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Old 09.09.2015, 23:38
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From Canada to Lausanne: general questions + bringing a partner

Hi everyone. I am a Canadian citizen who has just accepted a job at EPFL in Lausanne. I was hoping to ask a couple of questions about my own visa, as well as my options for bringing my partner to Switzerland.

My employer says I must apply for a Work Visa (Type D) with the Canadian embassy. I intend to send these documents ASAP. Does anyone have any recent experience with the timelines of such a process, or advice? Also, when I arrive in Switzerland, I understand I will have to apply for a 'work and residence permit'. I assume this is the permit of type B or L, and I will need my work contract and birth certificate to apply. Is there anything in the above I am missing?

More importantly, I am very interested in bringing my Canadian partner to Switzerland from Canada next year. She will complete her current contract and be available to move in the spring. We have been together for 11 years and are unmarried, but have been living together in Canada for 6 years and are considered to be in a 'common-law marriage'. I am prepared to support her on my salary, and she would look for a job while here if permitted (she is an experienced teacher, bilingual in french/english).

Is it realistic for my partner to receive permission to live with me in Switzerland without getting officially married? How useful would it really be to get officially married? There is a possibility for my work contract to be extended from one year to two, but I won't be able to accept such an extension if she isn't able to live and (maybe) work in Switzerland with me.

Thanks so much for any help!
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Old 09.09.2015, 23:56
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Re: From Canada to Lausanne: general questions + bringing a partner

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More importantly, I am very interested in bringing my Canadian partner to Switzerland from Canada next year. She will complete her current contract and be available to move in the spring. We have been together for 11 years and are unmarried, but have been living together in Canada for 6 years and are considered to be in a 'common-law marriage'. I am prepared to support her on my salary, and she would look for a job while here if permitted (she is an experienced teacher, bilingual in french/english).

Is it realistic for my partner to receive permission to live with me in Switzerland without getting officially married? How useful would it really be to get officially married? There is a possibility for my work contract to be extended from one year to two, but I won't be able to accept such an extension if she isn't able to live and (maybe) work in Switzerland with me.

Thanks so much for any help!
Generally, Switzerland does not recognize co-habitation arrangements. As a third-country citizen (non EU/EFTA), it should be possible to bring a married spouse to live with you if you meet the below requirements. See the following:

https://www.ch.ch/en/cohabiting/

"You are holding a residence permit (permit B)

Holders of a residence permit (permit B) are not entitled to bring family members to Switzerland under the family reunification programme. However, the cantonal migration authorities may make an exception if the third-country nationals holding the residence permit satisfy the following requirements:
The following requirements must be met in order for family reunification to take place:
  • Your apartment must be large enough by Swiss standards to accommodate the entire family.
  • If you are self-employed or not employed: you must prove that you have adequate financial resources to cover the living expenses of family members."


https://www.ch.ch/en/family-reunification
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Old 10.09.2015, 09:44
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Re: From Canada to Lausanne: general questions + bringing a partner

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Hi everyone. I am a Canadian citizen who has just accepted a job at EPFL in Lausanne. I was hoping to ask a couple of questions about my own visa, as well as my options for bringing my partner to Switzerland.

My employer says I must apply for a Work Visa (Type D) with the Canadian embassy. I intend to send these documents ASAP. Does anyone have any recent experience with the timelines of such a process, or advice? Also, when I arrive in Switzerland, I understand I will have to apply for a 'work and residence permit'. I assume this is the permit of type B or L, and I will need my work contract and birth certificate to apply. Is there anything in the above I am missing?

More importantly, I am very interested in bringing my Canadian partner to Switzerland from Canada next year. She will complete her current contract and be available to move in the spring. We have been together for 11 years and are unmarried, but have been living together in Canada for 6 years and are considered to be in a 'common-law marriage'. I am prepared to support her on my salary, and she would look for a job while here if permitted (she is an experienced teacher, bilingual in french/english).

Is it realistic for my partner to receive permission to live with me in Switzerland without getting officially married? How useful would it really be to get officially married? There is a possibility for my work contract to be extended from one year to two, but I won't be able to accept such an extension if she isn't able to live and (maybe) work in Switzerland with me.

