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Old 29.07.2021, 07:32
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Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

Hi all, and thank you for previous help.
We are moving to the Geneva area in late September. My wife is a diplomat with the UN, I've largely been a stay at home dad (retired school teacher and formerly in business).
We plan to live in Vaud, for a few reasons, it's beautiful, it's on the correct side of the lake for the UN, we'd like a house with a garden (but are not rich).
We are still deciding between having our eight year old attend school in public school or at the local international school (Le Chat).
Our eight year old is fluent in English and Japanese, has attended IB school in Japan for several years. She is social and seems to make friends readily.
We don't have an house chosen yet, but would like her to start school pretty soon.
From what we've gathered, the CDL (carte de légitimation) vital to our life. My wife, the diplomat, has heard that it will take about a month to be issued. I'm a US/Irish dual passport holder, and expect to be in Switzerland on the Irish one.
My questions include:
Can we register our daughter in public school (Vaud) before/without the CDL?
What do we need to have to register her?
Is it okay to start her in October?
We've heard wonderful things about Swiss schools tutoring/fast tracking non French speaking children at public schools. Knowing that in reality ESID (every situation is different), as a generalization, is this pretty much the case? Will she be assigned a remedial teacher for French immediately or is there a process? Do most schools have some staff there that can help?
We'd like to have her learn French if possible, but also to become friends with local and nearby children.

Our other option is Le Chat, which looks like a wonderful school, and would be a fairly smooth transition (IB, our daughter is "international", and English being readily available.
Of course, it's pricey, and she will probably not know the neighborhood children as quickly, and there will be a commute.
I didn't see anything about CDL required for her to start school, and am under the impression that since it's an international school, so long as there's some ID (passport) for the child, and the tuition is paid, they would be more flexible during our transition period (locating a house in the area, getting a car, waiting on CDL.

I'd really appreciate answers, advice, personal experiences, and information that you can provide. Thank you very much.
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Old 29.07.2021, 08:23
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

I am not in your area so cant give you specific advice. But if you only looked at one school - did you check if there is a space for her? Some international schools used to have waiting lists. Not sure if thats still the case but you need to at least check.
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Old 29.07.2021, 08:39
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

To register in the standard state school it's more your address that's important than your CDL or type of permit.
I don't believe you'll be asked for those at all but you can't just pick any state school you want, it needs to be the one where you live.

It's not always completely obvious either. One of my kids goes to school in our village and the other to the next village by bus. One village might do all classes, another might only do younger or older..

So I'd say get the accommodation sorted and talk to the school nearby to register.. It's a few years since I did it but it was very simple, kicked it off with an email to them, filled in a form or two.. They confirm which school / class the kid will go to.

They are indeed very supportive in terms of language and extra help where required
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Old 30.07.2021, 00:17
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

John is correct - you will need a registration with the office cantonal de la population as a precondition to consider public school. My best guess is that it will be possible to register even without the CDL, with attestation from the UN that the request has been submitted.
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Old 30.07.2021, 04:55
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

I've checked, the international school can accomodate her.

The problem is, if I'm not mistaken, that we cannot rent a home until we've the CDL, and so we won't have an address for a public school until that is done, so she will be missing several weeks of school - and has already done so.

Any thoughts?
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Old 30.07.2021, 06:59
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

I don't know about the CDL.. But we rented our first place without having permits .. My employer had requested them, we had a letter saying they were in the process..

The regie accepted that along with the other documents - employment contract, passport.

Normally once established here you need permit/CDL, payslips, attestation of no debt etc. But as newcomers we rented fine with just employment contract and passport and the letter saying the permit was requested.

Was same for all the other stuff, we opened bank account, got phones, insurance, everything else before our actual permits.
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Old 30.07.2021, 07:21
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

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To register in the standard state school it's more your address that's important than your CDL or type of permit.
I don't believe you'll be asked for those at all but you can't just pick any state school you want, it needs to be the one where you live.
This.

Tom
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Old 30.07.2021, 07:29
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

Speaking of bank accounts… Have a search here for info on US citizens and bank accounts. Due to US FATCA legislation many banks are not looking for US customers.
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Old 30.07.2021, 08:37
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

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I don't know about the CDL.. But we rented our first place without having permits .. My employer had requested them, we had a letter saying they were in the process..

