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Old 29.05.2017, 04:27
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Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Hi everyone!

I'm excited to join this forum with you all. My husband just accepted a job opportunity in Zurich and suddenly our little family of 4 is moving in July.
We are moving from the mid-west (Columbus, OH). Our two daughters are 7 and 9 years old. We're all very nervous and there is so much to learn in such a short time. I look forward to reading through the forum and chatting with you.

Kind regards,
Heather P.
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Old 29.05.2017, 06:33
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Welcome!
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Old 29.05.2017, 07:36
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Hi Heather!

We did the same. You will LOVE it. We love it so much that we moved here with our daughters for three years 9 years ago! We live in Zurich (Zollikerberg) as well.

Greg
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Old 29.05.2017, 07:36
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Welcome to the forum and soon to Switzerland. Have you heard yet that the permits have been approved by the Swiss authorities? Until that's done nothing is set in stone. That's assuming your husband is a non-EU national. The non-EU hiring criteria is outlined here:

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...zulassung.html

And the permit approval procedure here:

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...ensablauf.html

Assuming he's a non-EU national there should be a clause in his contract that states it's subject to permit approval.
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Old 29.05.2017, 15:02
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Thank you for the warm welcomes! Yes, we are still waiting on our visas. It has been about 2 weeks now. Do you happen to know the odds of not being approved? This is for one of the major banks he has already been working with for 3 years, only he's been doing it from the US. They have not been able to find anyone to replace him over this time. I'm assuming the chances would be slim that we would not be approved. Then again, I know nothing about how often they allow foreign employment. I appreciate the informative links!

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Welcome to the forum and soon to Switzerland. Have you heard yet that the permits have been approved by the Swiss authorities? Until that's done nothing is set in stone. That's assuming your husband is a non-EU national. The non-EU hiring criteria is outlined here:

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...zulassung.html

And the permit approval procedure here:

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...ensablauf.html

Assuming he's a non-EU national there should be a clause in his contract that states it's subject to permit approval.
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Old 29.05.2017, 16:22
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Um, difficult question. If they haven't found anyone in 3 years then I'd say the chances could be good, but then again if he's been doing the job for 3 years from abroad they may ask why he can't keep doing that rather than moving here.

Employment of non-EU nationals is severely restricted - 3,000 B permits per year and 4,500 L permits and that's for the whole country. For non-EU's coming here on assignment/secondment there's even less: 2,000 L permits and only 250 B permits. An L permit is issued for contracts of less than a year's duration, B permits for those over a year.

A few things to be aware of due to your American "taint". Because of the way the US fined several Swiss banks and also because of the US's FATCA law most Swiss banks will no longer accept American clients. UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance will likely be your only choices and to open an account at any of them you'll need to sign a W-9 form to allow the bank to send the account details on to the IRS. If any account or accounts come to an aggregate figure of more than $10,000 at any time of the year they must be reported on an FBAR form.

You will also have continuing US tax filing obligations and you can start your research on that here:

http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Inter...-Aliens-Abroad
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Old 29.05.2017, 16:29
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Hello and welcome to the forum.
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Old 29.05.2017, 17:45
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

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Um, difficult question. If they haven't found anyone in 3 years then I'd say the chances could be good, but then again if he's been doing the job for 3 years from abroad they may ask why he can't keep doing that rather than moving here.

Employment of non-EU nationals is severely restricted - 3,000 B permits per year and 4,500 L permits and that's for the whole country. For non-EU's coming here on assignment/secondment there's even less: 2,000 L permits and only 250 B permits. An L permit is issued for contracts of less than a year's duration, B permits for those over a year.

AFAIK, Google is sucking up most of the Non-EU permits these days.
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Old 30.05.2017, 03:40
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

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Thank you for the warm welcomes! Yes, we are still waiting on our visas. It has been about 2 weeks now. Do you happen to know the odds of not being approved? This is for one of the major banks he has already been working with for 3 years, only he's been doing it from the US. They have not been able to find anyone to replace him over this time. I'm assuming the chances would be slim that we would not be approved. Then again, I know nothing about how often they allow foreign employment. I appreciate the informative links!
My husband works for a private Swiss Bank (BJB) and I was nervous about the odds of us/actually him getting a work permit given the current restrictions/referendum. My husband replaced someone who left and the job was advertised for 6 months to no avail. That said, my husband is in the higher tier (in terms of management ranks) and has an MBA. We were given a "B" permit and were surprised as we thought we would be granted only an "L" given the current climate.

