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Old 04.08.2020, 18:04
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Binational (US-French) couple moving to Basel frontier

Hi everyone,

This looks like a really nice online forum. Thanks for having us.

My husband recently got a 2-year position in Basel. He is French and I am American. We'll be moving from the US (hopefully at the end of next month!) to somewhere close to Basel (tbd). We're both new to Switzerland, and really exciting to explore Basel and the beautiful surroundings.

I'm looking forward to reading more on this forum about Swiss culture and life in Switzerland as an English-speaking expat. I'll post on another thread about my work permit questions. I'm also interested to hear from anyone who lives on the Swiss-French border and/or who commutes to Basel from France. We're considering that option as housing seems less pricey there.

Looking forward to joining the group! Many thanks for the advice in advance.

-K
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Old 04.08.2020, 18:13
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Re: Binational (US-French) couple moving to Basel frontier

If you live in France, only your husband can work in Switzerland, you would have to look for a job in France.

Tom
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Old 04.08.2020, 18:35
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Re: Binational (US-French) couple moving to Basel frontier

After six months in France with a permanent residence permit, it should be possible to apply for a G cross-border work permit per the below (translated):

"A cross-border commuter permit can only be issued to third-country nationals if they have a permanent right of residence in a neighbouring country of Switzerland and have also lived in the border zone for at least six months."

https://www.bdm.bs.ch/Arbeiten/Grenz...willigung.html
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Old 04.08.2020, 18:48
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Re: Binational (US-French) couple moving to Basel frontier

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After six months in France with a permanent residence permit, it should be possible to apply for a G cross-border work permit per the below (translated):

"A cross-border commuter permit can only be issued to third-country nationals if they have a permanent right of residence in a neighbouring country of Switzerland and have also lived in the border zone for at least six months."

https://www.bdm.bs.ch/Arbeiten/Grenz...willigung.html
But she will not get a permanent right of residence immediately? In Germany you get that afaik after 5 years, probably similar in France?
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Old 04.08.2020, 18:54
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Re: Binational (US-French) couple moving to Basel frontier

Welcome to the Forum and soon to Switzerland (or nearby).
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Old 04.08.2020, 19:07
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Re: Binational (US-French) couple moving to Basel frontier

Some info here on French Permanent right of Residence. https://www.expatica.com/fr/moving/v...enship-107626/

It looks like 3 years for a non-EU spouse of a French Citizen.

Also check out, very carefully, health care. The two systems are dramatically different.
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Old 04.08.2020, 19:18
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Re: Binational (US-French) couple moving to Basel frontier

Welcome to the forum and soon to Switzerland.

As said, if you live in France you won't be able to work in Switzerland. You'd need permanent residency in France and to live in a border zone to qualify for a G permit.

You also need to research your continuing US tax filing obligations - if your husband has a Green card this will also apply to him unless he gives the card up when leaving the States. If he does make sure you have a copy of the document since it will be his only proof that he's done so.

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

Banks will not look kindly on you here due to the US's FATCA law so your banking options will be limited. It's also a good idea to have separate bank accounts so your husband's finances don't get dragged into the US tax filing - again this is if he does't have a Green card.
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Old 04.08.2020, 19:27
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Re: Binational (US-French) couple moving to Basel frontier

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I'm also interested to hear from anyone who lives on the Swiss-French border and/or who commutes to Basel from France. We're considering that option as housing seems less pricey there.
Welcome! We did this initially when we moved here for exactly the same reason: cost of living was supposedly lower in France. We lived across the border for 2 years and finally decided to move to Basel. Bear in mind:

1. Social life is almost non-existent, these are sleepy villages that people use to spend the night only and are gone for most of the day.
2. You need a car and you will end up driving for everything. From the simple cup of coffee, shopping, work, etc. In Basel you can get by completely by public transport
3. You will end up paying quite a substantial amount for your health insurance as a cross border who works in Switzerland.

Welcome and you'll find Basel an amazing place!
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Old 04.08.2020, 19:59
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Living in France with a Swiss spousal work permit

Hi everyone,

I have a question about living in France with a Swiss spousal work permit.

My husband who is a French citizen recently got a job in Basel. I am American. We are moving to Europe from the US soon (hooray!). He will have a permit to work in Switzerland through his university job, and HR said that we can obtain a "stay with husband" permit for me (not sure that is the proper terminology).

