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Old 15.01.2020, 13:20
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Staying abroad for 3-6 months with student B permit - do I have to keep paying rent?

Hi,

I am an ETHZ MSc student, non-EU, with a student B permit. This summer, I might go abroad for an internship (non-mandatory) for up to 6 months (which is OK, from what I understand it is legally OK to be away from Switzerland for up to 6 months.

From what I read on this forum, I will still be required to pay Swiss health insurance while being abroad, OK.

My question is: do I have to maintain a Swiss address as well while being abroad?

For me that would mean that I will have to pay the rent for my flat in a student house for several months while I am not here. In the best case, I would prefer to terminate my lease contract before going abroad, and find a new (potentially the same) flat once I am back after the internship. But that would mean that I will have no Swiss address for some time (although I am not sure if the authorities can even find out that I terminated my lease contract), and probably won't be able to receive letters to that address. Is that a valid option? Is it possible to notify the authorities that I will be away and somehow be allowed to have no Swiss address? Or would it be the best to just pay the rent and maintain same address? Any ideas on what I can do to avoid that?

An alternative is to temporarily sublet my place to somebody else, but that is tricky as well.
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Old 15.01.2020, 13:34
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Re: Staying abroad for 3-6 months with student B permit - do I have to keep paying re

If you want to stay registered (keep your permit), you need a Swiss address & health insurance.
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Old 15.01.2020, 14:09
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Re: Staying abroad for 3-6 months with student B permit - do I have to keep paying re

What exactly is the definition of having "a Swiss address"? Does it necessarily mean having an active lease agreement?

Say, I would somehow manage to persuade the student house to keep my name on the mailbox and will be able to receive mail, but will terminate my contract (so that I won't pay the rent and another person will live in my flat), and won't deregister this address with the authorities (and will potentially register with a new address once I find a new place to stay once I come back). It that a valid solution?

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If you want to stay registered (keep your permit), you need a Swiss address & health insurance.
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Old 15.01.2020, 14:12
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Re: Staying abroad for 3-6 months with student B permit - do I have to keep paying re

Are you sure you would easily find an other WOKO apartment? I thought those are rare and there are more interested students than places.

I would go with the sublet option. You have the address, a secured apartment, and no rent to pay.

Otherwise find a friend where you can sublet or get a c/o address for a small fee.

In canton Zurich the landlord or owner must inform the authorities if an person moves in or out. https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/prd/de/...depflicht.html

Note: This is in addition to any registration/de-registration obligations which has to be done by each person on its own. This means, that in canton Zurich there are two independent channels how the authority knows you have changed residency. If the information does not match they might start to ask questions (There are some valid reasons why they do not match).
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Old 15.01.2020, 14:16
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Re: Staying abroad for 3-6 months with student B permit - do I have to keep paying re

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Say, I would somehow manage to persuade the student house to keep my name on the mailbox and will be able to receive mail, but will terminate my contract (so that I won't pay the rent and another person will live in my flat), and won't deregister this address with the authorities (and will potentially register with a new address once I find a new place to stay once I come back). It that a valid solution?
Only the authorities can tell you if it is valid. It might be.

Go to the Bevölkerungsamt at the Stadtbüro and ask them
https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/prd/de/...eiten-pma.html
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Old 15.01.2020, 15:33
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Re: Staying abroad for 3-6 months with student B permit - do I have to keep paying re

Thank you for the answer, that's good to know.

I am trying to decide now between renting a flat from WOKO (which allows subletting to students) and another student house (with a somewhat better location and price, but they don't allow subletting at all, so then there is a problem of how to deal with maintaining address while I'm away).

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Are you sure you would easily find an other WOKO apartment? I thought those are rare and there are more interested students than places.
Finding both was fairly easy for me now (but maybe I was lucky and I was applying directly to WOKO from abroad - I am starting MS in February 2020 and WOKO has some pre-allocated pool of rooms for new students - so I didn't have to go through the usual WG casting bullshittery).

I am not sure how easy it will be to sublet the room in summer + some part of autumn, given that WOKO officially only allows subletting to students.

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Otherwise find a friend where you can sublet or get a c/o address for a small fee.
This may be an option too. Do you have more info on how one can get a c/o address?
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Old 15.01.2020, 15:45
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Re: Staying abroad for 3-6 months with student B permit - do I have to keep paying re

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. Do you have more info on how one can get a c/o address?
Step one) Friends.
Step two) Finding a Friendly Friend willing to accept your mail in his mailbox.
Step three) Update your address to

Mr/Mrs. Smough
c/o Friendly Friend
Börsenstrasse 15
8000 Zurich

It is enough if only the name of Friendly Friend is on the mailbox.
WOKO also allows double occupation. Will cost CHF 100 per month.

Getting a flat after Summer break, with start of the new study year, will be much harder as it was now.
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Old 15.01.2020, 16:57
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Re: Staying abroad for 3-6 months with student B permit - do I have to keep paying re

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What exactly is the definition of having "a Swiss address"? Does it necessarily mean having an active lease agreement?

Say, I would somehow manage to persuade the student house to keep my name on the mailbox and will be able to receive mail, but will terminate my contract (so that I won't pay the rent and another person will live in my flat), and won't deregister this address with the authorities (and will potentially register with a new address once I find a new place to stay once I come back). It that a valid solution?

Quite interesting gamble.

I was responsible of a shared flat (colocation in French) a few years. Once, a guy left and did not announce he moved to another commune/gemeinde.

This was unknown to me until a new coloc arrived and tried to register his address. The people at contrôle des habitants said it was not possible because there were already 3 people in the flat and 1 more was unacceptable due to the flat size in order to prevent overcrowding. That's when I found the who left never deregistered. As manager of the coloc, I just declared he was not living there anymore to get the new coloc registered.......months later I got an angry call of this guy blaming me for losing his permit.

So, not telling the authorities works until someone tells them you're not living there anymore only to comply with the max number of inhabitants per housing unit.


All in this life is risk VS reward. Is the reward worth the risk?
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