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Old 03.04.2012, 19:23
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work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

Hi Everybody,

I work for a small company in the US and they would like to transfer me to our Swiss office.

Our HR dept asked the accounting/consultancy company which helps us with accounting matters in Europe to help with the application process. But they are drip-feeding us/me, and the information I am getting from them about the application process is very confusing and incomplete.

I would like to move to Switzerland with my fiancee, and I am not sure what is the best way to apply for her resident permit. We both have dual citizenship, Romanian and US. The consulting firm advises that we should apply for the permit as US citizens. I was told that we don't have to be married in order for her to join me.

The accounting firm is supposed to help with my work permit application (I suppose B permit), but for the rest we are kind of on our own. We are in the process of gathering the forms and supporting documents for the work permit application.

Can you please guys shed some light on the applications process sequence and what we need to to do for the resident permit?

a) I assume we will both have to apply for residency at the Swiss embassy in the US. Correct?


b) Do we have to wait for my work permit application to be approved before applying for residency?


c) Does she has to be included in my work permit application? Is there a dependency between the two applications?


d) Can my fiancee's residency application be submitted at the same time as mine?


e) How long does it take to process a typical dependent application?

Thanks a lot for the help in advance!
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Old 03.04.2012, 19:49
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

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Hi Everybody,

I work for a small company in the US and they would like to transfer me to our Swiss office.

Our HR dept asked the accounting/consultancy company which helps us with accounting matters in Europe to help with the application process. But they are drip-feeding us/me, and the information I am getting from them about the application process is very confusing and incomplete.

I would like to move to Switzerland with my fiancee, and I am not sure what is the best way to apply for her resident permit. We both have dual citizenship, Romanian and US. The consulting firm advises that we should apply for the permit as US citizens. I was told that we don't have to be married in order for her to join me.

The accounting firm is supposed to help with my work permit application (I suppose B permit), but for the rest we are kind of on our own. We are in the process of gathering the forms and supporting documents for the work permit application.

Can you please guys shed some light on the applications process sequence and what we need to to do for the resident permit?

a) I assume we will both have to apply for residency at the Swiss embassy in the US. Correct?


b) Do we have to wait for my work permit application to be approved before applying for residency?


c) Does she has to be included in my work permit application? Is there a dependency between the two applications?


d) Can my fiancee's residency application be submitted at the same time as mine?


e) How long does it take to process a typical dependent application?

Thanks a lot for the help in advance!
As I understand it - the company applies for the work permit authorization and in this case, the dependent authorization. You give them the information they need (diplomas, copy of passport, etc.). I, however, don't know that having your fiancee be counted as a dependent is as easy as they say - it would be easier if you were married. But moving on:

Work permit authorization takes 2-3 months - the associated dependent takes a touch longer, in my experience. We got my authorization about a week after my husband's. Once you have a work permit authorization, you can apply for an entry visa. You do this through your nearest Swiss consulate, which is in LA for you. http://www.eda.admin.ch/la - once you have been notified of the work authorization, you fill out the Work Visa application and, once your fiancee has the dependent authorization, she fills out the Family Regroupment application. Go to the LA visa desk and apply in person. Make sure that your passport doesn't expire this year or anything (needs 6 months of validity).

Once you have the entry visas, they give you an approximate 3 month period to enter Switzerland and begin "residing". Once you are in Switzerland, you go to the town hall (Kreisburo for Zurich, gemeinde in other places, other name in French) within 8 days and apply for the residency permit. This permit (credit card sized) then takes 1-2 weeks to get to you - there isn't a separate "work permit" card - it's included as a note on your residency permit card. When we received the permit, it was the first time we knew that we had received L permits, rather than the B's applied for. Oh well.

I am not sure whether it would be better to apply as a Romanian citizen or a US citizen. I know that Romania and Bulgaria are in a special quota circumstance until 2016, so maybe your company figures you'll have more luck with the US quotas.

Hopefully that helps! Our company was also not-so-forthcoming with this kind of information

Last edited by anowheels; 03.04.2012 at 19:53. Reason: clarification
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Old 03.04.2012, 20:39
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

Thanks for the help anowheels! It is very helpful information!!! I had no idea that we have to have the work permit authorization approved before applying for the entry visas.