We are hoping to live on the French side of the border to take advantage of the cheaper housing. Ordinarily, we would pursue a French long stay visa for me, but because of COVID-19 delays, we are having a hard time getting our marriage (which took place in the States) officially ratified with the French government.

So my question is: would living in France invalidate my Swiss spousal permit? Also, could I seek a job in France with said permit?

I'm hoping there is some collective wisdom out there about living across the border. Any tips would be welcome.

Thanks so much!
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Old 04.08.2020, 20:02
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Re: Living in France with a Swiss spousal work permit

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would living in France invalidate my Swiss spousal permit?
Yes.

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could I seek a job in France with said permit?
No, you will need a French permit to live and/or work in France.

Tom
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Old 04.08.2020, 20:24
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Re: Living in France with a Swiss spousal work permit

You are limited to two options. You can both live in France you will have a French permit & can work in France only or you can both live in Switzerland you will have a Swiss permit & can work in Switzerland only. Your husband can live in one and work in the other as he is an EU citizen.

If you would like to gain French citizenship at some point, probably best to live in France.
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Old 04.08.2020, 20:29
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Re: Living in France with a Swiss spousal work permit

In Switzerland there is only a single permit. If you have one you can live, and in some cases, work here.

If you chose not to live here you wonít have a permit, therefore you canít work here.

You first need to determine if your permit allows you to work in Switzerland. Not all spousal permits allow this. Your husbandís employer is who you should be asking.
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Old 04.08.2020, 21:11
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Re: Binational (US-French) couple moving to Basel frontier

It's only financially worth living in France if you have a low salary. If you are happy to commute you are likely to be better off living in a low tax canton (ie Aargau) and travelling in.

I researched the same thing.
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Old 04.08.2020, 21:51
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Re: Living in France with a Swiss spousal work permit

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In Switzerland there is only a single permit. If you have one you can live, and in some cases, work here.

If you chose not to live here you wonít have a permit, therefore you canít work here.

You first need to determine if your permit allows you to work in Switzerland. Not all spousal permits allow this. Your husbandís employer is who you should be asking.
Since the husband is an EU national, the employer isn't involved.

If you choose to live in Switzerland you'll get the same permit as your husband: an L if the contract is for a year or less, a B if it's over a year/indefinite. Yours will be residence only, but if you find a job you just need to take your new employment contract to the commune/gemeinde admin office to show them you'll now be working and that will be added to your permit.
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Old 06.08.2020, 20:15
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Thanks, all, for the many responses and helpful information. I was definitely not aware that I would not be eligible for a cross-border permit based on my husband's job. Thank you for pointing this out! I suppose I could always look for Swiss employment (and a permit) on my own merits, but then, if we were living in France, it sounds like we would need to move to Switzerland if I got the position.

Thank you gaburko for your input about living in the small border towns in France. I am definitely wary about the "sleepiness" of these towns and the lacking social scene, but also find the prospect of living in a house with a garden quite nice (especially during COVID times).

We will look carefully at healthcare and taxes. I'm amazed at the knowledge and helpfulness of this group. Thanks so much, and apologies if I'm not replying to the proper thread!

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It's only financially worth living in France if you have a low salary. If you are happy to commute you are likely to be better off living in a low tax canton (ie Aargau) and travelling in.

I researched the same thing.
Well, we are academics and I don't have a job yet, so a lower cost of life would certainly help.

Thanks for the tip about Aargau. Does the tax rate vary very much by canton?

Last edited by 3Wishes; 06.08.2020 at 21:35. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 06.08.2020, 21:39
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Re: Binational (US-French) couple moving to Basel frontier

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Thanks, all, for the many responses and helpful information. I was definitely not aware that I would not be eligible for a cross-border permit based on my husband's job. Thank you for pointing this out! I suppose I could always look for Swiss employment (and a permit) on my own merits, but then, if we were living in France, it sounds like we would need to move to Switzerland if I got the position...
To be eligible for a permit on your own merits, yes you would need to live in Switzerland AND an employer would need to prove they cannot find a Swiss, EU or non-EU already here on a valid permit for the job. Don't even consider that route.

If you both move to Switzerland from the start, your husband as an EU citizen would likely receive a 5-year B permit, and as his dependent you'd get the same - which includes permission for you to work without an employer having to prove anything special.

I know you're looking to save costs, but you also want to be sensible about permits and job opportunities.
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