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Old 30.05.2017, 01:09
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US Citizen able to work in Switzerland while living in Germany?

Long story short, my wife is a dual citizen of Switzerland and the EU and we are thinking of moving back (currently stateside). I am fairly certain I remember reading a while back that the spouse of an EU or Swiss citizen must work in the same country that his/her spouse resides.

Her parents live immediately across the border in Baden württemberg, 35 minutes outside of Zurich and we need to start the house/apartment search. Preferable we would both like to live in Germany, and work in Switzerland but its looking like although she could work/live in either, i would need to work in the country in which she lives, regardless of proximity.

Can anyone point me to more details on this? Ive searched everywhere and cant find anything related. Thanks in advance.
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Old 30.05.2017, 02:35
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Re: US Citizen able to work in Switzerland while living in Germany?

You are correct in your assessment. If you live in Germany you will not get a permit for Switzerland, unless your employer goes through the long nonEU hiring process.

The only sites I know are in French.

'Si vous n’êtes pas ressortissant de l’Union européenne ou de l’AELE (Islande, Liechtenstein, Norvège), vous ne bénéficiez pas de l’accord de libre circulation des personnes. En pratique, pour obtenir un permis de travail frontalier, vous devez tout d’abord résider depuis plus de 6 mois en zone frontalière, avant le dépôt de la demande de permis. Puis l’employeur suisse désirant vous embaucher doit prouver aux autorités suisses qu'il n'a pas trouvé de salarié, suisse ou européen, compétent pour ce poste. Enfin, la demande d'autorisation de travail sera soumise à une commission tripartite, qui examinera les conditions de salaire et de travail qui vous sont proposées.´

http://www.frontalier.org/permis.htm
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Old 30.05.2017, 08:39
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Re: US Citizen able to work in Switzerland while living in Germany?

I can add to miniMia's info. As a non-EU national to be able to live in Germany and work in Switzerland you would need a) a permanent residence permit from Germany which you would only get after 5 years of uninterrupted residency.

http://www.bamf.de/EN/DasBAMF/Aufgab...halt-node.html

b) live in a border zone area for at least 6 months. You would need to check German postal codes to see which ones apply.

http://www.awa.zh.ch/internet/volksw...nzgaenger.html

The Swiss authorities would also want to make sure your employer couldn't find a Swiss/EU national who could do the job. The normal non-EU hiring criteria is outlined here:

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

How strictly this is applied regarding getting a G permit I don't know.

However, other things you and your wife need to consider are your US tax filing obligations and possible problems with getting a bank account. I assume your wife has a Green Card and you have American citizenship so both of you will have continuing US tax filing obligations no matter where you live in the world. Start your research on that here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...-aliens-abroad

Also to open a bank account outside of the US the bank will want both of you to sign W-9 forms to allow the bank to send the info on to the IRS. Should any account or accounts come to more than $10,000 at any time of the year then they must also be reported on an FBAR form.

I don't know how restricted your choice of German banks may be, but here in Switzerland you're limited pretty much to UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance should you decide to move here rather than Germany.

To make the tax/bank problems slightly easier your wife could give up her Green Card by filling in form I-407 to formally give up the card. If she does this make sure to take a copy of the document before sending it off as it's the only proof she'll have that she's done so. For the bank keep any accounts you have separate from your wife's.
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Old 04.07.2017, 20:55
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Re: US Citizen able to work in Switzerland while living in Germany?

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I can add to miniMia's info. As a non-EU national to be able to live in Germany and work in Switzerland you would need a) a permanent residence permit from Germany which you would only get after 5 years of uninterrupted residency.

http://www.bamf.de/EN/DasBAMF/Aufgab...halt-node.html

b) live in a border zone area for at least 6 months. You would need to check German postal codes to see which ones apply.

http://www.awa.zh.ch/internet/volksw...nzgaenger.html

The Swiss authorities would also want to make sure your employer couldn't find a Swiss/EU national who could do the job. The normal non-EU hiring criteria is outlined here:

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

How strictly this is applied regarding getting a G permit I don't know.

However, other things you and your wife need to consider are your US tax filing obligations and possible problems with getting a bank account. I assume your wife has a Green Card and you have American citizenship so both of you will have continuing US tax filing obligations no matter where you live in the world. Start your research on that here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...-aliens-abroad

Also to open a bank account outside of the US the bank will want both of you to sign W-9 forms to allow the bank to send the info on to the IRS. Should any account or accounts come to more than $10,000 at any time of the year then they must also be reported on an FBAR form.

