further information, please do not hesitate to contact your UTS relocation manager.

Yes, a registration must be submitted to the Residents' Registration Office within 8 days.

To register in Switzerland, you need an employment contract, tenancy agreement, a passport photo and your valid identity card or passport. A fee will be charged locally, which must be paid in cash.

No. However, after moving to Switzerland and registering with the Residents' Registration Office, you must take out health insurance with a health insurance company in Switzerland within 3 months.

Yes. Self-employed persons, civil servants and housewives also pay in.

Customs regulations in Switzerland are quite individual. The individual regulations depend on the respective cities or the duration of the stay. Therefore, it is generally not possible to give specific information. Therefore, we recommend talking to one of our qualified UTS employees to provide you with tailored information and to advise you in the best possible way.

Yes, the German driving licence is also valid in Switzerland. However, the driving licence must be converted to a Swiss driving licence within the next 12 months after immigration.

The top income tax rate in Switzerland at the federal level is only 11.5 percent, but varies according to region.

In order to be able to optimally plan your move to Switzerland, we recommend that you deregister in good time at the Residents' Registration Office in Germany.



The labour market

Attractive conditions

With an unemployment rate of only 2% and a robust economy, Switzerland can score points on the labour market. But the high wage level, lower taxes and the international orientation of many Swiss companies also make this country so attractive. On average, the gross wage in Switzerland is just under €6,600, whereas in Germany it is only €4,100. Zurich, in particular, is the international front-runner in terms of salary levels.

Furthermore, Switzerland offers a high quality of life as well as good hospitality, which can make immigrating much easier. These are ideal conditions for your move to Switzerland and therefore make your new home country seem particularly employee-friendly.

uts umzuege schweiz umzug arbeitsmarkt


Income tax


The tax system in Switzerland is characterised by the fact that both the federal government itself and the 26 different cantons and even the approximately 2600 municipalities levy different levels of tax. Each canton thus has its own tax law. The communes usually levy their taxes as surcharges on the cantonal taxes. In recent years, however, these have been massively reduced in order to attract companies and wealthy citizens. In the cantons of Neuchâtel, Jura and Bern in particular, tax rates are extremely low. Zurich charges a medium tax rate. As in Germany, income tax in Switzerland is calculated with progression. The higher the income of an individual, the higher the tax rate.

The top tax rate in Switzerland at the federal level is only 11.5 percent, for an annual salary of over 843,000CHF.

Furthermore, income tax in Switzerland is also calculated according to expenditure. But what does this mean for your move to Switzerland?

Every person who is resident in Switzerland but not gainfully employed there pays income tax not according to the income earned, but according to a flat-rate estimate of the general cost of living in Switzerland. These again vary depending on the region.

There is another special feature: taxes are not deducted directly from the salary and passed on to the tax office by the employer, as in Germany, but are paid independently by the employee.

Every private individual resident in Switzerland must therefore fill out his tax forms in the first 5 months of a new year retroactively for the previous year and then send them to the respective tax office of his municipality of residence. Upon receipt of the invoice then issued, the individual resident in Switzerland pays his taxes retroactively.

In general, tax offices in Switzerland have a reputation for being very friendly and accommodating to questions and complications. This is one of the many reasons why Switzerland is becoming increasingly popular with emigrants.

Since, as mentioned above, the individual tax rates vary greatly within Switzerland, our qualified UTS team will be happy to assist you and provide you with individual information for your move to Switzerland. Contact us!


Rental prices

An expensive place


There is one thing you should be aware of before moving to Switzerland: With cities like Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland is one of the countries with the highest price levels. Increasing immigration in particular is causing rents to skyrocket. Compared to other European cities, the cost of living is about 20% higher than usual. But can the high cost of living be compensated with wages? Here are some figures on rent levels as a guide:

(as of 2022)