I have a few more questions. I was told that I am the only one who needs to apply for the work permit (form 1350, Conditions of detachment form, employment contract, etc.). Do you know what forms are necessary for the dependent authorization? To be fair, they asked me for my fiancee's passport copy, CV, diplomas etc. but did not mention any forms or an application for her. I would like to trust them and assume that they know what they are doing, but I can't. They are either incompetent or hold back information intentionally. Waht a mess...

Do you know how long is the processing time at the Swiss consulate in LA for the entry visas?

The consultant is telling us that we have better chances as US citizens. They also claim that not being married is not a disadvantage for the dependent.

thanks again!
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Old 03.04.2012, 20:53
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

I'm afraid I don't know anything about the actual permit application process for the authorization - that was all handled by the company for us and is sort of a black box to me. Maybe someone else knows better?

We applied for the entry visa through the SF consulate by mail (we lived far enough away from a consulate to qualify for mail application). They told us 10 working days, but I think we got our passports with visas back in about 3-4 days. So, quick!

http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/...ontentPar_0002 - you would be the "Visa for persons who have already received an authorization from a Swiss cantonal authority (initiated by the employer in Switzerland)"

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Thanks for the help anowheels! It is very helpful information!!! I had no idea that we have to have the work permit authorization approved before applying for the entry visas.

I have a few more questions. I was told that I am the only one who needs to apply for the work permit (form 1350, Conditions of detachment form, employment contract, etc.). Do you know what forms are necessary for the dependent authorization? To be fair, they asked me for my fiancee's passport copy, CV, diplomas etc. but did not mention any forms or an application for her. I would like to trust them and assume that they know what they are doing, but I can't. They are either incompetent or hold back information intentionally. Waht a mess...

Do you know how long is the processing time at the Swiss consulate in LA for the entry visas?

The consultant is telling us that we have better chances as US citizens. They also claim that not being married is not a disadvantage for the dependent.

thanks again!
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Old 03.04.2012, 22:30
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

Thanks for the clarification!

Does anyone know what forms and documents have to be submitted for a dependent (in my case fiancee) permit authorization? My company will be applying for my work permit (hopefully B) authorization, but I have no idea how to handle my fiancee's application or what to submit for her.

This forum is awesome!
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Old 04.04.2012, 10:35
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

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The consultant is telling us that we have better chances as US citizens. They also claim that not being married is not a disadvantage for the dependent.

thanks again!
To be fair your consultants have no idea what they are talking about. I hope you aren't paying them in real cash - hopefully only Monopoly money.

Ironically nowadays you have better chances with a Romanian passport as there is a separate work permit quota for Romania and Bulgaria. Also a once issued a B permit with a Romanian passport it is valid for 5 years as opposed to the 1 year for the US passport. Not being married is a HUGE disadvantage for the US dependent - read this forum for supporting evidence... much easier for the EU (including Romania) dependents. Required reading here
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  #7  
Old 04.04.2012, 11:17
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

I'd totally agree with Shorrick MK2. Your 'consultant' has no idea what they are talking about.

You will have to be married. It is advantageous to come in on your Romanian passports (then the employer only has to show that they cannot find someone in Switzerland to do the job).

We've employed two Romanian university-educated specialists in the past 12 months and it was much easier than trying to get a permit for someone with only a USA passport.

All your questions should be answered by the 'Swiss' end of your company - your company is wasting their time with the consultants, based on the information that you've been given.

Unless your 'partner' is the same sex, you have zero chance of getting a 'spouse' visa - 'spouse' here means married...

See if you can contact the Swiss consulate general in Romania. They will be able to tell you the process for Romanian passport holders.

http://www.eda.admin.ch/bucarest

If you email them, they might even have a 'standard' information leaflet that they can send you - forward that to your employer, and show them how crappy their 'consultants' are...
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Old 04.04.2012, 11:39
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

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You will have to be married.

