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Old 22.09.2020, 10:55
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Getting married and applying for residency on a visa free entry

Hi everyone,


Hope you all are doing well. I wanted to both share some information based on recent experiences and ask a few questions.


1. Some info: I am an American who entered Switzerland visa free in August when they allowed for non-married couple to reunite. My partner is Swiss and resident in Zurich. I was in Taiwan and since the airline didn't want to let me board, I pestered the Swiss office of Trade Industries to get me a laissez passer (apparently they still exist). Due to a lot of weird COVID-19 related stuff, including being unable to get back to the US to apply for a marriage visa (and a lot of incorrect info from the Swiss office in Taiwan), I just came on my visa free c-type entry. Managed to get all the paperwork submitted after a month of processing it looks like we can now get married here in a couple of weeks. So to answers some questions I saw before on the forums, it looks like it can all be done on a tourist entry, just make sure you apply for an apostille birth certificate ahead of time since that takes the longest and check your country specific requirements.


2. Applying for residency for Switzerland, while in Zurich on a visa-free entry: Ok, I am not expecting miracles here as I am just happy to have made it this far. As with many things so far, the Swiss authorities (Zurich Migrationsamt and the consulate in my place of residency - SF) have been super vague and unclear about what comes next, but both said I might be able to apply for residency from the Zurich migrationsamt once I am married and have all the paperwork (started months ago so I already have everything such as the criminal background check) even though I am only on a visa-free entry. This was a surprise to me. Any information on this? Anyone with some similar experiences? Any information would be greatly appreciated. I assume I will still just have to go back to the US to apply for the family reunification visa. Also, something I have not really understood: can I get a year long D visa for family reunification without residency, or are the two issues completely tied together. For my the issue is that I just want to stay with my wife and I have no need for the right to work since my work is all remote and online through the US.


Thanks for any info.


Best,
Jay
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Old 22.09.2020, 14:01
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Re: Getting married and applying for residency on a visa free entry

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... it looks like it can all be done on a tourist entry, just make sure you apply for an apostille birth certificate ahead of time since that takes the longest and check your country specific requirements.
I wouldn't take that as a blanket statement for all non-EU individuals. The stories I have seen on EF show that Americans, Canadians and Aussies are often treated more leniently than other non-EU countries if they arrive on a tourist visit and then apply for marriage and residency. There are also special rules for Singaporean citizens and a few others.

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...the Swiss authorities...have been super vague and unclear about what comes next...
Talk to the Zurich authorities again. If you've received permission to marry here then you should also be able to request your family reunification permit based on that. It involves much of the same paperwork.

Note that in Switzerland, a visa is only used for entry into the country. After that you need a residence permit in order to stay. Your permit will be dependent upon your spouse.

Assuming you arrived the first week of August, you've used up 7-8 weeks of your 90 days as a tourist. You want to make sure that you're married and the permit applied for before that 90 days runs out. Request a letter from the municipality stating your permit is being processed, so that if you go over 90 days you don't wind up in a pickle.

That's where it can get a bit tricky. Technically speaking, you need a Type D visa in your passport because you're planning to stay long-term and you're not just a tourist. Practically speaking, and based on EF stories, if you get married here you probably don't have to return to the States and apply from there. You can apply from here and at worst go to Paris or Frankfurt to get the stamp. Or if the authorities are really nice, they don't bother to make you get the visa.
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Old 22.09.2020, 17:51
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Re: Getting married and applying for residency on a visa free entry

Thank you so much for the helpful information! Greatly appreciated!
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