The regie accepted that along with the other documents - employment contract, passport.

Normally once established here you need permit/CDL, payslips, attestation of no debt etc. But as newcomers we rented fine with just employment contract and passport and the letter saying the permit was requested.

Was same for all the other stuff, we opened bank account, got phones, insurance, everything else before our actual permits.
Oh, I hope that this is still the case! That will be a relief.
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Old 30.07.2021, 08:40
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

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Speaking of bank accounts… Have a search here for info on US citizens and bank accounts. Due to US FATCA legislation many banks are not looking for US customers.
Well, I hope that since my wife is Japanese and the primary earner in Switzerland, coupled with me planning on entering under my Irish passport (using my EU status, rather than my US citizenship), that the banking isn't a major issue. Ugh.
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Old 30.07.2021, 08:45
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

Vaud is a big canton that goes from Nyon to Aigle with Lausanne in the middle.

If you want to live here [I live in Vaud] you need to find a place that is on the main line to Geneva, look it up on the cff.ch website. Don't think about driving into work unless you got dedicated parking?

There is fast train for example that travels from Lausanne to Geneva, I think it takes it at least 36m, most trains take approximately 45min. But wait, that only get you to the main train station, and the UN has buildings all over.

Private schools are expensive, maybe the UN will pay I don't know. Public school only makes sense if you'll stay for the next decade, until your daughter finishes school [minimum 15 years old]. So you wife needs to argue the needs private perhaps if the post is for X years only?

I think the best place to live along that route is Vevey, beyond Lausanne. It is the HQ of Nestle who have a 3000 people office there... so it is very international, rich place. Great shops, fast link to Geneva [Lausanne line], lakeside...

Living in a house wouldn't come cheap, places in Vevey area are at least 3K a month, usually more [as in 4K]. Send me a PM if you got more questions, I too am a stay at home dad.

I know cause I lived there for 10 years! and I commuted to Geneva some of that time too.

A good contact you might would to make is a lady called Lisa who runs this website www.knowitall.ch, she is based in Geneva. I would focus on finding a place that is close to the private school you want your kid to go to... assuming you go private.
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Old 30.07.2021, 08:55
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

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Well, I hope that since my wife is Japanese and the primary earner in Switzerland, coupled with me planning on entering under my Irish passport (using my EU status, rather than my US citizenship), that the banking isn't a major issue. Ugh.
I certainly am not an expert, but this is something you need advice on. Proceed cautiously.
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Old 30.07.2021, 08:59
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

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Vaud is a big canton that goes from Nyon to Aigle with Lausanne in the middle.

If you want to live here [I live in Vaud] you need to find a place that is on the main line to Geneva, look it up on the cff.ch website. Don't think about driving into work unless you got dedicated parking?

There is fast train for example that travels from Lausanne to Geneva, I think it takes it at least 36m, most trains take approximately 45min. But wait, that only get you to the main train station, and the UN has buildings all over.

Private schools are expensive, maybe the UN will pay I don't know. Public school only makes sense if you'll stay for the next decade, until your daughter finishes school [minimum 15 years old]. So you wife needs to argue the needs private perhaps if the post is for X years only?

I think the best place to live along that route is Vevey, beyond Lausanne. It is the HQ of Nestle who have a 3000 people office there... so it is very international, rich place. Great shops, fast link to Geneva [Lausanne line], lakeside...

Living in a house wouldn't come cheap, places in Vevey area are at least 3K a month, usually more [as in 4K]. Send me a PM if you got more questions, I too am a stay at home dad.

I know cause I lived there for 10 years! and I commuted to Geneva some of that time too.

A good contact you might would to make is a lady called Lisa who runs this website www.knowitall.ch, she is based in Geneva. I would focus on finding a place that is close to the private school you want your kid to go to... assuming you go private.
Thank you!!!

We expect to stay on the mainline, or as close as possible - my wife drives, but prefers to use public transport. That said, it appears that she will get a parking spot.

We currently pay for our daughter at a school in Japan (home nation of my wife). The UN will pay a portion of the tuition - but my wife is in charge of raising funding for her division, so prefers not to use her UN benefits as much.

We like the idea of public school for four reasons, but maybe we are assuming incorrectly on some: 1. free 2. learning French 3. children nearer to home to play with 4. seeing life more or less normally for a few years. We may be in Switzerland two to ten years, no idea.