I don't know how restricted your choice of German banks may be, but here in Switzerland you're limited pretty much to UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance should you decide to move here rather than Germany.

To make the tax/bank problems slightly easier your wife could give up her Green Card by filling in form I-407 to formally give up the card. If she does this make sure to take a copy of the document before sending it off as it's the only proof she'll have that she's done so. For the bank keep any accounts you have separate from your wife's.
Thanks so much for the thought put into this post, I think you just saved me a great deal of time!

I actually work for one of the banks listed in your response, and would be transferring from my current position here to Switzerland. Her parents do live in a border zone, but im not sure how it would work if I need to live there for 6 months prior, it seems I would essentially need to take 6 months off of work just to live there, before starting back if I am reading that correctly.

Can you elaborate more on why it would be easier on our tax situation if she gave up her greencard? Im guessing what you mean is one of us will already have 2 countries worth of taxes to prep, and thus it would be easier if both dont have to, but are there other implications? Ill take a look at the link you provided.

Again thank you for taking the time to write that up!

-J
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Old 04.07.2017, 21:07
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Re: US Citizen able to work in Switzerland while living in Germany?

Sorry, but no you're not. It's not just the 6 months in a border zone, you also need permanent residency in Germany which would take some years to acquire. So it's simply not possible. To work here, you have to live here simple as that.

If your wife gives up her Green Card and can prove it to the bank then she won't need to sign a W-9, it'll be a W-8BEN instead. And also if you don't have joint accounts then her accounts wouldn't have to be reported on an FBAR. I'm not sure whether she'd need to continue filing US returns as your spouse or not once she's given up the Green Card.
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Old 04.07.2017, 21:57
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Re: US Citizen able to work in Switzerland while living in Germany?

You can, of course, live on the Swiss side of where your parents life (if you want to be close to them).

Commute is a bit of a drag, depending on where exactly it is - but it's not completely unreasonable.

Switzerland and Germany are really two very different animals - ever though they kind-of look the same, kind-of sound the same and kind-of feel the same.
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Old 29.07.2017, 04:32
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Re: US Citizen able to work in Switzerland while living in Germany?

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Sorry, but no you're not. It's not just the 6 months in a border zone, you also need permanent residency in Germany which would take some years to acquire. So it's simply not possible. To work here, you have to live here simple as that.

If your wife gives up her Green Card and can prove it to the bank then she won't need to sign a W-9, it'll be a W-8BEN instead. And also if you don't have joint accounts then her accounts wouldn't have to be reported on an FBAR. I'm not sure whether she'd need to continue filing US returns as your spouse or not once she's given up the Green Card.
Understood, so both the conditions of A and B in your first response need to be met, think I had initially read it as either or but seems thats not the case.
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Old 29.07.2017, 17:37
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Re: US Citizen able to work in Switzerland while living in Germany?

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Understood, so both the conditions of A and B in your first response need to be met, think I had initially read it as either or but seems thats not the case.
Correct, permanent residency in Germany (obtainable after 5 years living there) and at least 6 months living in a border zone. It's both not either.

"Third-country nationals will only be given a cross-border commuter G-permit, if they have a permanent residence permit in a neighboring country. They also need to have had their residence in the neighboring country’s border zone for at least six months and fulfill the labor market requirements. G-permits are usually valid for one year, and are limited to the border zone of the issuing canton. Third-country border commuters require permission to change jobs or occupations."

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...willigung.html
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Old 21.01.2018, 17:07
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Re: US Citizen able to work in Switzerland while living in Germany?

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Correct, permanent residency in Germany (obtainable after 5 years living there) and at least 6 months living in a border zone. It's both not either.

"Third-country nationals will only be given a cross-border commuter G-permit, if they have a permanent residence permit in a neighboring country. They also need to have had their residence in the neighboring country’s border zone for at least six months and fulfill the labor market requirements. G-permits are usually valid for one year, and are limited to the border zone of the issuing canton. Third-country border commuters require permission to change jobs or occupations."

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

Got it, thanks again for all the time put into answering these questions. How do you know so much about all this?
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Old 21.01.2018, 17:11
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Re: US Citizen able to work in Switzerland while living in Germany?

Years of reading threads here on the forum and the relevant Swiss official wesbites.
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