Unless your 'partner' is the same sex, you have zero chance of getting a 'spouse' visa - 'spouse' here means married...
Not necessarily in Geneva. In Geneva they are not bad at recognizing partnerships if the working partner can show they can support the dependent. It's not a given. But a case can be made.
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Old 04.04.2012, 12:14
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

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I'd totally agree with Shorrick MK2. Your 'consultant' has no idea what they are talking about.

You will have to be married. It is advantageous to come in on your Romanian passports (then the employer only has to show that they cannot find someone in Switzerland to do the job).
Switzerland and EU 25.
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Old 04.04.2012, 12:21
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

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Switzerland and EU 25.
I'm not sure about that - we only had to advertise within Switzerland.... we didn't have to go through the same process of proving that we had advertised across Europe...but maybe I misunderstood...
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Old 04.04.2012, 12:22
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

http://ec.europa.eu/eures/main.jsp?a...tions=1&step=2
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Old 04.04.2012, 12:29
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

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foreign nationals already present on the Swiss labour market
Technically all EU25 nationals are "present" on the Swiss labour market - i.e. you don't have to "advertise" in the EU but if an EU 25 citizen sees your Swiss ad, you cannot refuse their application outright
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Old 04.04.2012, 12:47
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

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Technically all EU25 nationals are "present" on the Swiss labour market - i.e. you don't have to "advertise" in the EU but if an EU 25 citizen sees your Swiss ad, you cannot refuse their application outright
In one sense, yes, but in the other sense, the Romanian can stand 'on equal footing' to the EU 25 who is not yet registered in the Swiss system. This is different to a Non-EU application where you have to take a Swiss or EU 25 person 'over' a Non-EU.

I can tell you from experience, it was much easier to get approval for a Romanian than a Non-EU. The proof needed was easier (1 month listed with RAV for cross-matching to see if there was anyone on the unemployment system who could do the job), and the work permit was approved in 6-8 weeks instead of nearly 3 months...
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Old 04.04.2012, 12:49
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

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Hi Everybody,

I work for a small company in the US and they would like to transfer me to our Swiss office.

Our HR dept asked the accounting/consultancy company which helps us with accounting matters in Europe to help with the application process. But they are drip-feeding us/me, and the information I am getting from them about the application process is very confusing and incomplete.

I would like to move to Switzerland with my fiancee, and I am not sure what is the best way to apply for her resident permit. We both have dual citizenship, Romanian and US. The consulting firm advises that we should apply for the permit as US citizens. I was told that we don't have to be married in order for her to join me.

The accounting firm is supposed to help with my work permit application (I suppose B permit), but for the rest we are kind of on our own. We are in the process of gathering the forms and supporting documents for the work permit application.

Can you please guys shed some light on the applications process sequence and what we need to to do for the resident permit?

a) I assume we will both have to apply for residency at the Swiss embassy in the US. Correct?


b) Do we have to wait for my work permit application to be approved before applying for residency?


c) Does she has to be included in my work permit application? Is there a dependency between the two applications?


d) Can my fiancee's residency application be submitted at the same time as mine?


e) How long does it take to process a typical dependent application?

Thanks a lot for the help in advance!
Hi there,

I believe the consultant has a point. In your specific situation - internal transfer within a foreign (as opposed to Swiss) company - you'll get a L permit for the next 2,5 years. It's absurd because it is actually worse than being outside EU, but this is how it is. I have Serbian and American colleagues in the same situation as me who got B for 5 years, whereas I got L for 3 years, believe me is aprox. the same position, salary etc.
Use your American passport IMHO and good luck to you both..
But I am not sure about the dependant, in this case.
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Old 04.04.2012, 12:59
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

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Hi there,

I believe the consultant has a point. In your specific situation - internal transfer within a foreign (as opposed to Swiss) company -
There are no different legal prescriptions as to whether the company is foreign or Swiss - it's the Swiss branch that does the application anyway.

I can't make sense of the rest you're trying to say, but no US or Serbian citizen will get a 5 year B outright.
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Old 04.04.2012, 13:57
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

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There are no different legal prescriptions as to whether the company is foreign or Swiss - it's the Swiss branch that does the application anyway.