Average rental prices in Basel


  • 1-room flat
    in the city centre: approx. 1.150€

  • 1-room flat
    outside the city centre: approx. 1.200€

  • 3-room flat
    in the city centre: approx. 2.800€

  • 3-room flat
    outside the city centre: approx. 2.100€


Average rental prices in Zurich


  • 1-room flat
    in the city centre: approx. 2.000€

  • 1-room flat
    outside the city centre: approx. 1.500€

  • 3-room flat
    in the city centre: approx. 3.900€

  • 3-room flat
    outside the city centre: approx. 2.800€


Average rental prices in Geneva


  • 1-room flat
    in the city centre: approx. 2.150€
  • 1-room flat
    outside the city centre: approx. 1.800€
  • 3-room flat
    in the city centre: approx. 4.400€

  • 3-room flat
    outside the city centre: approx. 3.250€
Average rental prices in Bern


  • 1-room flat
    in the city centre: approx. 1.250€

  • 1-room flat
    outside the city centre: approx. 980€

  • 3-room flat
    in the city centre: approx. 2.300€

  • 3-room flat
    outside the city centre: approx. 1.700€



Average rental prices in St. Gallen

  • 1-room flat
    in the city centre: approx. 1.300€
  • 1-room flat
    outside the city centre: approx. 1.150€
  • 3-room flat
    in the city centre: approx. 2.300€
  • 3-room flat
    outside the city centre: approx. 1.700€

Since many workers in Switzerland live outside the cities due to the high city centre rental prices, they have to travel longer distances by bus or car every day. This results in an average of around €650 in additional costs each month.

Food prices are also significantly higher than in Germany, by as much as 20-30%.



How do I find a suitable flat in Switzerland?


Unless your new employer supports you in your search, you should hire an estate agent to find suitable accommodation. In particular, the high demand for flats in cities such as Zurich or Geneva makes finding accommodation a challenge, so we advise you to seek assistance.

The accommodation options in Switzerland are very diverse - from very simple accommodation to luxurious flats, everything is available. UTS Germany will be happy to help you with your selection, contact us!

Food prices

Average food prices in Swiss supermarket chains (converted to EUR)


  • 1l milk - approx. 1,70€

  • 500g bread - approx. 3,15€

  • 1kg rice - approx. 3,00€

  • 12 eggs - approx. 6,00€

  • 1kg cheese - approx. 25,00€
uts umzuege schweiz umzug lebensmitelpreise

Due to the high food prices, it is worthwhile to live near the border in order to benefit from the cheaper German prices. However, not only food is noticeably more expensive, but also leisure activities such as a visit to the cinema costs almost twice as much as here in Germany, at just under 20€. Even a visit to a simple restaurant can quickly cost around €26 per person.

The move to Switzerland should therefore be well calculated from the outset and take into account all the expected additional and incidental costs. Your UTS expert will be happy to help you with this.


Driving in Switzerland

Transcribing your driving licence


First the good news: The German driving licence is also valid in Switzerland. However, the driving licence must be transferred to a Swiss driving licence within the next 12 months after immigration. This is because the German driving licence loses its validity after one year. Ideally, the driving licence should be transferred when the imported vehicle is re-registered. This is because it is not possible to drive your own vehicle with Swiss licence plates with a German driving licence anyway. Conversely, it is also not possible to drive your own car with German licence plates with a Swiss driving licence.

But how do I change my driving licence?

You can apply for a Swiss driving licence at the competent traffic office. The cost of issuing and exchanging the new driving licence is around CHF 90. The following documents are required:

  • Application form (available from the cantonal traffic office, often also online as a download)

  • Original German driving licence

  • Copy of the foreigner's identity card

  • Passport photo (dimensions 35 x 45 mm)

  • Eye test (confirmation required on the application form)


If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the UTS team.

uts umzuege schweiz umzug autofahren

Re-registering your car

You must re-register your car after one year in Switzerland at the latest. If, on the other hand, you have just bought a new car, it must be re-registered after just one month. The re-registration is carried out by the road traffic office.

Necessary documents

  • Inspection report issued by customs
  • Proof of liability insurance
  • Emissions booklet
  • Foreign vehicle registration document and vehicle title Confirmation of customs clearance
  • Technical information on the car (e.g. service booklet)
  • Residence permit (original document)
Pfeil Icon