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Old 09.03.2022, 16:14
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Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

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Hello everyone!

Given the large inflow of Ukrainians to Switzerland, a gathered information on practical aspects of life in Switzerland would be super useful. Does anyone know if we have something like this set up on the forum?
Information starting from what's typically needed upon the arrival (insurance, bank account, etc) to the list of supermarkets, swiss-specific rules (like garbage, Sundays and late evening noise, etc), integration process (like language courses) as well as kids related information.
Thank you. I think this is a very good idea, so I'm opening this new thread for it:
Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

First of all, to any refugee newly arrived from the war in Ukraine, welcome to Switzerland.

I hope many people will add to this thread.
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  #2  
Old 09.03.2022, 16:15
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

Permitted stay in Switzerland
  1. You are permitted to enter Switzerland by showing your Ukraine passport, possibly also if you have another passport and documents proving that you have been living in the Ukraine.
  2. You are then permitted stay in Switzerland, without a visa, for 90 days.
  3. If you wish to stay beyond 90 days, you must register with a Swiss Refugee organisation before the end of the 90 days.

Please note that this information has been updated, below.

Last edited by doropfiz; 11.03.2022 at 15:06.
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Old 09.03.2022, 16:15
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

Accommodation
  1. If you have your own money, you are allowed to live at your own expense, in a hotel, AirBnB, etc., of your own choice.
  2. You can find a private host through an organisation (I hope someone will post the links to those groups, below).
  3. You can register with an official Swiss Refugee organisation. They will then provide you with accommodation (that may be in a hostel, and it is possible that you will have to share rooms with other people), or they might help you to find a room with a private person or family.

Edit: please see also post in this thread:
https://www.englishforum.ch/3399795-post54.html

Last edited by doropfiz; 20.03.2022 at 13:28.
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Old 09.03.2022, 16:15
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

Items for Everyday Use
The refugee centres are not all the same, and can be different in towns and cities across the country. In any case, the accommodation will have beds, chairs and tables.
If you are not given basic items like bedding and towels, pots and pans, or lamps and writing material, or clothing, etc. please
  1. ask the leaders of the centre, or
  2. ask at a church, mosque or synagogue. Many groups have been collecting goods to help, and someone, somewhere, will probably find what you need, or
  3. post your need here on this Forum, to see if anyone can help.
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Old 09.03.2022, 16:17
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

Transport
  1. You are allowed to travel on all the trains belonging to the SBB (Swiss national train service), for free. This was decided during March 2022, and it has not yet been announce until when this special condition will continue.
  2. This does not apply to local city transport, where you will need to buy a ticket at the ticket-machine before you enter the bus or tram.

Please note that this information has been updated on 21 March 2022 in post 58 and 59, below.
https://www.englishforum.ch/3400027-post58.html

Last edited by doropfiz; 21.03.2022 at 19:20.
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Old 09.03.2022, 16:17
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

Medical Costs and Insurance
  1. While you are a guest/tourist: If you become ill or have an accident, you will not be able to access free medical services If you need treatment, you will have to pay for this yourself. However, if you do not have the money to pay, please ask at a Refugee organisation, or at a church, mosque or synagogue.
  2. As soon as you register with an official Swiss Refugee organisation: you will be given free medical insurance, which will cover the costs for any medical treatment you need.
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Old 09.03.2022, 16:18
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

Money and Spending
  1. If you register with a Swiss Refugee organisation, you will be given plain accommodation (see "Accommodation") and medical insurance (see "Medical Costs and Insurance") and a small allowance to buy your own food to cook yourself, where you live. You will probably also be given basic clothing, to start with. (See also: "Items for Everyday Use").
  2. The main supermarkets are Migros and Coop. Things are sometimes cheaper in Aldi and Denner.
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Old 09.03.2022, 16:18
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

Banking
Once you have a document proving that you are now registered in Switzerland, and showing your address, you will be able to open a bank account. Some banks charge more fees than others. If you do not have a lot of money, then MigrosBank is a good place to start, or else PostFinance. The advantage of MigrosBank is that you can draw money in any Migros Supermarket, with no fees.
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Old 09.03.2022, 16:23
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

Language
  • For important matters (interviews about your family's needs, working out schools for the children, etc.) the Refugee Organsation will try to provide you with translators.
  • It is important that every member of the family try to learn the local, official Swiss language (depending on the Canton where you live: German, French or Italian) as soon as possible. This will make every step better, as you learn to live in Switzerland. The Refugee Centre, or the municipality, will probably provide free lessons... I hope someone will provide more details as they know of such offers.

