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Old 01.04.2019, 20:44
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Early retirement in Switzerland

Does anyone have experience about moving to Switzerland as a European citizen without the intention of getting a job?

I am moving with my husband and we are both European. We do not intend to have a job for the next year but we have plenty of money and can afford living in Switzerland even if we do not work.

How does that work in practice, if at all?
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Old 01.04.2019, 22:05
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

Welcome to the Forum. Switzerland isn't the cheapest place to retire, but if it's what you want, here you go. Straight from the federal website:

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...ful%20activity

Click on the link for

I’d like to spend time in Switzerland but not in order to work. Will I be granted authorization to stay?

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To take up residence in Switzerland without pursuing a gainful activity, people such as pensioners, students, or those of private means need to register with the local authorities of the place they reside and apply for a residence permit for non-working persons. Registration has to be done 14 days after arrival at the latest. This type of residence permit will be granted if you can prove that you possess sufficient financial means for you and your family members not to have to rely on Swiss social security benefits. Financial means are defined as being sufficient if Swiss nationals in the same situation are not entitled to claim benefits. Furthermore, you need to show that you have taken out adequate accident and health insurance. Contact the appropriate cantonal migration authorities for detailed information.
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Old 01.04.2019, 22:32
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

Thank you very much for your response. :-)
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Old 02.04.2019, 00:12
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

Goodness, good luck to you.
Great that you have a small fortune to enable retiring here.

I have also been toying with the idea of early retirement, so please don't take my comments as an affront, rather as an interest in the post.

I'm sure that you already realise you need around / at least CHF Million to purchase the simplest of properties?

If you can afford this, then why not go to far more interesting countries e.g. in Scandinavia?
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Old 02.04.2019, 01:12
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

Thanks for your message and also the questions. I appreciate it, and welcome the discussion.

I am well aware that the real estate market is pretty expensive in Switzerland.

Even though we plan to retire early, our idea of retirement can include things such as part time jobs and projects which we would get paid for. We also are going to test our cost of living and other things about Switzerland, and might decide to go somewhere else after a few years. We are pretty open.

We haven't considered other places for the moment because Switzerland is geographically pretty convenient to be close to family and friends, which is important to us right now. In addition, we have spent some time in Switzerland in the past, so we are familiar with the system and English is widely spoken, making it a comfortable landing spot for that we are looking at to decompress after 20+ years of hard working full time.
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Old 02.04.2019, 02:52
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

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Even though we plan to retire early, our idea of retirement can include things such as part time jobs and projects which we would get paid for.
Then you will not qualify for a Swiss permit. Independent means is living of capital and investment income: interest, dividends and royalties.
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Old 02.04.2019, 03:27
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

Hey Jim2007, I might not have been clear. I was answering the question from ZuriRollt, which was more about why Switzerland and costs associated with it.

Even though we are financially in a very fortunate position, those things can change, and with that it would also change our situation and our visa (if we have to work, for instance). But that's not the case for the moment and costs are not a short term concern either.
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Old 02.04.2019, 05:59
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

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Hey Jim2007, I might not have been clear. I was answering the question from ZuriRollt, which was more about why Switzerland and costs associated with it.

Even though we are financially in a very fortunate position, those things can change, and with that it would also change our situation and our visa (if we have to work, for instance). But that's not the case for the moment and costs are not a short term concern either.
The point is that to qualify under retirement criteria requires funds for the foreseeable future, not a year or two or three.... you can’t become a potential burden on the state at some future sage.
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Old 02.04.2019, 16:09
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

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Does anyone have experience about moving to Switzerland as a European citizen without the intention of getting a job?

I am moving with my husband and we are both European. We do not intend to have a job for the next year but we have plenty of money and can afford living in Switzerland even if we do not work.

How does that work in practice, if at all?
Welcome, ER. My wife and I (non-EU) moved to CH for a job opportunity and had annually renewed B permits until a few years ago, when we formally retired early. We had planned this and saved/invested rigorously for the last 20 years to achieve our goal. That said, our investments are domiciled outside of Switzerland in our home country; therefore, we still invest otherwise unneeded funds into an "inflation & exchange rate" reserve fund. The latter especially, can wreak havoc with the best laid plans.

Our retirement coincided, as luck would have it, with our first ever application for a C permit (permanent settlement). It was an anxious moment, to be sure; we were soon to be unemployed. But we provided evidence of our financial independence and were awarded the prized C permit forthwith. So, our situation is a bit different in that we were already relatively longer term B permit holders, had health and accident insurance, and had been in the same residence location for the entire time. We had a history of no debt or criminal charges in the courts as well. In other words we were relatively low risk applicants in some respects. But we also were non-EU, so had no defined right to at least stay in CH on B permits, were our C-permit application to be denied.

At the time, I didn't speak Italian well and asked the official who interviewed us for the C permit application if that would be a problem (this was four years ago). His response, after looking over my list of income sources/amounts: "Perhaps, but not likely. This is Switzerland, and here it's all about the money."

Now, with new rules in place there is a strict language and integration requirement for new and renewed C permits of course. So, we are scheduled to take the standardized test in Italian in the early fall for our C-permit renewal.

