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Old 05.06.2007, 15:53
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HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

Hi all. I received some of my documentation from HR today and have some questions about it considering what I've read on this site. The document is the Ermächtigung Zur Visumerteilung Für Die Schweizer Vertretung (EB).

The HR person said it was for both residency and work. I didn't think they did that. I thought work permit were separate from residency. Did I get one-stop-shopping, or am I waiting for something else?

Second, the duration is 12-24 months. I also thought that was a red flag. I've read several posts of people getting a similar letter only to later find out that something screwed up and instead of a B permit they got an L.

I'm skeptical of the HR people, so thought I would tap this well of knowledge. Any ideas?

Thanks.
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Old 05.06.2007, 16:24
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

The permits are for both residency and work so that is correct. I suspect they will give you a restricted B permit (Which is more probably for 12 months) which you will need to renew when it expires. L permits are more normally for EU citizens when the "Quota" for B permits has been exhausted in a particular canton. I wouldn't worry too much so long as your HR dept. is on the case. You might get a problem getting a Swiss drivers licence if you do not get a B permit, but otherwise nothing much to worry about.
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Old 05.06.2007, 16:29
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

With the documentation and duration of contract you have, being a US citizen, you will receive a B permit renewable annually. The one piece of paper is for work and residence.
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Old 05.06.2007, 16:39
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

Excellent. Thanks for the quick replies.
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Old 05.06.2007, 16:41
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

Bozo - I think I've given you this advice before, and I'm going to give it to you again - talk to your HR people and ask THEM these questions. You must be aware that you can sometimes get "questionable" advice on web forums.

Your work permit and residence permit are NOT the same thing. The fact that you have a work permit means you will be able to get a residence permit, but the residence permit won't be given to you by your employer, it will be issued by the authorities.

You need to apply for permission to enter Switzerland from the Swiss embassy in your country. You must obtain this permission and have it stamped at the border. Before you complete this step you will not receive your residence permit, whether you have a work permit or not. If you fail to heed this advice you'll find yourself in the annoying situation of having to leave the country to get a stamp before anything else happens.

But I kind of feel like I'm repeating myself here - haven't I covered this already?

In closing - please address this issue with your HR people, THEY should be the ones informing you of the procedure, not us. If you are still unclear, I suggest you contact your nearest Swiss embassy to clarify the situation.

Just because your work permit says 12-24 months doesn't mean that you will get a B. You might find that your work contract gets "revised" to suit the fact that the authorities will only issue an L.
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Old 05.06.2007, 16:46
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

Oops - I just noticed the title of the document you have been given.

This is not your work permit or your residence permit, and if HR have told you that it is then they are clearly lying.

This is just an "Authority to issue a visa for entry to Switzerland". So my guess is your next step is to obtain this visa before entering Switzerland. Mostly likely it will be placed in your passport by the embassy after you give them that authority letter.

The advice from my last post still applies.
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Old 05.06.2007, 16:50
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

Mark, I appreciate the candor, and yes, you've probably posted this before. I said in the OP that I was a bit skeptical of the HR's information when they said it was for both work & residence, and judging from your post that skepticism is warranted. I've been trying to call the consulate all morning, as I know they'll be able to give the real goods, but no luck yet. I was interested in getting evidence, even anectodal, that work/residence documents were one in the same so I did not have to send my passport to the consulate for a couple of weeks for one document, then, surprise, have to send it back for the next.
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Old 05.06.2007, 16:56
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

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I did not have to send my passport to the consulate for a couple of weeks for one document, then, surprise, have to send it back for the next.
Welcome to Switzerland, I'm sure the best is yet to come. The fact that you can't even get through to the embassy is a sign of things to come... Just be thankful that you are finding this out BEFORE you enter the country - many people have to leave and come back to play this stupid little game.
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Old 05.06.2007, 17:15
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

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This is not your work permit or your residence permit, and if HR have told you that it is then they are clearly lying.
Possibly a bit harsh - I don't think HR meant that the doc was the actual permit, did they? And you are still in the US? You take the doc to the embassy, they fill a page of your passport with the visa which you take to your gemeinde to get your residence permit.

Or did I miss something - are you in Switzerland already?
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Old 05.06.2007, 17:40
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

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they fill a page of your passport with the visa which you take to your gemeinde to get your residence permit.
Careful... you only go to your gemeinde (local community office) AFTER the visa has been stamped at the border. Forget that step and it will mean a trip outside of Switzerland to come back in...