Edit: For learning, yourself, please see post 51 of this thread, below:
https://www.englishforum.ch/3399750-post51.html

For online translations, please see post 53 of this thread, below:
https://www.englishforum.ch/3399754-post53.html

Last edited by doropfiz; 20.03.2022 at 12:53.
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Old 09.03.2022, 16:24
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

Schools
  1. For all children living in Switzerland, school is free, and it is obligatory.
  2. Kindergarten starts at the age of about 4 or 5 (this is different, depending on where you live), and lasts for one or two years, sometimes three.
  3. Primary school starts straight after Kindergarten, and goes on to secondary school, which lasts until the child is about 16.
  4. If your child is about aged about 10 to 12, you should ask for an explanation about the difference betwen Secondary School and Gymnasium (which is the academic school to prepare a child for university).
  5. There are special integration courses for children who arrive in Switzerland when they are already teenagers.

There is a lot of information on this Forum about how the Swiss school system works.
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Old 09.03.2022, 18:44
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

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Medical Costs and Insurance
  1. While you are a guest/tourist: If you become ill or have an accident, you will not be able to access free medical services If you need treatment, you will have to pay for this yourself. However, if you do not have the money to pay, please ask at a Refugee organisation, or at a church, mosque or synagogue.
  2. As soon as you register with an official Swiss Refugee organisation: you will be given free medical insurance, which will cover the costs for any medical treatment you need.
As said on the other thread, this is being discussed and debated right now- as authorities realise many families, mainly women and children, will be better hosted by families in own home, rather than refugee centre. Same for basic 'pocket' money.
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Old 10.03.2022, 20:10
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

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Accommodation
  1. If you have your own money, you are allowed to live at your own expense, in a hotel, AirBnB, etc., of your own choice.
  2. You can find a private host through an organisation (I hope someone will post the links to those groups, below).
  3. You can register with an official Swiss Refugee organisation. They will then provide you with accommodation (that may be in a hostel, and it is possible that you will have to share rooms with other people), or they might help you to find a room with a private person or family.
Here is updated info from the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration SEM about
Obtaining the status of "Refugee"
which then gives you access to accommodation.

Here the steps are set out, to register and be assessed:
https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...ine-krieg.html
Scroll down to:

How can persons from Ukraine apply for asylum in Switzerland?
Anyone can apply for asylum on entry
  • at a border crossing,
  • at border control at a Swiss airport, or
  • directly at one of the six federal asylum centres with processing facilities.
The State Secretariat for Migration SEM examines each application individually and carefully according to the actual circumstances in each case. It establishes whether the asylum seeker has refugee status under Article 3 of the Asylum Act.

This is that Article 3 (the legal definition of a refugee)
https://www.fedlex.admin.ch/eli/cc/1999/358/en#art_3
Here are the addresses of the centres where you can register:
https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/asyl/adressen.html

See also post 42 of this thread:
https://www.englishforum.ch/3399312-post42.html

Update 22. March 2022: For advice from the Canton of Neuchatel, see also post 60 of this thread:
https://www.englishforum.ch/3400128-post60.html

Last edited by doropfiz; 22.03.2022 at 12:32.
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  #13  
Old 10.03.2022, 20:13
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

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Permitted stay in Switzerland
  1. You are permitted to enter Switzerland by showing your Ukraine passport, possibly also if you have another passport and documents proving that you have been living in the Ukraine.
  2. You are then permitted stay in Switzerland, without a visa, for 90 days.
  3. If you wish to stay beyond 90 days, you must register with a Swiss Refugee organisation before the end of the 90 days.
Please note that this information has been updated, from the post above.

