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Old 28.06.2016, 20:04
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Maintaining a C permit while abroad

Hello Forum Veterans,

I would need your advise about the best way to handle the following situation.

My wife (US citizen) works in a global company and she has been offered a position in the USA (SF, bay area). The relocation package is very good and it would be a big step forward for her career, so I'm willing to accept the risk and look for a new job for myself when there (I'm a 48yo manager).

Anyway, we both got a C permit (I'm EU citizen) and been living in Switzerland for almost 12 years, in few months we could apply for citizenship.

My question is: if we move abroad, do we lose the C-permit? After applying for citizenship, we must keep the same residence or we can move?

I have heard that it is possible to be "sent abrod" by the company for a certain period (e.g. 3 years), while maintaining the residence and paying the taxs in the place of origin (in our case, Switzerland).
As my wife has some space to negotiate, is this a suitable option (or are there any other) not to lose the C permit?
Also, 8 years ago we have bought a house, do we have to sell it before leaving, or can we still rent it, even if we are not resident here any longer?

I'm asking because during these years we have lived in Switzerland I have developed a strong attachment for this country and its people, and I feel that this place has become my real home. So I would feel again lost in case we don't have a legal way to come back, after some time.

When I arrived here I had heard that Swiss people would be a bit "backward" with respect the other nations. Now I still think they are out of time, but much forward with respect to the rest of the world, which would have so much to learn by this small country inhabited by really great people.

Thanks for your help and any advise/experience you are willing to share.
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Old 28.06.2016, 20:29
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

Accepted reasons for putting a permit on hold are: being sent to work abroad by your Swiss employer, military service or further education. They can be put on hold for up to 4 years.

However, this doesn't sound as if she's being sent abroad, but being offered a totally new position which isn't the same thing. Best to get this clarified with your gemeinde admin office as they're the ones who'll make the decision regarding the permit.

If you don't/can't put the permits on hold then yes you will lose them. To get a new one will depend on you/her getting a new job/transfer back here and that would on a B permit probably. She would have to go through the non-EU hiring process with her employer and you might also find yourself subject to restrictions if the proposed safeguard clause to curb EU migration is in force when you return. There is no guarantee that you'll be able to come back here unless you have Swiss citizenship - that's the only certainty.

Citizenship-wise, remember that the new rules for this come into force on 1st January 2018 and that means you'll not only need a C permit, but also to speak a Swiss language (usually the official one of your canton which would be German for Basel).

You don't have to sell up, the property can be rented out. You can move anywhere you like with citizenship, a C permit and even the B permit you currently hold.
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Old 28.06.2016, 21:58
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

Thank you Medea.

So, if I have understood currectly, the best situation would be if my wife is being sent abroad from the current company, this way we won't lose any permit.
She has some room for negotiation, we will try this way first.

As far as I know the new requirements won't be implemented before beginning 2018. Any request submitted before will be evaluated against the current legislation, which would be our case if we stay in CH until end of the year.

Language wise, I'm at level A2 and therefore I'm taking a course to improve to B1, the minimum level requested to pass the language test.
Anyway in my town the final decision depends on the population, so it is a long journey anyway.
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Old 28.06.2016, 22:22
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

That would be the best option. However, note it's not guaranteed that it would be put on hold, even though it's an accepted reason for doing so. It's entirely down to your gemeinde whether they grant this or not. So talk to them first before making any final decisions.
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Old 05.07.2016, 19:24
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

You have the right up to the date of de-registration/departure to "freeze" your permit for at least two years. It will cost 65CHF and will be handed back to you with your departure stamped on it from your current Gemeinde. Keep it for when you return, as when you re-register in future, you'll be treated as if you "delayed" your move, even if you return to a different Kanton.

You'll also keep your original entry date. About a week later you'll get a letter outlining your "frozen" permit status.

The term in German is "Aufrechterhaltung des Niederlassungsrechts" based on "Art. 9/3c des Bundesgesetzes über Aufenthalt und Niederlassung der Ausländer vom 26.3.1931"as follows.

"durch Abmeldung oder wenn sich der Ausländer während sechs Monaten tatsächlich im Ausland aufhält; stellt er vor deren Ablauf das Begehren, so kann diese Frist bis auf zwei Jahre verlängert werden";

https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...000/142.20.pdf

Last edited by magyir; 05.07.2016 at 20:02. Reason: Detailed legal info added/corrected.
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Old 05.07.2016, 19:37
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

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As an EU citizen you have the right up to the date of de-registration/departure to "freeze" your EU permit for at least three years. It will cost 65CHF and will be handed back to you with your departure stamped on it from your current Gemeinde. Keep it for when you return, as when you re-register in future, you'll be treated as if you "delayed" your move, even if you return to a different Kanton.

You'll also keep your original entry date. About a week later you'll get a letter outlining your "frozen" permit status.

