Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Getting the Swiss Visa

I have to start by saying that the move to Zürich so far has been unusually easy. We've moved a lot, and this has by far been the easiest, probably easier than any cross city move we've done even. A lot of that has to do with the fact that my husband's company has provided us with a relocation consultant to help us with the move - Touchdown Relocation Services AG. Basically they've organized everything for us, from the visa to hiring a mover and then also everything on Swiss soil such as finding an apartment and getting registered. Let's just say, they've been more than great.

The most important item that you'll want to take care of before you leave is your Swiss visa. As in our case, once the Swiss government approved my husband to work in Switzerland, they sent (through his employer) a letter that said that he and I could apply for a Swiss visa. This letter is then used to send off or take to the consulate to apply for the visa. We had to send this letter, our passports, a completed application, a photo, an SASE (we did a return Fedex envelope) and I believe $50 per applicant (check the Swiss Consultate website) to get our visa. It took approximately 10 days to receive our passports with the new visas inside back in the mail... it's fast! And if you have questions, call the Consulate. They were helpful and easy to reach.

The new Swiss visa in your passport is then used to get you into the country as well as register you in your canton. Within 8 days of your arrival in Switzerland, you need to register with your canton so that they can start the application for your long term residence permit. Go to the Cantonal Office within your municipality where you'll live in Zürich with your passport and visa, the letter from the Swiss government referenced above that says you can work there, approximately 20 fr/person for registration, and just in case the following: marriage certificate, birth certificate, police clearance and a bit of patience. We did not need all this in the end, but depending on your canton, you might need this and more.

Afterwards, we were given a temporary permit that we need to carry with us at all times until we receive our permanent permit, which will last up to one year. We'll also have to unregister in the old canton and re-register in the new canton if we move cantons at any time. All in all, painless. We got to the Cantonal Office at 8:30 am which surely helped as there was absolutely no line! Now, we're ready to live and work in Zürich (or at least Jace is, more on that later...)!

(By the way, depending on where you're coming from, these steps could be different. But in the US, this is what we did...Please do not use this blog as your only reference - perhaps I just need to say I won't be liable for any mistakes you might make if you don't get professional assistance!)

You rock. That's why Blockbuster's offering you one month of Blockbuster Total Access, No Cost.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on getting the visa. My husband's company has been absolutely no help whatsoever, and it's been IMPOSSIBLE to reach the consulate. I'm glad to at least have a clue what were supposed to be doing now that we have the work permit in hand. Just wish we had known this all sooner! thanks for the info!!


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