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Old 26.05.2020, 13:21
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Non-EU: Living in Fribourg but studying in Vaud

Hi everyone, I know similar topics have been addressed in the past but I didn't find a definitive answer there.

The situation is as follows: I'm a EU citizen, C-permit holder and I live in Canton Fribourg (very close to the border with Vaud). My girlfriend is non-EU and she will start her studies at EPFL in Lausanne this fall.

The question here is: can she live with me in Fribourg or is it mandatory for her to live in Vaud?
We asked EPFL and they say that it doesn't matter, as far as they're concerned she can live wherever she wants.
However, I checked with the Fribourg immigration office and they stated that, as a non-EU and being EPFL in Vaud, she won't be accepted in FR (although they said that for EU citizens that is instead possible).

Is that true? I read lots of posts on this forum where it's explained how after 2008 those constraints have been relaxed and that people can live and study in two different cantons, regardless of whether they're EU or non-EU.

Is there any way I can challenge the FR immigration office and "force them" to accept it?

And what would the alternatives be? If I have her register in Vaud at a friend's place, but then she stays with me in Fribourg, what issues might we face?

Thanks a lot in advance, any help is greatly appreciated (and beer-worthy!)
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Old 26.05.2020, 13:48
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Re: Non-EU: Living in Fribourg but studying in Vaud

As with any other non-EU national she would have to ask both Vaud and Fribourg cantons if she could change and get a new student permit from Fribourg. How likely that is to be granted I don't know.

And sorry, but you read wrong. EU nationals can more or less live/work/study anywhere in Switzerland, but it's rarely the case for non-EUs.

The issues you face are someone reporting her living with you to the commune and them finding out she doesn't have a permit to be in the canton. Which could result in her student permit being cancelled altogether. Not a risk to take since to be honest you're not that far away from each other and can visit pretty easily.

Alternatively, she applies to Fribourg unis to get a place here instead though I guess that's unlikely to be possible for this coming semester.
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Old 27.05.2020, 11:44
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Re: Non-EU: Living in Fribourg but studying in Vaud

Thank you Medea!

Understood re: the non-EUs restrictions, that's too bad but it can't be helped.

Regarding living separate, one in Fribourg and one in Vaud, I'm afraid that's not a viable option. We want to live together, seeing each other on a regular basis because we're not too far away won't do for us.

The idea of her studying in Fribourg won't fly either, because she really wants to go to EPFL (and besides, as you said, it would be too late to apply to another uni right now).

I'd like to understand more what the risks would be if she says she lives in Vaud but then stays in Fribourg with me: you say that she might get reported, but who would ever report someone they don't know? Neighbours or friends have no reason to, random people on the streets neither, and the authorities can't know where she actually lives.
I mean, I understand it's not a best practice and it would be "bending" the law, but I'm trying to gauge the risks of it happening and how it would happen to then draw a conclusion as to whether that's a risk we're willing to take.

As an additional piece of info, she's in the process of becoming EU (her parents are EU, they just never followed through with her citizenship), so in winter 2020 she'll get her new nationality and (I suppose) will be able to apply for a non-restricted permit - meaning that she should be able to officially relocate to Fribourg without breaking any laws.

Otherwise the only alternative I see would be for me to move to Vaud, but if at all possible I'd like not to because I really like my place in FR
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Old 27.05.2020, 11:49
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Re: Non-EU: Living in Fribourg but studying in Vaud

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I'd like to understand more what the risks would be if she says she lives in Vaud but then stays in Fribourg with me: you say that she might get reported, but who would ever report someone they don't know? Neighbours or friends have no reason to, random people on the streets neither, and the authorities can't know where she actually lives.
I mean, I understand it's not a best practice and it would be "bending" the law, but I'm trying to gauge the risks of it happening and how it would happen to then draw a conclusion as to whether that's a risk we're willing to take.

Your neighbours maybe, your landlord etc. And the authorities might find out as in some Kantons the landlord will report to the authorities who lives where.



And it is not bending the law, sorry, it is breaking the law and that could have consequences.


As you are not that far away, why not just wait until she has her EU pass and travel to see each other until then??
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Old 27.05.2020, 12:00
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Re: Non-EU: Living in Fribourg but studying in Vaud

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As you are not that far away, why not just wait until she has her EU pass and travel to see each other until then??
Yes, this. A few months really isn't going to kill you, you know. If the relationship is strong enough, it'll survive a few months apart except for weekend visits; if it's not then it's not the relationship for either of you.
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Old 27.05.2020, 16:45
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Re: Non-EU: Living in Fribourg but studying in Vaud

From whaat I understand, 'living in Switzerland' comprises of three main things:
1. Being 'registered in the commune in which you rent/own your living space
2. Paying your taxes / social insurances in that place
3. Availing your health insurance in that place. F.ex. your GF would have to go ti VD whenever she needs medical help
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Old 27.05.2020, 20:53
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Re: Non-EU: Living in Fribourg but studying in Vaud

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Regarding living separate, one in Fribourg and one in Vaud, I'm afraid that's not a viable option. We want to live together, seeing each other on a regular basis because we're not too far away won't do for us.

The idea of her studying in Fribourg won't fly either, because she really wants to go to EPFL (and besides, as you said, it would be too late to apply to another uni right now).
That leaves only two options: living separate or you moving to VD.
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