My sense is that the major banks will know the climate well and you should liaise with them/HR re: odds of getting a permit. I worried a lot and did probably too much research and things went better than expected. PS...our/his permit was granted in Feb of 2017 and we moved here in early April. Hope this helps!
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Old 30.05.2017, 07:11
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

True, and they wouldn't bother applying for a permit if they didn't think they had a reasonable chance of getting it. It costs too much time and money to waste on any application unlikely to be successful.
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Old 30.05.2017, 21:29
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

You all are so helpful. Yes, he would be at a top tier position so hopefully that helps. He has been contracted with these potential employers through another company for 3 years, costing the bank a ton. Internalizing him is the alternative, otherwise they lose him due to budgetary reasons. They have looked for other candidates for a while.

We've done our due diligence on discussing our financial/tax obligations here in the states with our tax advisor. We've also researched in depth to understand the school systems and health insurance as best as we could. You have helped to answer some questions about the process and likelihood of our move, which is something I don't understand at all. This is the most stressful part so far. All I can do now is prepare as if we are moving forward!

I have no idea where the best areas for expats are. I will try to look through some of the threads and see what has been discussed in the past before posting all of my many questions!

Thanks again!
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Old 30.05.2017, 21:40
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Frankly, it's not that different from the US system. The US employer has to justify why they can't find an American to do the job. If the relevant US authority says it's okay they can hire the non-American. If they say they can't, then the non-American can't be hired.
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Old 30.05.2017, 22:04
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Where you want to live is mostly dictated by two constraints: how long you want the commute to be and how much money you want (or can) spend.

It's advisable to not spend more than a 3rd of the income on housing (rent). The less the better.

There are no really bad parts of the town (though I advise not moving into the vicinity of Langstrasse if you value your good night's sleep).
Obviously, there are better-off parts of the town - you will find out which these are simply by comparing rents...

I don't know where your husbands office will be (and you don't need to disclose that here publicly either) - but if it's the one in 8002, it's perfectly possible to live a bit outside the city (Bonstetten / Wettswil) and take the express bus via Sihl-City.

Housing outside the inner city is often a bit cheaper. But as per above, you can often still be in central Zurich in 30 minutes (or 40, depending on where you really need to go).


The various sticky threads with links to real-estate sites are still valid, of course.

You can use maps.google.ch for calculating public transit routes or

The VBZ website

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/vbz/de/..._fahrplan.html


Google maps for Zurich is really good.
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Old 30.05.2017, 23:17
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Welcome, Pencala.

I know very little about Zurich, but I have lived your experience; a half dozen years ago, I was the trailing spouse trying to organize a move to a country and system about which I knew next to nothing.

While the above advice about permit rules, banks and all are well taken, you say your husband works for one of the major banks. My wife works for one of the giant Swiss companies. I ended up with the impression that Switzerland was like a venerable private club: very difficult to get into for most, but when one of the senior members invites you in, all doors are open. My wife (who came a couple days ahead of the kids and me) was met at the airport and taken to a bank even before they dropped her luggage at our temporary company-supplied apartment. All the aversion to opening accounts for Americans dissolved in front of the major company relocation rep. (FATCA was already the law, though it's tightened a bit since.) Similarly, the skids were well greased for health insurance, all the other required insurance (the Swiss love their insurance) and so on down the line. They also provided a many-paged spreadsheet full of detailed instructions and advice for the transition. It felt like ages before I felt like I really had a clue, but in the end it was all just fine.

The best piece of advice I got before arriving was to remember that it all goes really fast. So even as you spend months swimming in insurance and registrations and the like, start exploring. We took regular day, weekend and longer trips around Switzerland as well as Europe. (Love all that vacation!) Switzerland is a really lovely country, and (once you get used to it) the quality of life is magnificent. Just a little different from what you're used to.

Best of luck!

Last edited by Sunny Boy; 30.05.2017 at 23:18. Reason: typo
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Old 31.05.2017, 02:47
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Having lived in many different countries (UK, Netherlands, Australia and Singapore), I think where you live will be determined by which school you choose for your children. You did not mention their age but if they are in grade school, you will need to look into which school would suit your kids' needs best and then, try and find housing in the radius of the school you choose.

