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Old 13.03.2019, 15:07
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Do I need the Residence Permit B to rent an apartment?

Hi all,

I tried to google and used the search function and while I have gotten lots of information that way, I am still confused about something...

So, I read in several posts that foreigners need a residence permit when applying to rent an apartment. But then I also read that you need an apartment contract to apply for the residence permit? How is that possible? When I googled the Residence Permit B, I could not find an official list of documents I would need to bring but the firm I will be working for in Zurich told me I need housing in order to be able to get the Permit.

Is that true? How do people do this when they need the permit to get an apartment but the apartment is also necessary to get the permit?

I am German citizen, so not sure if that changes anything.

Any help is much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 13.03.2019, 15:10
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Re: Do I need the Residence Permit B to rent an apartment?

From a legal point of view: One does not need any permit to rent an apartment.
From the landlords point of view: They might request that you have a permit.
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Old 13.03.2019, 15:12
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Re: Do I need the Residence Permit B to rent an apartment?

Ok, thank you for the quick reply! But it is a sure thing that I need an apartment in order to apply for the permit B, correct?
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Old 13.03.2019, 15:16
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Re: Do I need the Residence Permit B to rent an apartment?

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Ok, thank you for the quick reply! But it is a sure thing that I need an apartment in order to apply for the permit B, correct?

That or a longer term rental agreement with a hotel, some Kantons also accept AirBnB rental contracts (but check that out first) for example.
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Old 13.03.2019, 15:24
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Re: Do I need the Residence Permit B to rent an apartment?

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Ok, thank you for the quick reply! But it is a sure thing that I need an apartment in order to apply for the permit B, correct?
You might need proof of a permanent address for longer than the next 3 months. Can be a Hotel, Campground, Air'BnB etc. But it should be for at least 3 months. Otherwise you might have to hop through hoops, have to be persistent and face some bureaucratic Catch-22 and Passierschein A38 problems. As federal law mandates registration within 14 days if you intend to stay permanently, but specifically registration must be done before you start to work, but cantons policies says a temp rental contract of less than 3 months is no proof that one intends to stay permanently. With the nice cherry on the top, the the work contract can be cancelled within the first 3 month easily by both sides and a long term rental commitment might not be the best option.

Be aware, just like in Germany you must report any change of address at the commune. If you are from Berlin, heard it is a mess at the Einwohnermeldeamt with long waiting times. Nothing like that in Switzerland.
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Old 13.03.2019, 15:35
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Re: Do I need the Residence Permit B to rent an apartment?

Ok, thanks again for all the responses!

I am currently living and working in the US and will be transferred to work in Zurich, right now as of August 1st. However, I will take 2 month of unpaid leave to have enough time to move back and as I was hoping find an apartment before I start working.

So my plan was to move back to my parents who live in the north of Germany (small town) and then go for a few days to Zurich in June to visit and apply to as many apartments as possible, then hopefully find one for 7/15 so that I have two weeks to buy furniture, move and everything and during that time I would also apply for the Permit B. And then start working 8/01.

However, if the landlords ask for a Permit this plan won't work out lol
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Old 13.03.2019, 15:39
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Re: Do I need the Residence Permit B to rent an apartment?

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Ok, thanks again for all the responses!

I am currently living and working in the US and will be transferred to work in Zurich, right now as of August 1st. However, I will take 2 month of unpaid leave to have enough time to move back and as I was hoping find an apartment before I start working.

So my plan was to move back to my parents who live in the north of Germany (small town) and then go for a few days to Zurich in June to visit and apply to as many apartments as possible, then hopefully find one for 7/15 so that I have two weeks to buy furniture, move and everything and during that time I would also apply for the Permit B. And then start working 8/01.

However, if the landlords ask for a Permit this plan won't work out lol
Do remember that Switzerland is completely closed on August 1st.

I wouldn't expect to do anything more than drink wine and watch fireworks.
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Old 13.03.2019, 15:45
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Re: Do I need the Residence Permit B to rent an apartment?

Yep, I know. My firm will be open that day and if I decide to work, I will get extra Vacation time. Whether I have stuff to do or not is not really my concern though. But more on how to find an apartment in July without having the Permit B haha
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Old 13.03.2019, 16:44
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Re: Do I need the Residence Permit B to rent an apartment?

As an EU national, I wouldn't expect any serious permit questions from potential landlords. They are almost certainly aware that for a permit you'll just need an address (e.g. a rental contract) and a job (e.g. a work contract).

I'm trying to remember, but even as an American I believe that an employment confirmation letter from my employer was sufficient to get the ball rolling and make apartment applications.

Also, when I first arrived, I had 1 month of temporary accommodation (furnished apartment) provided by my employer. Because this contract was in the name of my employer, the Kreisbüro requested a statement from my employer stating that I was allowed to be there. However, this was not a problem - I think that our HR department had see this before. Later it was no issue to de-register and re-register as for any other sort of relocation. So in at least one case (though some years back), Zurich was willing to register somebody with what was obviously a 1-month housing contract.
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Old 13.03.2019, 17:14
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Re: Do I need the Residence Permit B to rent an apartment?

Thank you, ThomasSSS!! This helps a lot and makes me hopeful I might be able to find an apartment without having the Permit
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Old 13.03.2019, 17:42
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Re: Do I need the Residence Permit B to rent an apartment?

If you are new and have a job contract no issues.

There is no requirement
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Old 13.03.2019, 18:27
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Re: Do I need the Residence Permit B to rent an apartment?

When I arrived in Switzerland I just registered using the work address, got the permit and started looking for an apartment (was staying in a flatshare). As soon as I found my own place I registered at the local gemeindehaus.
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