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Old 25.12.2015, 22:05
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experience with B permit via family reunification

Hello!
I have recently arrived in Switzerland and wanted to share my experience getting my permit as this site was such a help to me in preparing for the move. We did not follow the official route of apply for D visa - then come to CH - then apply for B permit, which is why this post may be useful to someone else considering their options. so first, the details:
I am american, married to a swiss, with 2 kids, both born in the US but Swiss all the same. We decided it was time to move back to switzerland after 5 years in the US so I started looking for work. That is another story completely (took over 2 years of looking) but I eventually found a position at a big educational institution in canton of Vaud. Now I had two separate routes to the permit - either through work or through family. HR told me that they could apply for my permit but it would take 3 months and neither they nor I wanted to wait 3 months. Alternately I could apply for the D visa but as we know that takes 2 months then you have to book your tickets, move out of your apartment, etc. So HR had another idea. They told me to simply show up in switzerland as a tourist with my family and then go ask for the permit in person. They gave me an offer letter but would not give me a contract until after I arrived and secured my permit. It was a risk but they claimed to have done this many times before with success so we went for it. In trying to decide what to do we called many different offices and got many different answers. We called the service de migrations in Lausanne to check this out and were told to apply through the consulate. we called the communal population office in Crissier (where we have friends) and were told that they would want to see a visa in my passport if I walked in to register. However, my wife's family lives in Baselland and they called the Amt fur Migration there and were told it was no problem - I could just show up and they'd give me a permit.
So we did just that. We stayed at first in Baselland and they gave us no trouble at all. The Gemeinde registered us without complaint on the first day. The Amt fur Migration sent the forms to fill out and I had my B permit 2 weeks later. I was actually caught by surprise to get it so quick - they had asked for a recent FBI clearance, which I did not have, so I had to make a rush request. I sent in a copy of an older one with my application and they gave me the permit even before getting the updated copy. I was told afterwards that they just changed the rules to require this clearance and that for the first year they were not being strict about waiting for it before issuing permits.
So obviously the official rule is to apply for the visa before coming but in our case we were able to shortcut that process and it worked for us. Every canton is different of couse so please if you're reading this and you're planning to arrive somewhere other than Baselland, please take it with a grain of salt!
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