I can't make sense of the rest you're trying to say, but no US or Serbian citizen will get a 5 year B outright.
What a brave statement, don't ya think?
Anyways, what I was trying to say was that I (and some others) believe that the applications coming from the Swiss companies are given preference when it comes to B permits (and Romanian citizens), nothing more.
Should the OP play the Romanian citizenship card? I think not, at least not in case he hopes for a B permit, which, ironically, it seems he might rather get it with a non-EU citizenship...but that's just my 2 cents opinion, it is not the Gospel of John...

@OP, it would be useful to come back here and say what your experience was, after you finish with the permits and all. Cheers.
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Old 04.04.2012, 15:13
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

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What a brave statement, don't ya think?
Unless you can quote a legal provision to the contrary, I think it is correct rather than brave.

The only backdoor to anything else than a one year B / L for non EU citizens is through a University professorship that comes with C permit entitlement.

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Anyways, what I was trying to say was that I (and some others) believe that the applications coming from the Swiss companies are given preference when it comes to B permits (and Romanian citizens), nothing more.
That belief is wrong.
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Old 05.04.2012, 07:41
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

Thank you all for the informative comments.

When I started inquiring about the process several weeks ago, I challenged the "consultant" with applying as a US citizen as opposed to a Romanian citizen. I read about the quotas for Romanian and Bulgarians, and I thought that even with the quotas it would make more sense to apply as a new-EU-2 citizen than as a US citizen. He came back and reassured me that applying as a US citizen will be easier and faster (only up to 6 weeks), and he recommended applying as an "Expatriate". The "Expatriate status which applies to executives and specialists with an international scale who are temporarily detached in CH by a foreign employer (24 months the most)". According to him, this would be a "Oexpa" status. I am confused about this too, since I have only been reading about L and B permits. Is there anything else out there that would fit his description. I am also concerned about the "up to 6 weeks" processing time. This does not seem to be consistent with what other folks are saying (2-3 months).
I also asked about the fiancee vs wife pros/cons and his answer was that CH is a very open minded society and nowadays many people live together w/o being married, so the Swiss government is not discriminating and it treats a fiancee and a wife the same way as far as the work permit and dependent application is concerned. I asked about this, because we are planning to get married within the next 12 to 16 months, so bringing it forward a few months (ok, about a year) would not be a big deal for us.

After reading the comments, I have to believe that my consultant has no clue about the application process.

I will definitely let you know how it turns out. We are planning to give him the forms, contract etc. in the next few weeks. I am very very worried now!!!
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Old 05.04.2012, 08:52
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

This is the information/legislation about the 'OEXPA' status (in French, sorry):
http://www.admin.ch/ch/f/rs/c642_118_3.html

I would be vary wary of an L permit - often with the L the 'spouse' is not automatically permitted to work...

And are you sure you only want to stay for the maximum 2 years ???
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Old 05.04.2012, 10:40
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Re: work permit vs residency permit help -fiancee of US citizen

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He came back and reassured me that applying as a US citizen will be easier and faster (only up to 6 weeks),
In Geneva? Allow me to ROFL.

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and he recommended applying as an "Expatriate". The "Expatriate status which applies to executives and specialists with an international scale who are temporarily detached in CH by a foreign employer (24 months the most)". According to him, this would be a "Oexpa" status.
The key word is "temporary" which means in 2 years at the most you're back to square one. In addition Oexpa covers the fiscal side of things nothing to do with immigration.

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I am confused about this too, since I have only been reading about L and B permits. Is there anything else out there that would fit his description.
There are indeed "expat" permits for people on detachment but they also carry the L / B letter. They come with strings attached (impossible to change jobs / can't be extended). I'll be very wary of getting that. For a large company, maybe, but what if it doesn't work out? Can your small company afford to move you someplace else? If not - you're stuck here sans work permission ergo sans residence permission... I wouldn't ever want to consider that, as much as I love my employer.

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so the Swiss government is not discriminating and it treats a fiancee and a wife the same way as far as the work permit and dependent application is concerned.
Haha! Wishful thinking.
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