I would ask if this can also apply to your wife as the family member of an EU national, otherwise she may need to rely on one of the grounds as already mentioned.
The above listed conditions apply even if you're an EU national. If you can't meet one of the 3 approved criteria for putting it on hold, you can't do it. It's laid out quite clearly in the Foreign Nationals Act.
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Old 05.07.2016, 20:01
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

Many thanks Medea for keeping me honest.

I've since dug up my paperwork from 2005 and edited my post accordingly with links and quotes and appropriate terms.

Can you provide a link/source as to where the reasons you refer to as acceptable under Article 9/3c of the 1931 Law are documented? I'd appreciate it for future reference.
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Old 05.07.2016, 20:20
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

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Can you provide a link/source as to where the reasons you refer to as acceptable under Article 9/3c of the 1931 Law are documented? I'd appreciate it for future reference.
That should be Art 49ff of "Verordnung über Zulassung, Aufenthalt und Erwerbstätigkeit"

https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...index.html#a49
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Old 05.07.2016, 20:43
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

Section 3.4.4 here:

https://www.sem.admin.ch/content/dam...ngen-aug-f.pdf

Not sure if it's covered in the "short" version of the Act. It's not mentioned in the English version anyway.
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Old 05.07.2016, 22:03
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

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Section 3.4.4 here:

https://www.sem.admin.ch/content/dam...ngen-aug-f.pdf

Not sure if it's covered in the "short" version of the Act. It's not mentioned in the English version anyway.
Thanks for the link, I finally (google) read it. Found that children studying abroad could maintain permits and also interesting that young foreigners could try out living in their home countries for some time without risking residence here.
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Old 05.07.2016, 22:14
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

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Section 3.4.4 here:

https://www.sem.admin.ch/content/dam...ngen-aug-f.pdf

Not sure if it's covered in the "short" version of the Act. It's not mentioned in the English version anyway.
I have often taken issue with you when you state categorically that x, y & z are the ONLY acceptable reasons for a permit to be put on hold. You repeat it so often that I got tired of contradicting you each time.

However, you can read for yourself the law you cite. It says that the sejour abroad should be of a temporary nature and that the person asking should have the intention to return. It also says that they stay should be by nature temporary such as FOR EXAMPLE.... ETC.... And that the decision will be made by the competent authorities.

It doesn't say those are the ONLY acceptable reasons.

So.... It's up to each individual to make their case to the competent authority.

It also says basically that if your stay was 't too long you can ask for your C permit back. (Basically .., I'm paraphrasing)
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Old 05.07.2016, 22:17
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

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Thanks for the link, I finally (google) read it. Found that children studying abroad could maintain permits and also interesting that young foreigners could try out living in their home countries for some time without risking residence here.
Yes, that's usually the further education bit. If kids go off to uni in another country for example, their permits can be put on hold. Didn't know about the home country thing though. The further education will also cover some training scenarios too I think.

True miniMia. Perhaps I should say the usual reasons. And of course you have to make your case for why you want to go and why you'd definitely be coming back to Switzerland in a few years' time.
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Old 11.07.2016, 14:04
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

Thank you all for elaborating on the topic, as usually happens in CH, a decision is based on a combination of laws and human evaluation (for good or bad).
Believing in the superuor intelligence of human beings over written rules (with few exceptions), this is one of the reason for which I love this small yet great country.

Incidentally, do you know if the same flexibility applies also to the regular naturalization process (EU citizen).
I.e, if our family will temporarely move to the US after starting the process of requesting the citizenship, will the fact of being abroad automatically disqyalify the applicant or it depends once afain on the specific situation (like a husband following his wife not to block hwr career

Thank you for any advice
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Old 11.07.2016, 14:12
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

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Thank you all for elaborating on the topic, as usually happens in CH, a decision is based on a combination of laws and human evaluation (for good or bad).
Believing in the superuor intelligence of human beings over written rules (with few exceptions), this is one of the reason for which I love this small yet great country.

Incidentally, do you know if the same flexibility applies also to the regular naturalization process (EU citizen).
I.e, if our family will temporarely move to the US after starting the process of requesting the citizenship, will the fact of being abroad automatically disqyalify the applicant or it depends once afain on the specific situation (like a husband following his wife not to block hwr career

Thank you for any advice

Not a good idea to move abroad when you are applying for citizenship.
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Old 11.07.2016, 14:21
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

The process would certainly be suspended as you would no longer be resident here. Whether you would need to meet new residency requirements on your return I don't know, depends on which canton you're in and whether you applied for citizenship under the current rules or the new ones coming in on 1st January 2018.

So no, not a good idea to move abroad during the citizenship application process.
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Old 11.07.2016, 14:49
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Re: Maintaining a C permit while abroad

Again, thank you all for the information
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