Living in Switzerland

The Confederation, the cantons and the municipalities of Switzerland have created the website ch.ch, that contains extensive information about living in Switzerland, covering topics ranging from waste disposal to supplementary health insurance.

 

On the homepage of the  Federal Office for Housing (BWO) , you can download a "Living in Switzerland" leaflet that is available in 17 languages. The leaflet provides basic information about renting apartments, and it briefly and concisely outlines the most important rules and rights in the rental housing sector. In addition, key terms such as "Mietkautionskonto" (rental deposit bank account) are explained.
 

Living in Liechtenstein

Due to the existing provisions in Liechtenstein, taking up employment in a Liechtenstein company is not automatically equivalent to residing in Liechtenstein. About half of the 32,000 people employed in Liechtenstein are cross-border commuters, i.e. they work in Liechtenstein but live in the border area around Liechtenstein.
 
Special note on the possibility of acquiring a residency permit in Liechtenstein:
As part of a special lottery process, based on the “Green Card” process in the United States, Liechtenstein awards a total of 36 residency permits annually to citizens of the European Economic Area. The lottery takes place twice a year and the periods for registration in the lottery are from February 1 – 28/29, and from August 1 – 31.! Further details can be found on the website of the Foreigners and Passport Office. In particular, note that the fees for both stages of the two-stage lottery must be paid by the respective due date.
 

Residency Permit in Switzerland

As regulations often change, it is advisable to check with Human Resources.
 
All the documents required to register with a Swiss municipality must be originals and must also be submitted in a German-language version.
Foreign documents not in German must have a certified translation, although documentation in English is generally accepted without a translation.
The documents required for registration depend on nationality and may vary from canton to canton.
Migration Office Canton of St. Gallen
For more detailed information please contact your HR Specialist.
 

 

After the correct documentation has been submitted, a B permit is generally issued.
The residency permit (B permit) is valid as long as the passport is valid, but for a maximum of 5 years. By contrast, all third-country nationals must initially extend their B permit every year. Normally, in plenty of time before the end of the year, a reminder is automatically sent out by your municipality of residence. Your HR Specialist will be happy to assist you in this regard.
If, contrary to expectations, you do not receive this request, we advise that you do not delay in contacting the municipality of residence before the end of the one-year period.
Important for business travelers: Prior to departure, check the expiry date of your permit so that easy re-entry can be guaranteed.
 

Consulat

Register with your country’s embassy or consulate to ensure that you have been properly registered in your home country as living abroad.

A list of all foreign embassies and consulates in Switzerland can be found on the website of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).

Integration agreement for spouses of Hilti employees from third countries

People from third countries (i.e. not EU/EFTA) who enter Switzerland to join their family are granted a residency permit on the condition that they sign an integration agreement.

 

The focus is on acquiring proficiency in the German language. The integration agreement includes the obligation to regularly attend the agreed German classes. The aim is to achieve language level A2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL). Further information can be obtained directly from the Migration Office.

SEARCHING FOR AN APARTMENT

According to your integration agreement, you will be assisted by a relocation partner in the search for an apartment. To get an idea of the current housing offers in advance, visit the following websites:

Homegate
Immodream
Immoscout24
myrheintal
Immobilien

Once you have officially started at Hilti you will be given access to the flea market on REDi where you can view offers from Hilti employees.
In Switzerland, tenants enjoy a relatively high standard of housing. Normally, rental and owner-occupied apartments are fully equipped. A typical Swiss apartment includes:

  • Fitted kitchen: You cannot and must not bring your own kitchen to the new apartment.
  • Laundry room with washing machine: You often share a washing machine with your neighbors. Very few apartments have their own washing machine connection point.
  • Impeccable cleaning before moving in: The previous tenant must clean the apartment thoroughly before handing it over.
  • Minor renovations: Before the apartment is handed over, it is common for minor renovations to be completed, such as painting heavily soiled walls. An inevitable wear and tear of the apartment is considered normal and is already included in the rent. More extensive defects and excessive wear are at the expense of the tenant.