I hope this helps. Good luck to you.
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Last edited by Doctor Memory; 02.04.2019 at 16:19.
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Old 02.04.2019, 18:05
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

Thank you very much, Doctor Memory, this helps a lot! I feel a lot more confident now, but we also decided to email the authorities just in case. My husband have lived in Switzerland in the past for over 6 years, so he has some history with the authorities.

Jim2017: what you're saying to me is that if I have 5M+ CHF and decide to move to Switzerland without the intention of working but open to the idea, unless I promise forever to the authorities I will never perform any activity in exchange for money they won't give me a permit? That sounds weird. I don't feel great about posting any of our financial details to this forum, but trust me, we have plenty of money and do not need to work.

We are open to do some consultancy here and there because I am not confident I won't be bored to be just idle. We are fortunate we don't need to work but we want to do something helpful, like working for a non-profit or something like this. I am also confident there's a way to make this all work legally.
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Old 02.04.2019, 18:11
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

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Thank you very much, Doctor Memory, this helps a lot! I feel a lot more confident now, but we also decided to email the authorities just in case. My husband have lived in Switzerland in the past for over 6 years, so he has some history with the authorities.

Jim2017: what you're saying to me is that if I have 5M+ CHF and decide to move to Switzerland without the intention of working but open to the idea, unless I promise forever to the authorities I will never perform any activity in exchange for money they won't give me a permit? That sounds weird. I don't feel great about posting any of our financial details to this forum, but trust me, we have plenty of money and do not need to work.

We are open to do some consultancy here and there because I am not confident I won't be bored to be just idle. We are fortunate we don't need to work but we want to do something helpful, like working for a non-profit or something like this. I am also confident there's a way to make this all work legally.
If you're Richie Rich rich, you could just get an immigration lawyer to walk you through your options. Then you'd know for sure.
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Old 02.04.2019, 19:08
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

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If you're Richie Rich rich, you could just get an immigration lawyer to walk you through your options. Then you'd know for sure.
Good point. From my husband's experience living in Switzerland though, authorities are very straight forward and easy to handle so it is easy to get these things resolved without overhead.
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Old 02.04.2019, 19:36
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

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Jim2017: what you're saying to me is that if I have 5M+ CHF and decide to move to Switzerland without the intention of working but open to the idea, unless I promise forever to the authorities I will never perform any activity in exchange for money they won't give me a permit? That sounds weird.

(snip)

We are open to do some consultancy here and there because I am not confident I won't be bored to be just idle. We are fortunate we don't need to work but we want to do something helpful, like working for a non-profit or something like this. I am also confident there's a way to make this all work legally.
Much depends on the immigration category you pursue.

There is a tax category, Pauschalsteuer, that is only for gazillionaires who do not work in Switzerland. If you are here on a Pauschalsteuer deal you cannot suddenly decide to work here. On such a deal, work within the country is not allowed, to work you would need a different type of permit.

If your husband has lived here within the last 10 years (IIRC, someone please correct the timing if I am wrong) on a working permit, he might not be eligible for Pauschalsteuer. Also note that Pauschalsteuer is not available in every canton - Zürich notably voted to get rid of it - and the amount needed to qualify varies as well. But a Pauschalsteuer deal might not be the right option for you to pursue anyway.

But you are EU citizens, so you benefit from FMOP. It's the non-EU, non-UHNW who cannot easily move here.

As above, there are companies and lawyers who will hold your hand and guide you through the bureaucracy. Or get to know the responsible bureaucrat where you wish to live, start talking to them, if you want to cut out the middleman.


FYI: Lots of 'bored trailing spouses' who are restricted from working in Switzerland have found meaningful, satisfying, challenging volunteer roles, in and outside Switzerland. If it turns out that you can't work in Switzerland, and you are worried about going mad without something to keep the grey cells sharp, consider that route as well as paid work.
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Old 02.04.2019, 20:06
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

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... From my husband's experience living in Switzerland though, authorities are very straight forward and easy to handle so it is easy to get these things resolved without overhead.
You are set.

Your retirement permit will say "without gainful employment", so no need to promise the authorities anything till kingdom comes, but if you do decide to work for money later then please hand in your retirement permit and get a regular permit.
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Old 02.04.2019, 21:04
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

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Jim2017: what you're saying to me is that if I have 5M+ CHF and decide to move to Switzerland without the intention of working but open to the idea, unless I promise forever to the authorities I will never perform any activity in exchange for money they won't give me a permit? That sounds weird.
You are either seeking to retire to Switzerland and you have the means to do so or you are not. There is nothing weird about it.
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Old 02.04.2019, 23:51
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Re: Early retirement in Switzerland

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You are either seeking to retire to Switzerland and you have the means to do so or you are not. There is nothing weird about it.
I believe other European countries have a similar permit on offer. For example, when we weren't sure that our application to remain in CH would be approved, we investigated Italy as an option and found that they offer a retirement permit, which forbids compensated employment. With sufficient funds, you can move there, live, and pay taxes, but not compete with Italians in the labour force for jobs.

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