Unfortunately Lausanne is further than my wife will agree to, so yes finding a place is a challenge. Especially for a budget.

All of this information is much appreciated! Stay at home fathers of the world UNITE!
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Old 30.07.2021, 09:00
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

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I certainly am not an expert, but this is something you need advice on. Proceed cautiously.
Having done a quick search I'm not finding anything saying that the banks are refusing US customers... but I will try to find out more, thanks for bringing this to my attention!
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Old 30.07.2021, 09:11
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

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Well, I hope that since my wife is Japanese and the primary earner in Switzerland, coupled with me planning on entering under my Irish passport (using my EU status, rather than my US citizenship), that the banking isn't a major issue. Ugh.
That won't matter. They'll still ask you if you have any connection to the US which you do - your citizenship. In which case most banks won't touch you. Only UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance will consider you for a basic checking/salary account. You will need to sign a W-9 form to allow the bank to send your account details on to the IRS; your wife will too if you decide to have a joint account. And don't think to lie about it. If the bank finds out they'll probably immediately close any accounts you have.

You can blame the US's FATCA law for all this. Even before it was implemented most banks here threw out their US customers as the easiest option for them rather than deal with the hassle that law causes.

As a US citizen you're also obliged to continue filing US tax returns and could owe the US tax on top of your local ones here. Start your research on that here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...-aliens-abroad

You will also need to fill in FBAR forms every year detailing your foreign, i.e. outside of US, bank accounts.
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Old 30.07.2021, 09:16
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

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That won't matter. They'll still ask you if you have any connection to the US which you do - your citizenship. In which case most banks won't touch you. Only UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance will consider you for a basic checking/salary account. You will need to sign a W-9 form to allow the bank to send your account details on to the IRS; your wife will too if you decide to have a joint account. And don't think to lie about it. If the bank finds out they'll probably immediately close any accounts you have.

You can blame the US's FATCA law for all this. Even before it was implemented most banks here threw out their US customers as the easiest option for them rather than deal with the hassle that law causes.

As a US citizen you're also obliged to continue filing US tax returns and could owe the US tax on top of your local ones here. Start your research on that here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...-aliens-abroad

You will also need to fill in FBAR forms every year detailing your foreign, i.e. outside of US, bank accounts.
All good to know. Would never plan on lying about any of this. We are honest folks.
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Old 30.07.2021, 20:25
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

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I've checked, the international school can accomodate her.

The problem is, if I'm not mistaken, that we cannot rent a home until we've the CDL, and so we won't have an address for a public school until that is done, so she will be missing several weeks of school - and has already done so.

Any thoughts?
Should not be a problem, one year ago I changed the apartment and needed to find someone to takeover. I had a UN lady with her family apply from Nairobi (no foot set in CH at the time) and she was accepted by the Regie, no questions asked. This was in Geneva (she later decided not to take it, which is another story...). Same as John's experience below. .[/QUOTE]

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Vaud is a big canton that goes from Nyon to Aigle with Lausanne in the middle.

If you want to live here [I live in Vaud] you need to find a place that is on the main line to Geneva, look it up on the cff.ch website. Don't think about driving into work unless you got dedicated parking?

There is fast train for example that travels from Lausanne to Geneva, I think it takes it at least 36m, most trains take approximately 45min. But wait, that only get you to the main train station, and the UN has buildings all over.

Private schools are expensive, maybe the UN will pay I don't know. Public school only makes sense if you'll stay for the next decade, until your daughter finishes school [minimum 15 years old]. So you wife needs to argue the needs private perhaps if the post is for X years only?

I think the best place to live along that route is Vevey, beyond Lausanne. It is the HQ of Nestle who have a 3000 people office there... so it is very international, rich place. Great shops, fast link to Geneva [Lausanne line], lakeside...

If you/wife are driving, the farthest you want to go is Nyon/Gland. Anything else is just a nonsense. And neither by train, it is just way too far. Honestly, I can't imagine what advantage anyone would have living in Lausanne or around and working in Geneva. Vevey just doesn't make any sense.

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Thank you!!!

We expect to stay on the mainline, or as close as possible - my wife drives, but prefers to use public transport. That said, it appears that she will get a parking spot.