I believe Bozo is not in Switzerland yet - his location lists Texas.
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Old 05.06.2007, 17:58
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

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Careful... you only go to your gemeinde (local community office) AFTER the visa has been stamped at the border. Forget that step and it will mean a trip outside of Switzerland to come back in...
Good point - not to mention the funny looks at the gemeinde which happened to my friend who turned up without a stamp on his visa, asked if he was working already, said yes the fool, invited to leave the country without delay. It was all sorted in the end, though, and there was an upside - it made me laugh.

Last edited by swissbob; 05.06.2007 at 17:58. Reason: forgot the stupid /
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Old 05.06.2007, 19:14
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

I'm still in Texas. However, I believe I now get it. For the most part anyway.

[0.5) Curse loud and long when Swiss Consulate doesn't answer the phone]
1) Get visa from Embassy/Consulate in US.
2) Get passport stamp
3) Get residency permit from Gemeinde.
[4) Wait for work permit which will arrive some time later. No idea when/where though. But I do get a letter from my employer stating that I'm working and we're just waiting for the paperwork to go through...or something along those lines.]


Thanks a bunch.

Last edited by bozothedeathmachine; 05.06.2007 at 19:15. Reason: Added step 0.5
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  #13  
Old 05.06.2007, 23:13
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

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[4) Wait for work permit which will arrive some time later. No idea when/where though. But I do get a letter from my employer stating that I'm working and we're just waiting for the paperwork to go through...or something along those lines.]
Almost right, except for point 4. Your work permit must be approved before your residence permit, without it there will be no residence permit. Now this letter you have about authority to issue a visa will probably state that you have a work permit and list a date when you are allowed to start work.

Hint: type it up, and run it through a translation webpage. Then at least you'll know what it says. Personally I've never understood the logic of writing to foreigners (especially in America) in German, but that's the way things go here.

Now if this bit of paper says you can start work on a certain date, then you have no problem. If it doesn't, then I would not suggest rocking up to the authorities and explain that you are already working and just waiting for the formalities to come through!

Hopefully if everything has been done properly then your work permit has been done, and recorded under a certain record number (which might be listed on your piece of paper - it is probably called an Auftragnummer). If so, you just go to your local community office (gemeinde or kreisburo), they look everything up, and then they apply for your residence permit.

So my suggestion is as soon as you get to Switzerland go and visit the authorities taking your passport and your fancy letter and see what the status is. If all is well they will apply for the permit, then you'll have to sit and wait for them to get it back (1-2 weeks). They will write to you and tell you to come and collect it, along with all the stuff you'll need to bring (written in German).

If all is not well, then it could take longer. I suggest you make it a priority to get that residence permit since your life in Switzerland cannot really start without it. Remember that whether or not you can start work is not dependant on your work permit (more the other way around), but you'd better be sure you are allowed to work before you actually do, or tell anyone about it!
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Old 06.06.2007, 16:16
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

I finally got in touch with the consulate in Atlanta.* She pretty much said everything Mark did. I send my passport to them, they do a little voodoo on it and send it back. When I arrive in CH and get my stamp I show up, then go to the Gemeinde at which point both residence and work permits should be taken care of. Of course, I've learned to take such optimism with a grain of salt.

As far as the paperwork goes, it doesn't have an Auftragnummer but it does have a Kant.Ref.-Nr and a ZAR-Nr, which are probably the same things. It also has a Zulassungscode which is their cryptic way of stating what I'm entitled to do in Swizterland, I guess. BTW, that Zulassungscode is 1406.

Thanks again, for the help.

*I've spoken with the lady in the Atlanta consulate several times now, and she couldn't be nicer. I've heard some horror stories of the stuffed-shirt bureaucracy in CH and I must say that she doesn't fit that (over-)generalization. Consider yourself lucky if you're in Atlanta's region and you have to speak with her.
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Old 06.06.2007, 20:01
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

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As far as the paperwork goes, it doesn't have an Auftragnummer but it does have a Kant.Ref.-Nr and a ZAR-Nr, which are probably the same things. It also has a Zulassungscode which is their cryptic way of stating what I'm entitled to do in Swizterland, I guess. BTW, that Zulassungscode is 1406.
Ok, you are in business - you have a ZAR number - you are now officially a filthy foreigner! This will be the same number which will be on your permit (the one which you have to carry around with you and hand over to the police on demand - but I never carry mine).

This will be the same number that you will find on your tattoo*. Congratulations, the chances of all of this going off the rails has just decreased. You should have mentioned the ZAR number earlier.