If your children are in preschool, this is not so much of an issue but from my experience, when we thought we would live only 2-3 years in an expat posting, we ended up staying much longer. It may be wise to take a long term view to save you the headache of moving house in a few years. Just a thought

Good luck with your upcoming move. We have only been in Zurich for 2 months and I love it here. We found a place in Hottingen (8032 zip) and feel lucky to have found it. I signed up with Homegate and Comparis and received notifications when new listings became available. That said, I found our place on Immoscout and it blew the other places I saw online (in terms of price, location and condition/decor) by miles. Hope everything works out for you and that your transition is a smooth one!
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Old 31.05.2017, 07:24
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

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Welcome, Pencala.

I know very little about Zurich, but I have lived your experience; a half dozen years ago, I was the trailing spouse trying to organize a move to a country and system about which I knew next to nothing.

While the above advice about permit rules, banks and all are well taken, you say your husband works for one of the major banks. My wife works for one of the giant Swiss companies. I ended up with the impression that Switzerland was like a venerable private club: very difficult to get into for most, but when one of the senior members invites you in, all doors are open. My wife (who came a couple days ahead of the kids and me) was met at the airport and taken to a bank even before they dropped her luggage at our temporary company-supplied apartment. All the aversion to opening accounts for Americans dissolved in front of the major company relocation rep. (FATCA was already the law, though it's tightened a bit since.) Similarly, the skids were well greased for health insurance, all the other required insurance (the Swiss love their insurance) and so on down the line. They also provided a many-paged spreadsheet full of detailed instructions and advice for the transition. It felt like ages before I felt like I really had a clue, but in the end it was all just fine.

The best piece of advice I got before arriving was to remember that it all goes really fast. So even as you spend months swimming in insurance and registrations and the like, start exploring. We took regular day, weekend and longer trips around Switzerland as well as Europe. (Love all that vacation!) Switzerland is a really lovely country, and (once you get used to it) the quality of life is magnificent. Just a little different from what you're used to.

Best of luck!
Like everything else in Switzerland it depends on the company and is something that should be checked with the new employer's HR department. Are they just paying for relocation costs and leaving everything else up to the OP, hiring a relocation agent to work with them or is someone from HR going to help with things like finding somewhere to live, registration once they arrive, etc, etc? For us it was the latter, but that help was invaluable bearing in mind that all documentation we were dealing with was in a foreign language.
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Old 31.05.2017, 07:43
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Fellow Buckeye here - I grew up near Akron, and even lived in Columbus for a few years. Been in Zurich and environs for 6 years now.

The public schools vary, but not nearly as much as schools in the US. So you don't need to let that dominate your decision the way you might in OH.

I second the suggestion to base the housing hunt on ease of commute and choice of scenery. Zurich proper is relatively small compared to the sprawl that is Columbus, but does have a fair bit of culture and big city activities - an opera house, quite a few bands come through, etc, etc. Also, like every city in Europe, there are nice places to walk around. So you have to decide if you prioritize access to that over being out where there is grass and trees.

The "gold coast" - the NE side of lake Zurich - is famously full of well off expats, but the other side, the "silver coast", isn't bad either.

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There are no really bad parts of the town (though I advise not moving into the vicinity of Langstrasse if you value your good night's sleep).
Obviously, there are better-off parts of the town - you will find out which these are simply by comparing rents...
Actually, I can say from experience that even Langstrasse is mostly fine if you are on an upper floor of a new construction. You just have to get used to walking past the working women.
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Old 03.06.2017, 17:19
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

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The "gold coast" - the NE side of lake Zurich - is famously full of well off expats, but the other side, the "silver coast", isn't bad either.
"Silver Coast" is new to me. The left shore of Lake Zurich is commonly called "Pfnüselküste" (= Common Cold Coast). It even has its own article on Wikipedia (in German).

Edit: Ok, just saw that said article mentions "Silberküste" as a very recent addition of limited spread.
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Old 04.06.2017, 09:46
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

Quote:
Silberküste[/I]" as a very recent addition of limited spread.
Maybe a self-glorification of the Pfnüselküste -Bewohner or just a cheap marketing tool.
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Old 04.06.2017, 10:15
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Re: Hello! Moving to Switzerland from US!

From N. California and here since 1987
My advice: learn functional German ASAP, and put your kids into public school. They will be fluent in no time (dialect and high-German). It's the only way to integrate (or forever live in an ex-pat bubble).
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