Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Permits/visas/government
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 20.12.2006, 18:30
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New York/Basel
Posts: 3
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Chaucer has no particular reputation at present
American moving to Switzerland

Hello! This is a great site, and I've found a lot of useful info here. However, I've looked around the site, and haven't come across anything specifically related to my situation:

I'm an American, and my girlfriend (also American) is being moved by her company to a new office in Basel. I'll be going with her. I work as a freelancer for American companies, and plan to continue my work remotely (ie, from Basel).

My question is whether, practically speaking, I need a visa. I understand that Americans do not need visas to visit Switzerland short-term. Long-term, I've been advised that the only visa option really open to me would be a student visa.

Are student visas difficult to acquire? Since I won't be doing any work for Swiss companies, is obtaining a visa necessary?

Thanks for any insight you can give me!!
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 20.12.2006, 19:23
Lob's Avatar
Lob Lob is offline
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: -
Posts: 8,445
Groaned at 49 Times in 44 Posts
Thanked 1,973 Times in 1,060 Posts
Blog Entries: 1
Lob has a reputation beyond reputeLob has a reputation beyond reputeLob has a reputation beyond reputeLob has a reputation beyond reputeLob has a reputation beyond repute
Re: American moving to Switzerland

where will you be studying?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 20.12.2006, 19:44
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New York/Basel
Posts: 3
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Chaucer has no particular reputation at present
Re: American moving to Switzerland

Quote:
where will you be studying?
To be determined. It's been suggested to me that I could even take an online course from a Swiss university, and that would allow me to secure a Swiss visa for the duration of the course. I have been researching classes at the University of Basel as well.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 20.12.2006, 19:47
evilshell's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: UK, formerly Basel
Posts: 3,653
Groaned at 97 Times in 81 Posts
Thanked 3,068 Times in 1,335 Posts
evilshell has a reputation beyond reputeevilshell has a reputation beyond reputeevilshell has a reputation beyond reputeevilshell has a reputation beyond reputeevilshell has a reputation beyond reputeevilshell has a reputation beyond repute
Re: American moving to Switzerland

If you are planning on staying here longer than just a few months, opening a bank account, obtaining a phone, etc. etc. etc. then yes, you'll need a visa.

To study, you'll need to speak German. I think there might be one course track or so in English at the University here, but it is masters or phd level (and not cheap!), so student visa probably won't work for you.

Easiest way to go is to get married, if you really want to be together.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 20.12.2006, 21:31
Brownie's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: ZG
Posts: 182
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 11 Times in 11 Posts
Brownie has no particular reputation at present
Re: American moving to Switzerland

I came here with a student visa for a German course "with the intention of doing further studies afterwards". My student visa was initially denied because of the school (Benedict). They told me that if I really intend to go to the university after learning the language, I should instead enroll at VKHS (English translation = University Preparatory Courses for Studies at Swiss Universities).
Just a warning though: This school has a direct contact with the Foreign Police, so that they'd report you, when you start missing classes.
I had to pay the school fees in full first, before I got my hands on the L Permit. I acquired the B Permit the moment I enrolled at the university.
__________________
Beauty isn't worth thinking about; what's important is your mind. You don't want a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head. ~G.Keillor

Last edited by Brownie; 21.12.2006 at 06:55.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 20.12.2006, 23:57
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: zürich
Posts: 810
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 74 Times in 42 Posts
Diem is considered knowledgeableDiem is considered knowledgeableDiem is considered knowledgeable
Re: American moving to Switzerland

> My question is whether, practically speaking, I need a visa.
Yup. Actually it's a dual 'working and living permit', which is why you need it even if you don't work.

> I understand that Americans do not need visas to visit Switzerland short-term.
That's just for tourism.

> Long-term, I've been advised that the only visa option really open to me would be a student visa....Since I won't be doing any work for Swiss companies, is obtaining a visa necessary?
Yes, you definitely need a it. Since your partner is taking the lead, she probably already has contact with lawyers or other experts who are helping her application. Therefore, I'd suggest you get her to piggy back requests for your work permit onto hers.

Please permit me some straight talking: Your message might have hinted that you're thinking of applying for a student visa as a 'workaround'. Frankly, if you want advice about how to enter and live here illegally, that kind of request isn't welcome here. If that wasn't what you meant, then it was my misunderstanding. No offense intended, just being direct (unlike Lob )
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 21.12.2006, 04:48
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 5
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
anika18333 has no particular reputation at present
Re: American moving to Switzerland

Hmmm.... I'm American and want to work in Switzerland for a bit and see how it goes... I actually wanted to go to Switzerland for college. I don't know if anyone here knows about Franklin College in Switzerland, an American college there. Does anyone? Anyways, what I know right now is that if you can find an international company here to sponser you to work in Switzerland then they take care of the work permits. That seems not as quickly attainable though, as they explained to me you must have worked at least 2 years first and trained in America, before such a rotation could occur. At least, that's how it is in the finance/accounting industry.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 21.12.2006, 13:14
sooninch's Avatar
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Zurich
Posts: 61
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
sooninch has no particular reputation at present
Re: American moving to Switzerland

I think you could apply for a residence permit through your girlfriend. Unlike the US many countries in Europe do recognize "cohabitant or living partners". One of my colleagues recently got one for his girlfriend. So I am not making this up.

