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Old 03.07.2019, 10:37
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Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

Hello everyone,

I will be changing job as I was offered a position in Geneva. With 92000 / year, I thought it might be better to live in Lausanne (probably lower costs?).

But I read in a thread that as a foreigner I should stay in the canton of my work. Is that true? I was a bit surprised.

Also in general, which of the two cities is easier to find a small apartment (2 or 2.5 rooms max) that is not too expensive - possibly under 2000 and is there a big difference between costs (insurance or bills etc)?
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Old 03.07.2019, 11:16
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

You won't find much difference, you'll need to pay for the commute somehow and you'll waste between 1.5 - 2 hours each day.
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Old 03.07.2019, 11:42
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

If you an EU Citizen you can live anywhere you want. If you are from a third country you cannot.
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Old 03.07.2019, 12:46
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

If cost is a major factor for you, you might consider neighboring France as well.

It highly depends on the exact location of your new job, but if it's easily reachable from a place in the French side then it might make sense.

Rents and in overall all costs are lower in surrounding French towns (Ferney, Thoiry, Saint-Julien, …trembiťres, Annemasse, etc..), but you need to choose carefully if you don't want to waste too much time in traffic jams.
(From some of them there are even public transportation available to Geneva.)

Also, if you decide to stay in CH, you don't have to move to as far as Lausanne. There are many places in between, like Nyon, Gland, Rolle, Morges, each having surrounding villages.
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Old 03.07.2019, 13:38
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

All those "quaint little villages" are equally expensive as Geneva and you also then have the time and c ost of a commute on top
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Old 03.07.2019, 13:58
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

Not only the price of rent which matters, but availability, too.
If there is nothing available in Geneva city, people need to look further out.
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Old 03.07.2019, 14:02
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

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If you an EU Citizen you can live anywhere you want. If you are from a third country you cannot.

My wife and I are non-EU. For 5.5 years we lived in VD and she worked in VS. Not one official ever mentioned any issue (Just permit renewals took longer).

I know other cases as well, at least two of which working in GE and living in VD.

Can you please point me to where it says "you cannot"?

OP: To live in France, you need a French residence permit.

Last edited by higgsboson; 03.07.2019 at 16:12.
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Old 03.07.2019, 14:03
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

I'm currently living in Geneva and looking for flats in Lausanne and have not found it any easier or less expensive. But, it probably depends on where exactly you're looking - centre-ville more difficult obviously than out in the boonies, I'd presume.

As others have suggested, try looking in France or towns like Gland if the price and availability of Geneva is too difficult.

I'm an American and had no difficulties living in a canton different from my place of employment, but I realize Americans have some privileges over other third-country nationals and it could be we are treated as EU in this regard.
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Old 03.07.2019, 14:34
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

There is no binding condition of where you live and where you work. This only makes the living permit application a bit more complicated. Living permit will be issued by the canton you live, with the working permit from the canton you work.

I lived in Zurich and worked in Lausanne for 2 years. And it's totally ok. Only I need to commute a lot ...

About living in Lausanne, the flats at Renens or Yverdon-les-Bains are not so expensive, and there are right train connections to Geneva. So might be good options to live there in order to cut down the apartment renting fee
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Old 03.07.2019, 14:35
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

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My wife and I are non-EU. For 5.5 years we lived in VD and she worked in VS. Not one official ever mentioned any issue (Just permit renewals took longer).

I know other cases as well, at least two of which working in GE and living in VD.

Can you please point me to where it says "you cannot"?

OP: To live in France, you need a French residence permit which, as a non-EU citizen, you don't have. So I don't think that's a possibility.
I believe it's more along the lines of "you cannot unless you have approval from both cantons". Or, if you're a university professor and obtained a C permit from the start, then that permit allows you to live in a different canton without any prior approval.
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Old 03.07.2019, 14:38
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

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I realize Americans have some privileges over other third-country nationals and it could be we are treated as EU in this regard.

So what are these exactly, can you tell us about these privaleges you have over other third-country nationals please ?
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Old 03.07.2019, 14:54
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

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I believe it's more along the lines of "you cannot unless you have approval from both cantons". Or, if you're a university professor and obtained a C permit from the start, then that permit allows you to live in a different canton without any prior approval.
I am neither a university professor, nor a C permit holder, nor an American, ...
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Old 03.07.2019, 15:47
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

Thank you everyone for your answers. I am a EU resident so from what you explained I won't have a problem.
I am not looking a luxury apartment in the center of the city (that is for both Lausanne or Geneva). Does anyone know any areas around the center in both cities where I could search for apartments with lower rents?
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Old 03.07.2019, 15:57
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

Have you tried the usual sites already? Comparis shows 149 properties within 2 kms of Geneva that have at least 2.5 rooms and are 2,000 CHF per month or less.

Some of the cheapest are flat shares, but it seems there is some availability for actual flats in your price range.
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Old 03.07.2019, 16:32
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

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So what are these exactly, can you tell us about these privaleges you have over other third-country nationals please ?
The two I can think of off the top of my head are that, we can exchange our driver's license for a Swiss one fairly easily (I believe most third-country nationals have to go through the courses and test, as their driver's licenses are not "recognized" by Switzerland), plus we can qualify for a C permit after 5 years of living here on a B permit, like a EU person, whereas most third-country nationals can only qualify after 10 years on a B. I think this applies to Canadians as well as Americans.
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Old 03.07.2019, 16:36
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

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My wife and I are non-EU. For 5.5 years we lived in VD and she worked in VS. Not one official ever mentioned any issue (Just permit renewals took longer).

I know other cases as well, at least two of which working in GE and living in VD.

Can you please point me to where it says "you cannot"?
.
There is no ‘cannot‘.

The law On foreigners specifically states that B and C permit holders, irrelevant if EU or not, can live and work anywhere in the country. It only requires that you inform the Cantons before as long as they are employed and the permits haven’t been revoked. There are few reasons that it could be revoked.

This has been mentioned many times on EF with the relevant laws quoted.
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Old 03.07.2019, 17:51
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

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The two I can think of off the top of my head are that, we can exchange our driver's license for a Swiss one fairly easily (I believe most third-country nationals have to go through the courses and test, as their driver's licenses are not "recognized" by Switzerland), plus we can qualify for a C permit after 5 years of living here on a B permit, like a EU person, whereas most third-country nationals can only qualify after 10 years on a B. I think this applies to Canadians as well as Americans.

There are 15 countries that can change driving license directly for a Swiss one with no further testing.


I didn't realise you could qualify for a C in 5 years with a US passport
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Old 03.07.2019, 20:12
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

Sorry, I should have said cannot, without permission from the Canton issuing the permit.
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Old 03.07.2019, 21:31
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

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Sorry, I should have said cannot, without permission from the Canton issuing the permit.
And the new one. But if you are employed* and your permit hasnít been revoked for being a threat to the national itís generally a formality.

Even the unemployed thing I question as I know people who have moved cantons on unemployment.
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Old 03.07.2019, 22:21
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Re: Working in Geneva, living in Lausanne

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Sorry, I should have said cannot, without permission from the Canton issuing the permit.
Is it any different from the typical Work Canton = Residence Canton situation? Of course the cantonal authorities should "approve" and then issue the permit. No?
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