Now you can busy yourself figuring our what kind of internet connection to get, how to open a bank account and finding somewhere to live where you can flush the toilet during the night.

* I do hope that readers didn't take my tattoo comment seriously. Things aren't as bad that - yet.
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Old 06.06.2007, 21:30
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

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Now you can busy yourself figuring our what kind of internet connection to get, how to open a bank account and finding somewhere to live where you can flush the toilet during the night.
Not so fast there, Mark. I'm still working on the application for their website as it seems tailored to those are a staying a definite amount of time and not emigrating. It's good to know I'm over one major hurdle though.

Thanks everyone! I'll be there soon enough to bother you all in person.

Update: I sent a number of questions to the consulate and received an immediate response saying it may take up to 5 days to respond. Then 5 minutes later I received another response with answers to my questions. Again, I have to say that the Atlanta consulate is awesome.

Last edited by bozothedeathmachine; 06.06.2007 at 21:48. Reason: Updated
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Old 28.07.2007, 19:43
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

Yes, Atlanta consulate is awesome. Ask everything you can think of now and more there. I actually drove across the US to have them load up the visa sticker in my passport before I first arrived -- it only took about five minutes! The second visa I drove to the Milan office, so there are options. It also only took a few minutes there, too. Have cash ready wherever you go. Read the book Living and Working in Switzerland (It's GREAT!) and make sure you have clear and complete communication with the HR folks.

Another cultural thing I wish I'd known ahead of time: you are right not to trust anyone or take anything at face value, esp. in the workplace. I know that sounds harsh, but there is a cultural tendency in workplaces toward mobbing and, consequently, secrecy, trickery and outright lying. I'd never encountered anyting like it in US or other European firms. A Bernese friend explained that by the time they're 25, Swiss people just know this.

AND I love it here and have no plans to leave and hope you'll enjoy your time here too! It's beautiful and people in all four linguistic/cultural areas are great and friendly, especially once you get to know them.

Ciao!
Rebecca
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Old 19.08.2007, 12:14
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

Hi All,

I'm bumping this one up because I am in a not-dissimilar position.

Originally my company said I would get a B-permit but then I ended up with an L-permit due to quotas. No big drama there as I presume I will change to a B-permit when available.

Then the date they wanted me to start was delayed due to processing this application. I couldn't delay my entry to Switzerland because all arrangements were made so I came as a tourist (as I'm allowed to) and went back to Italy and re-entered on a visa.

Now it gets interesting. I went back to Italy to get my visa at the Swiss Consulate in Milan and they said I didn't need to get my visa stamped at the border crossing by train, but to visit the local office in Lausanne (in the end no-one checked my passport on the train anyway). I've since read here, however, that if you don't get it stamped at the border you may have to leave/enter again. Is this still the case?

Where exactly would I go to get it stamped within Lausanne?
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Old 19.08.2007, 12:56
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

Mark, I'm another Aussie who came recently with an L permit and I never had my 1-month entry visa stamped. I had no trouble getting my permit processed when I registered in Berne. The lady processing my permit looked at the visa but didn't say anything about it, and seemed much more interested in the piece of paper that said "Ermachtigung blah blah blah". In the month before I registered I went in and out of Switzerland several times by plane and train and even when I actually did have to show my passport to immigration officials (e.g. at Zurich airport) no one seemed that interested in the visa (actually all of my comings and goings were before the start date of the visa anyway!).

The only situation that I can imagine in which the entry visa might have been useful is if I had been travelling to Switzerland from Australia or the US on a 1-way ticket. I found out the hard way several years ago that you need to have a return or onward ticket for visa-free entry to Europe. The airlines police this and I have been asked at check-in counters in Australia and the US to show a visa or residence permit to prove I could enter Europe (when travelling on a 1-way or return leg ticket). On the one occasion when I didn't have a visa to show I was refused boarding until I bought an expensive refundable Copenhagen-Sydney ticket. After that I had a better understanding of the rules.

Anyway I think you probably don't need your visa stamped but this being Switzerland requirements may vary from canton to canton, official to official or day to day. Probably best to just ask at whichever office it is you need to register at to get your L permit.
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Old 19.08.2007, 19:01
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Re: HR says my permit is for both residence and work. Is it?

Alright thanks for that. I guess the system is more flexible than I expect!

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Anyway I think you probably don't need your visa stamped but this being Switzerland requirements may vary from canton to canton, official to official or day to day. Probably best to just ask at whichever office it is you need to register at to get your L permit.
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