Your GF has to be able to prove that she earns enough to support you, though (and more importantly convince the canton). As one of the above posts suggests, talking to her company lawyer or whoever is handling her visa would be the best.

Just to warn you that this may not be easy..... he had to go through several months of agony to convince the authorities that she was not a passing fling. And the company officials must be respected in that canton. And they must be willing to sympathize with your girlfriend.

You could do this when you come to Switzerland. It takes time so so this immediately.

All the best.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 21.12.2006, 15:23
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Luzern currently
Posts: 2,641
Groaned at 4 Times in 4 Posts
Thanked 721 Times in 373 Posts
Richard has a reputation beyond reputeRichard has a reputation beyond reputeRichard has a reputation beyond reputeRichard has a reputation beyond reputeRichard has a reputation beyond repute
Re: American moving to Switzerland

Lets all be blunt. You want to live in Basel "semi-legally" - no Problem.

You have three options. Firstly, fly into Frankfurt airport and catch the train south to Basel - its direct and take 2h 47 minutes... And then:

1. Trust the naughty neighbours will not say you are here.
2. Check out a flat in St. Louis in France which is around 5 minutes with the Bus/tram from Basel.
3.
Check out a flat in Weil am Rhein which is about 5 minutes with the train from Basel.

I think the German and French authorities will be more sympathetic to your circumstances than the Swiss ones...
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 21.12.2006, 15:59
sooninch's Avatar
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Zurich
Posts: 61
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
sooninch has no particular reputation at present
Re: American moving to Switzerland

Let's be clear here. There is legal and there is illegal.

Chaucer above has not to the best of my understanding hinted he wants to do something illegal.

It is perfectly acceptable for partners to make changes to their lifestyle to live closer/ with their significant others. This guy says he is willing to take a course if that would help him stay legal. That tells me that he has no intention of being illegal.

Also, he is trying to figure (within the law) if he can stay here long-term

So where are we going with this "semi-legal" stuff here?

Moral policing?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 21.12.2006, 16:20
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Appenzell
Posts: 5,904
Groaned at 108 Times in 94 Posts
Thanked 2,195 Times in 1,317 Posts
DaveA has an excellent reputationDaveA has an excellent reputationDaveA has an excellent reputationDaveA has an excellent reputation
Re: American moving to Switzerland

Judging by the couched language being used in the original post and the intention to consider a course simply to get a visa and work the system, I'd say Richard's point was justified.

There may be legal and illegal, but there is a lot of evaluation involved in deciding that. Take a look at the subjective background required to assess marriages of convenience, and you will see what I mean. Lines have to be drawn somewhere.


Also having re-read the post, I have to raise the question about whether the OP will be declaring his overseas income as earnings ? This would likely prompt an assessment of whether he is actually here as a student or worker...

I'm making no judgement at all , moral or otherwise, other than to illustrate that sailing close to the wind (is that better?) and being completely open is not as simple as it first appears.

dave



Quote:
Let's be clear here. There is legal and there is illegal.

Chaucer above has not to the best of my understanding hinted he wants to do something illegal.

It is perfectly acceptable for partners to make changes to their lifestyle to live closer/ with their significant others. This guy says he is willing to take a course if that would help him stay legal. That tells me that he has no intention of being illegal.

Also, he is trying to figure (within the law) if he can stay here long-term

So where are we going with this "semi-legal" stuff here?

Moral policing?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 21.12.2006, 16:39
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Luzern currently
Posts: 2,641
Groaned at 4 Times in 4 Posts
Thanked 721 Times in 373 Posts
Richard has a reputation beyond reputeRichard has a reputation beyond reputeRichard has a reputation beyond reputeRichard has a reputation beyond reputeRichard has a reputation beyond repute
Re: American moving to Switzerland

Quote:
Let's be clear here. There is legal and there is illegal.

Chaucer above has not to the best of my understanding hinted he wants to do something illegal.

It is perfectly acceptable for partners to make changes to their lifestyle to live closer/ with their significant others. This guy says he is willing to take a course if that would help him stay legal. That tells me that he has no intention of being illegal.

Also, he is trying to figure (within the law) if he can stay here long-term

So where are we going with this "semi-legal" stuff here?