Here is updated info from the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration SEM about
Ukraine citizens entering Switzerland
  • without a biometric passport,
  • without a Covid vaccination certificate and even
  • without any papers at all.

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...ine-krieg.html
Scroll down to
Can Ukrainian citizens enter Switzerland without a biometric travel document?
Yes. Switzerland is showing solidarity and will grant exemptions to
  • Ukrainian citizens who do not have a biometric travel document or a visa, and to
  • Ukrainians who have not received a COVID-19 vaccination,
unless there are compelling reasons in an individual case for refusing entry.

In addition, Ukrainians can also enter Switzerland
  • if they have no travel documents at all, provided they can credibly show that they left their country because of the conflict.

Last edited by doropfiz; 11.03.2022 at 15:07.
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Old 10.03.2022, 20:16
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

This is a well-respected refugee organisation - they are connecting refugees and hosts in Switzerland.



https://www.fluechtlingshilfe.ch/
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Old 11.03.2022, 12:55
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

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Transport
  1. You are allowed to travel on all the trains belonging to the SBB (Swiss national train service), for free. This was decided during March 2022, and it has not yet been announce until when this special condition will continue.
  2. This does not apply to local city transport, where you will need to buy a ticket at the ticket-machine before you enter the bus or tram.
Please note that this information has been updated, from the post above.

The correct information is set out by Axa in this thread:
https://www.englishforum.ch/transpor...izens-sbb.html

Free travel on the Swiss Rail network, for people from the Ukraine, is not for travel in general, while you are here. It applies only to those
  • entering the country and travelling to one's destination in Switzerland, or
  • crossing the country (transit) to leave again to go to another country.

Please note that this information has been updated, on 21 March 2022 in post 58 and 59, below.
https://www.englishforum.ch/3400027-post58.html

Last edited by doropfiz; 21.03.2022 at 19:20.
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Old 12.03.2022, 11:57
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

Specific information for the city of Basel:
Register for status S in the city of Basel at the asylum center at Freiburgerstrasse 50, then get an asylum certificate at Spiegelgasse 12. More than 200 offers of private accommodation.

More information in German: https://www.medien.bs.ch/nm/2022-kri...stadt-wsu.html
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Old 12.03.2022, 12:11
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

Does anyone know where to register for the S permit in Zurich? Many thanks.
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Old 12.03.2022, 12:48
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

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Does anyone know where to register for the S permit in Zurich? Many thanks.
Yes. From the link in post 12, above:
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Here are the addresses of the centres:
https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/asyl/adressen.html
Not every town or city has such a centre; they are for regions. But scroll down to "Zurich".
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Old 12.03.2022, 12:49
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

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Does anyone know where to register for the S permit in Zurich? Many thanks.
Yes. The addresses are in the link in post 12, above:
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Here are the addresses of the centres:
https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/asyl/adressen.html
Not every town or city has such a centre; they are for regions.
  • French-speaking Switzerland
  • Bern
  • North-Western Switzerland
  • Ticino and Central Switzerland
  • Eastern Switzerland
  • Zurich

Update 22. March 2022: For advice from the Canton of Neuchatel, see also post 60 of this thread:
https://www.englishforum.ch/3400128-post60.html

Last edited by doropfiz; 22.03.2022 at 12:31.
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Old 12.03.2022, 13:06
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Re: Ukraine Refugees already in Switzerland: Practical Tips

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Yes. The addresses are in the link in post 12, above:

Not every town or city has such a centre; they are for regions.
  • French-speaking Switzerland
  • Bern
  • North-Western Switzerland
  • Ticino and Central Switzerland
  • Eastern Switzerland
  • Zurich
As things stand at the moment the only centre with the facility to process for asylum seekers/ refugees in Romandie outside of the Geneva airport office is the centre in Boudry in the canton of Neuchâtel.
I’m that will change over the coming weeks due to the sheer number of people requiring it.
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