RENT AND ADDITIONAL COSTS

The gross rent (in Germany also called "warm") consists of the net rent ("cold") and the additional costs. These generally include: heating and hot water costs, staircase cleaning, waste water charges and electricity. These are usually initially charged as a lump sum. At the end of the year, the costs are then billed on the basis of the actual consumption (so-called invoice for extra charges).
 
Information on energy and electricity can be found at:
•   Strom.ch
•   energieschweiz.ch
•   rii-seez-net.ch

 

DEPOSIT (RENTAL DEPOSIT)

In Switzerland, the tenant will usually be asked to pay a deposit. The amount of the deposit must not exceed three months' rent. The deposit must normally be deposited before moving in. The deposit is generally put into either a special deposit account, a savings account or takes the form of a bank guarantee. The amount must be invested at the usual bank interest rates. When moving out, the deposit plus the accrued interest is paid back to the tenant. In case of damages, a deduction can be made. You are responsible for reclaiming the deposit yourself.
 

Handover of the apartment and keys

For moving into and out of an apartment, you should draw up an accurate handover report with the owner/landlord, both when you take over and leave the apartment and receive and hand over the keys. This report documents the current state of the apartment. It also lists any damage as well as any repair work still to be carried out, and puts this in writing.

When you move out, you are not liable for normal wear and tear of the apartment and its equipment. But you are liable for deliberately-caused damage, lost items or excessive wear. If the owner/landlord demands of you that the apartment be renovated or repaired, they must provide proof that the apartment rooms were in perfect condition when your rental contract began.
 

Termination and moving out early

Often, it is agreed that termination is not possible during the rental agreement’s first year. Otherwise, the legal period of notice for termination of accommodation is three months. Notice of termination is either possible at the end of any month or may only be possible at fixed dates (usually only at the end of a quarter, with the exception of December 31). Further information can be found in your rental agreement.

If you want to move out outside of the contractual deadlines, you should note the following: Give notice of termination by registered mail and inform the owner/landlord that you are moving out prematurely.

 

Fundamentally, you are liable for all commitments entered into in the rental contract (especially the payment of rent) until the first possible date of termination stipulated in the contract. You can get around this by offering the owner/landlord potential new tenants. If you get at least three separate people to confirm in writing that they are willing to take over the apartment on the date you move out, that should, as a rule, be sufficient for the owner/landlord. Send originals to the owner/landlord by registered mail and keep copies.

RENTAL LAW

Further comprehensive information (in German) about Swiss rental law can be found on the website of the Mieterverband (tenants' association).
Under the Ratgeber Mietrecht menu item you will find further useful information and a standard rental contract to download.
The association also offers legal advice. The advice is free for members; non-members will be charged a fee.
 

RADIO / TV / TELEPHONE / INTERNET

Radios and television sets are subject to a license fee in Switzerland and must be registered with the authorities.
Detailed information, registration forms and prices can be found on the website of Serafe AG, the Swiss collection agency for radio and television fees.
The tariffs for telephone and Internet are becoming increasingly unclear. There are many providers with different models, which often change. We therefore recommend Internet platforms such as Comparis and Teltarif, which compare providers and costs in detail.

The international dialing code for Switzerland is 0041. Then the number without (0) must be entered.
 

WASTE

In Switzerland, most of the waste is separated and sorted into organic waste, glass, scrap metal, plastic/synthetic and paper. Non-recyclable waste is disposed of in garbage bags. Waste disposal fees are charged through the use of special garbage bags. These can be purchased from every shopping mall, and prices may vary between individual regions.
 

 

When registering with the municipality of residence, a special brochure for waste disposal is usually provided. For more information on the topic of waste, see the websites of the Federal Office for the Environment,  Moser Recycling and the Waste Management Association in Buchs SG.
 

PETS

If you want to bring your pet into Switzerland with you, please inquire at an early stage about the regulations to be observed from the Federal Veterinary Office.
Entry regulations vary according to the type and age of the animal, and from which country you are coming. You must agree directly with the owner/landlord whether or not you may keep a pet in the apartment.