Love that transcends national borders can be beautiful and exciting. Unfortunately, many of these relationships encounter difficulties in the form of migration law. It’s usually not a problem for a Swiss citizen to visit their partner in their homeland. But when the time comes for the foreign national to come to Switzerland, difficult situations often arise. Entry regulations mean that citizens of third countries (those not in the EU or EFTA) are often only allowed to visit Switzerland for a limited period. This means that many foreign nationals are unable to properly get to know Switzerland, not least sufficiently test their relationship in a Swiss setting. Many couples are thus forced to get married, or enter a civil partnership, before they've properly got to know one another, since this is often the only way they can live together in Switzerland.
EU citizens have the right to stay in Switzerland for 90 days without a visa. The following applies for longer stays:
Residence in Switzerland with employment
Free movement of people means that they have right to enter and reside in Switzerland, to seek permanent employment or to carry out freelance work.
Residence in Switzerland without employment
Unemployed persons, such as students or pensioners, also have the right to enter and reside in Switzerland, if they fulfil certain requirements – having sufficient funds to cover the cost of living and health insurance are particularly important.
Depending on the entry requirements for the country, a citizen of a third country might require a visa to enter Switzerland. Should the foreign national not have access to sufficient funds, a letter of guarantee may be required from the host. In addition, proof of travel insurance is required. Providing these does not legally entitle the foreign national to a tourist visa. The final decision rests with the relevant authorities. In some cases, persons from countries judged to be unstable may not receive a tourist visa on the grounds that they might not return to their homeland. In such cases, the only option is for the couple to meet abroad; meeting in Switzerland is not possible. Marriage or civil partnership is the only way couples like this can live together in Switzerland.
Getting a residence permit through an employer is especially difficult. Only highly qualified persons from third countries (managers, specialists or other qualified persons – primarily persons with a university degree and several years of professional experience) can apply for a residence permit in this way. Furthermore, the employer must prove that there isn't an appropriate person to fill the position from the domestic (domestic potential), EU or EFTA member states' labour markets.
For further information on this topic see the SEM's brochure on the topic of work in Switzerland: