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  #21  
Old 29.07.2018, 14:56
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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You forgot don't speed.

That's an understatement. You won't know where the traffic cameras are and they will get you. Failure to understand this means you are going to pay and pay and pay.
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  #22  
Old 29.07.2018, 18:32
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Rent is more like 900-1.2k (OP, a 2.5-room apartment means one living room plus one bedroom, the ".5" indicates a large-ish kitchen - for Swiss standards. Typically 50-60 square meters or 550-650 square feet).
This is great to know, thanks! So if I am looking to have two bedrooms (one for me, and one for guests), then I should be looking at least at 3-Room or 3.5 Room flats.
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  #23  
Old 29.07.2018, 18:41
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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This is great to know, thanks! So if I am looking to have two bedrooms (one for me, and one for guests), then I should be looking at least at 3-Room or 3.5 Room flats.
Yes. The .5 usually means a combined living and dining room so 3.5 would probably be 1.5 living/dining and 2-bedrooms. Kitchens/bathrooms don't get counted in rental ads, but they are there.

You can get an idea of prices using the following websites.

www.immoscout24.ch
www.immostreet.ch
www.homegate.ch
www.home.ch

Main pages can be had in English, but the ads themselves will be in French/German/Italian, depending on which part of the country you're looking for. For Fribourg canton they could be in either French or German since the canton is bilingual, it just depends on which part of the canton - and even the city itself - that you look for.
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  #24  
Old 29.07.2018, 20:36
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

www.ums.ch specialises in short and medium-term rentals, often but not always sub-lets, which can be a good way to start out. Also searching for the term "befristet" which meansn of limited duration. Sorry, not sure what the term is in French.

I recommend this because it can be quite tricky to find accommodation when one first arrives, and a temporary place will give you some leeway to look properly once you are here.

If you are single and especially if you're not bringing a container full of Household goods, and would consider sharing an apartment with others, you might also look at https://www.wgzimmer.ch/wgzimmer.html?wc_country=ch
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  #25  
Old 29.07.2018, 20:46
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

And do not forget to decline the answer when your religion being asked in the Migration Office as you have to pay extra tax in case most of them...
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  #26  
Old 29.07.2018, 20:56
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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And do not forget to decline the answer when your religion being asked in the Migration Office as you have to pay extra tax in case most of them...
Actually I don't think you just decline or the person at the municipality might put something down on the form for you. Choose Konfessionlos (no religion) if you wish.
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Old 29.07.2018, 22:56
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Thanks for this helpful breakdown.

My employer is providing ~200-250 CHF toward health insurance, which is nice.

The employer pension contribution is also much better than here in the US. We have 3% match 1:1 and the next 2% on half. But en Suisse will be 10%.

Vacation days will also be an added benefit. ~25 days here en Suisse versus the 10 that I currently have in the states.

Switzerland offers many intangibles that are tough to quantify toward my savings rate (i.e., Skiing in the Alps, stepping out of comfort zone, learning a new language (French), no Trump, etc...)
Me like
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  #28  
Old 29.07.2018, 23:51
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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And do not forget to decline the answer when your religion being asked in the Migration Office as you have to pay extra tax in case most of them...
In Vaud there is no such question. Part of your taxes goes to the church whether you want you want it or not. Not sure about Fribourg.

The 0.5 room can be anything from a large hall to a large living/ dining room to an eat in kitchen. It depends on the layout of the apartment. Most apartments these days have a 0.5. Choose 3 pieces and over.
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  #29  
Old 30.07.2018, 04:51
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Is there any room for bikes on the trains?

For example, if I need to bike from the train station to my office.
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  #30  
Old 30.07.2018, 05:12
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Bicycles are generally not allowed on trains during rush-hour. That means it's great to take your bike out with you on the weekend, but no good for the daily commute.

For getting to and from work, many people buy two second-hand bikes, often rather junky, and lock up one at either end of their train route, i.e. ride bike 1 from home, leave bike 1 at station A, take train A to B, at B pick up waiting bike 2, ride bike 2 to work, then reverse to go home.

These are even called "Bahnhofvelo", meaning "station bicycle", and people tend to choose non-fancy bikes, so that it doesn't break one's heart, or one's budget, if they get stolen. At some stations, one can hire a space in a kind of parking cage, which is a safer way to keep a better bike.

See here, for example:
https://www.ricardo.ch/de/a/fahrrad-...lo-1003730290/ (auction)

https://www.tutti.ch/de/li/ganze-schweiz?q=bahnhofsvelo (fixed prices)
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  #31  
Old 30.07.2018, 09:02
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Actually I don't think you just decline or the person at the municipality might put something down on the form for you. Choose Konfessionlos (no religion) if you wish.

Everyone pays Church tax regardless of belief or non-belief. In order to not pay this tax you have to write a letter to the authorities withdrawing yourself and your family from the tax. Giving the reasons. Ask at your council offices.
As I am still a paying church tax member, paying a very small amount, my wife's funeral was all paid for by the Church. It's a sort of 'all inclusive' insurance.
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  #32  
Old 30.07.2018, 09:39
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Everyone pays Church tax regardless of belief or non-belief. In order to not pay this tax you have to write a letter to the authorities withdrawing yourself and your family from the tax. Giving the reasons. Ask at your council offices.
As I am still a paying church tax member, paying a very small amount, my wife's funeral was all paid for by the Church. It's a sort of 'all inclusive' insurance.
This is not the same in all Kantons (see miniMia's post re Vaud). My experience in Aargau, Bern and Zug is you are asked on registration what religion you are. If you answer "none" or "other" then you are not asked for further confirmation / proof, and do not pay church tax.

In Aargau, changing the status from "ev. reform" to "other" was no issue. I had understood "ev. reform" to mean "protestant, including for example Church of England". However it actually meant "protestant, and part of a church recognised in Switzerland as ev. reform and for which we collect church tax". CoE is not part of that (church tax is not collected for CoE in Switzerland).
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  #33  
Old 30.07.2018, 09:45
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Is there any room for bikes on the trains?

For example, if I need to bike from the train station to my office.
Some, but it depends on the train. If you take the bigger trains like the IC and IR, there is usually one whole carriage for bikes. If you take the smaller regional trains (S-Bahn, at least in the Bern area) then there's a bit of room in some of the carriages but it can get crowded with bikes and prams.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE - AFAIK you also need a train ticket for your bicycle (and your dog), not just yourself.

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Bicycles are generally not allowed on trains during rush-hour. That means it's great to take your bike out with you on the weekend, but no good for the daily commute.
Must be different around Bern. Plenty of folks take their bicycles on the trains I take at rush hour.
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  #34  
Old 30.07.2018, 09:49
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Everyone pays Church tax regardless of belief or non-belief. In order to not pay this tax you have to write a letter to the authorities withdrawing yourself and your family from the tax. Giving the reasons. Ask at your council offices.
As I am still a paying church tax member, paying a very small amount, my wife's funeral was all paid for by the Church. It's a sort of 'all inclusive' insurance.
Wow so many wrongs in one post

First, you only pay direct church tax if you affiliate your self with one of the churches with levy church tax. In canton Zurich those are the Roman Catholic Church, the Zurich Protestant Church ( see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contin...eformed_church), and the Chirstkatholiche Kirche/Old Catholic Church ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Catholic_Church ).

In order to pay church tax you also would have declare at firs t registration that you are affiliated with one of the above churches. There is always the option to say "Other" or "No confession". Be aware that if you specify a church which belongs to the Union of Utrecht (see Union of Utrecht) or Anglican Communion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglican_Communion) you might get binned in the Chirst Catholic Pot. This is not an error as those churches are in full communion with each other (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_communion).

So it is better to say "Other", than to be super specific if you do not want to pay church taxes and not be seen as heathen. But, nobody but your soul and god might care if you say "No confession". But this god might also want that you pay church tax if it is due. See Bible for references.

To get out of church tax is pretty simple. Write a registered letter that you want no longer be a member and affiliated with the local representation. No further reason or explanation needed. Even as a true roman-catholic you can do that. And it means really no longer part of your parish. You are still roman-catholic and will not be ex communicated.

Finally, in the City of Zurich the funeral is paid by the city. The only thing missing is a clergy man saying some word which helps your soul transition to heaven in stead of hell. If this is important to you, and it must be a person from a specific religion you might opt in to church tax, as this will also be free. and also it might have an impact where your soul goes if had paid church tax in your earthly life. As they say, the last shirt has no pockets.
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  #35  
Old 30.07.2018, 10:01
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

the church tax also gives you a fast-track to heaven, which can be very important. for example, small sins like flushing the toilet after 10 pm will be waived.
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  #36  
Old 30.07.2018, 10:51
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

I am in Vaud and we do not pay church tax. When I arrived in Geneva I intentionally stated I did not have a religion. Colleagues told me to insist, so I did. When I moved to Vaud the question wasn’t asked but the status was carried forward.
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  #37  
Old 30.07.2018, 10:57
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Finally, in the City of Zurich the funeral is paid by the city. The only thing missing is a clergy man saying some word which helps your soul transition to heaven in stead of hell.
How much of a funeral is paid for by the city of Zurich?
I understood the free part to be only the physical work, i.e. transport of the body to the morgue, and then either
  • into the coffin, and the coffin to the graveyard, and then into the ground
  • into the crematorium, and the ashes into an urn, and the urn to the graveyard and then into the ground or into the "urn wall".

Do you mean there is more to what the city covers? I ask because a "funeral" could be understood to be much more, even if one elected not to have a member of the clergy present.
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  #38  
Old 30.07.2018, 11:19
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Make yourself familiar with the due dates for the annual FBAR and/or FATCA submissions. Google these or go directly to the FINANCIAL CRIMES ENFORCEMENT NETWORK (fincen.gov), where you fill in these forms online.

Caps added by me to register once again my extreme revulsion at how the US government treats its 99.99% law abiding expat citizens.

Swiss citizenship cannot come soon enough.

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  #39  
Old 30.07.2018, 11:24
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Hey Doctor. Just invest your millions in Delaware, Utah or Arizona. Financial organisations domiciles there are not required to divulge any information to US tax authorities.

And they continue to offer ‘anonymous accounts’ to non state residents, something Switzerland was compelled to get rid of a decade ago.
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Old 30.07.2018, 11:37
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Hey Doctor. Just invest your millions in Delaware, Utah or Arizona. Financial organisations domiciles there are not required to divulge any information to US tax authorities.

And they continue to offer ‘anonymous accounts’ to non state residents, something Switzerland was compelled to get rid of a decade ago.
Yes, Switzerland was compelled by the US government, which to date continues to block all attempts by Brazil (as one example) to get information on secret accounts in Miami banks held by their citizens. Hypocrisy, thy colours are red, white, and blue! But the profits, well that's another matter.

-Dr. Memory
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