Thanks so much for any help!
How soon are you planning to come? Because it's your employer who has to apply for your permit, not you when you arrive - only EU nationals can do that. If your permit hasn't been approved by the Swiss authorities you won't be working here, period. You must apply at the nearest Swiss embassy/consulate to you in Canada for the Type D visa which allows you to enter Switzerland long term. This is all it does, it's the permit which allows you to live/work here and if EPFL has been granted a permit on your behalf then the visa will be issued. If it hasn't you won't get the visa. Contact them asap to clear this up. EPFL should know the way things work so if that's what they've told you, they're wrong.

The criteria for the hiring of non-EU nationals is outlined here - this is what EPFL has to do to be able to hire you:

https://www.bfm.admin.ch/bfm/en/home...zulassung.html

and the procedure for getting approval is outlined here:

https://www.bfm.admin.ch/bfm/en/home...ensablauf.html

Average timeline for getting the permit approved is 8-10 weeks, but could be both shorter or longer.

For your partner there are three choices (apart from the marriage option). She gets a pre-approved job offer like you did or she is able to show she can support herself financially without working. Or you can apply for what's called a concubine permit for her which is what the Swiss use for hetrosexual couples who aren't married. To get that you would have to agree to be financially responsible for her for 5 years. Whether she could work or not with that permit I don't know. But frankly, the marriage option is probably the easiest. She would get the same permit as you and not have the non-EU hiring problem to deal with.

Here's Vaud's requirements for the concubine permit, other cantons' rules will be similar, but not necessary exactly the same.

http://www.vd.ch/themes/vie-privee/p...s-du-concubin/

To work as a teacher here in the Swiss public school system she would need to have her qualifications recognised.

http://www.sbfi.admin.ch/diploma/017...x.html?lang=en
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Old 24.09.2015, 15:12
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Re: From Canada to Lausanne: general questions + bringing a partner

Hi

I'm also Canadian and was in a similar situation Fall of 2013 for a start date of January 2014. There is a separate entrance visa (what your employer is calling the work visa) and residency permit. I applied for the entrance visa in August and received it ~ 2 months later (I did everything person directly with the Swiss consulate in Vancouver). If I recall correctly, you need the signed contract from your employer. And yes you need to make this application yourself, not your employer. Though I do think there is something that they need to submit in support of your application. They have probably already done this but you can confirm with them. I think you will have to leave your passport with them (the visa goes in the passport). I would take a bunch of "extra" stuff as well: copy of transcripts or diploma if the job required special training. I had to provide bank statements as well I think. Best to call them for the complete list. Be prepared for things to be quite...particular. I have moved to other countries before and Switzerland was very picky by other standards (including the States which one would think would be tougher).

Once here you need to go to Control des Habitants and apply for the residency permit (probably B class). To do that you will need your signed contract from your employer. You will also need an address...which is a pain because you usually need the residency permit to secure an apartment. I managed to secure temporary housing and used this as my address but then had to later pay a "change address fee". You also need some specialized passport photos. Mine from Shopper's Drugmart did not cut it. But they arranged a special "photo shoot" for me so don't worry you can't find a place to take the photos over here. My understanding is that you can't be paid until your employer receives the notice that you have applied for your permit ... so do this right away. I was also unable to open a bank account until I had this notice and even then Post Finance would not let me open an account until I had the actual permit so I ended up with and account at Credit Swiss. Also your entrance visa expires at some point (maybe a year)...it's not meant for working, it's meant for entrance. The permit is what you need to work.

As for bringing a spouse not such good news. My partner and I were recognized common-law in BC. We applied for a family reunification visa (we were told this is the appropriate visa for a spouse without a job offer in Switzerland) for him at the same time as I applied for my entrance visa. We submitted many documents to support our status: joint bank accounts, joint assets, etc. He's a lawyer (so educated etc.) but in the end they denied him a visa/permit. And that process took ~4 months... only to be disappointed. Honestly if it's important that your partner join you, it will be probably be much much easier to get married.

Good luck!
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