Moral policing?
There is legal, illegal and grey area. The legal way is going to require jumping through hurdles and HOPING the Swiss say yes which is not a given and requires a large portion of luck - strictly speaking it is possible but in the current climate I would doubt lady luck will smile on you. So what's to do? Best bet is to look at those areas that are legal but against the spirit of the law ie where there is a loophole. You can actually stay as long as you want as long as you do not enter via an airport and get registered or get snitched upon by the neighbours. There is no true visa required by American citizens (unless they have changed the law again) so it is up to the Swiss authorities to prove you have stayed too long which they are not really motivated to do unless provoked - by neighbours or a criminal act.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 27.12.2006, 15:46
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New York/Basel
Posts: 3
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Chaucer has no particular reputation at present
Re: American moving to Switzerland

Thanks to everyone who posted. This information is very useful. And apologies for my delayed response--I've been busy with work and holidays.

To clarify the legal/illegal question, I don't want to do anything to defraud the Swiss government. I am trying to get a sense of what is typical and practical in situations like mine, and if a visa i required, I'll take steps to get one. On the other hand, if a visa isn't necesssary, I would rather avoid jumping through the hoops of obtaining one. That was basically what the OP was trying to get at.

To update--it seems that Novartis is willing to give me some freelance work while I'm in Basel, so I'll try to leverage that into a visa.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10.02.2011, 17:32
Newbie
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Biel
Posts: 1
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
umdbn has no particular reputation at present
Re: American moving to Switzerland

I searched and found this thread, and I'm actually in a similar situation and I was wondering if someone could offer some advice based on their experience.

I am an American citizen, and my entire direct family currently lives in Switzerland. My sister holds the C-Permit and is close to attaining her passport (she married a Swiss citizen). My parents also hold the C-Permit.

I lived here for almost 4 years on the B-Permit while studying at a private Swiss hospitality college, but moved back to the US for the job I got afterwards.

I'm attempting to make a life decision to move back long term.

What do you think of my chances to apply for the C-Permit under my parents? I turn 26 late this year, and rumour informs me that that may be the limit to which I can apply for one under my parents.

Otherwise, what other practical options do I have?
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10.02.2011, 17:43
the_clangers's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO was St Prex, VD
Posts: 2,083
Groaned at 18 Times in 15 Posts
Thanked 1,185 Times in 697 Posts
the_clangers has a reputation beyond reputethe_clangers has a reputation beyond reputethe_clangers has a reputation beyond reputethe_clangers has a reputation beyond reputethe_clangers has a reputation beyond repute
Re: American moving to Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
If you are planning on staying here longer than just a few months, opening a bank account, obtaining a phone, etc. etc. etc. then yes, you'll need a visa.
Actually, this is the important part. You can't do much with out papers. I think it is hard to even rent long term accommodation without papers.

Argh, just realised that this thread is ancient. :rolleys:
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 10.02.2011, 17:46
the_clangers's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO was St Prex, VD
Posts: 2,083
Groaned at 18 Times in 15 Posts
Thanked 1,185 Times in 697 Posts
the_clangers has a reputation beyond reputethe_clangers has a reputation beyond reputethe_clangers has a reputation beyond reputethe_clangers has a reputation beyond reputethe_clangers has a reputation beyond repute
Re: American moving to Switzerland

Quote:
View Post
I searched and found this thread, and I'm actually in a similar situation and I was wondering if someone could offer some advice based on their experience.

I am an American citizen, and my entire direct family currently lives in Switzerland. My sister holds the C-Permit and is close to attaining her passport (she married a Swiss citizen). My parents also hold the C-Permit.

I lived here for almost 4 years on the B-Permit while studying at a private Swiss hospitality college, but moved back to the US for the job I got afterwards.

I'm attempting to make a life decision to move back long term.

What do you think of my chances to apply for the C-Permit under my parents? I turn 26 late this year, and rumour informs me that that may be the limit to which I can apply for one under my parents.

Otherwise, what other practical options do I have?
If your family lives there then call the Swiss embassy and ask them what your options are. They are very nice and helpful.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 10.02.2011, 18:41
Starbug's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Bern
Posts: 705
Groaned at 8 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 226 Times in 131 Posts
Starbug has made some interesting contributions
Re: American moving to Switzerland

http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/...nf/visbel.html

You might want to read this page carefully. And yes, it is in English.
Reply With Quote
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Resources for those living in or moving to CH... Carmen Other/general 25 01.04.2011 08:59
Moving Out of Switzerland -Termination of rental elsaforever Housing in general 20 17.04.2008 21:39
Expats in Zurich...full of Swissies? Lob Other/general 36 10.01.2008 09:40
How does moving out-moving in works in switzerland? landmark77 Other/general 3 18.07.2007 12:56
Hi, I am moving to Switzerland in 3 weeks..... Ancelique Introductions 2 27.10.2006 18:59


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 21:36.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0