We currently pay for our daughter at a school in Japan (home nation of my wife). The UN will pay a portion of the tuition - but my wife is in charge of raising funding for her division, so prefers not to use her UN benefits as much.

We like the idea of public school for four reasons, but maybe we are assuming incorrectly on some: 1. free 2. learning French 3. children nearer to home to play with 4. seeing life more or less normally for a few years. We may be in Switzerland two to ten years, no idea.

Unfortunately Lausanne is further than my wife will agree to, so yes finding a place is a challenge. Especially for a budget.

All of this information is much appreciated! Stay at home fathers of the world UNITE!
Totally support your school choice. I am just perplexed with all foreigners sending their children to expensive private schools that are normally of lower standard than Swiss schools that are free. In any case if you chose private, UN will be paying around 75% of the fees (but there are ceilings; if you go above, they don't pay 75 but 65, etc...). It does not matter what job your wife will have (be it fundraising or else), it is an entitlement, but the one that just doesn't make sense in CH.


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That won't matter. They'll still ask you if you have any connection to the US which you do - your citizenship. In which case most banks won't touch you. Only UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance will consider you for a basic checking/salary account. You will need to sign a W-9 form to allow the bank to send your account details on to the IRS; your wife will too if you decide to have a joint account. And don't think to lie about it. If the bank finds out they'll probably immediately close any accounts you have.

You can blame the US's FATCA law for all this. Even before it was implemented most banks here threw out their US customers as the easiest option for them rather than deal with the hassle that law causes.

As a US citizen you're also obliged to continue filing US tax returns and could owe the US tax on top of your local ones here. Start your research on that here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...-aliens-abroad

You will also need to fill in FBAR forms every year detailing your foreign, i.e. outside of US, bank accounts.
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I certainly am not an expert, but this is something you need advice on. Proceed cautiously.

Will you even need a bank account? Your wife can just open it herself, as an individual and you can get credit cards linked to her account (if she allows you of course, .

Even if you do, don't make a hassle to your wife with a joint account Open one for yourself which should be much easier for both of you. In fact, I never understood this Swiss fashion of having joint accounts.
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Old 31.07.2021, 17:14
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

Mike, Thank you. You've really been a big help and I appreciate it. I'm hoping that by this time next year, I'll have enough knowledge to share with newcomers.

We've lived in several different countries, and I try to do homework before arriving - it certainly helps. We get that our UN situation puts us in a different category than others here, but that can be said about pretty much anyone's situation.

Yes, Nyon/Gland are as far out as we want really, I think Gilly is the absolute furthest. I've been to Vevey by train once... on the way to Chillon, that's really too far.

As for the schools - still undecided - I do know that while there's a UN entitlement, her division is small enough that the tuition entitlement could be an issue. Thanks for the reassurance regarding public schools.

We've always had joint accounts, but if our current accounts from overseas will work (through the UN), we'll just work that way!

Again... thanks.
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Old 01.08.2021, 11:59
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

Thanks Matty! No problem at all, if any issues feel free to PM me.
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Old 02.08.2021, 08:12
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Re: Elementary school in Geneva (Vaud) questions

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If you/wife are driving, the farthest you want to go is Nyon/Gland. Anything else is just a nonsense. And neither by train, it is just way too far. Honestly, I can't imagine what advantage anyone would have living in Lausanne or around and working in Geneva. Vevey just doesn't make any sense.
If you drive, I agree with that. But I would not even consider it as traffic is really bad in the region. If you go by train, I wouldn't be that categorical. The question is more about your total travel time from home to work. Sometimes, if you have an option close to a station, with a slightly longer train trip, it can really be worth it.
What advantage is there? Simply that Nyon is exactly the place from where home prices start really to decrease.
By the why, you may want to consider some places that are slightly away from the main corridor. Some villages have very good transport and services, with cheaper real estate.

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Totally support your school choice. I am just perplexed with all foreigners sending their children to expensive private schools that are normally of lower standard than Swiss schools that are free. In any case if you chose private, UN will be paying around 75% of the fees (but there are ceilings; if you go above, they don't pay 75 but 65, etc...). It does not matter what job your wife will have (be it fundraising or else), it is an entitlement, but the one that just doesn't make sense in CH.
I agree with you except on one aspect: a local school will teach in French and will teach the local curriculum. So it's a better option in every aspect but when a family is here only for a very short time.
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