Switzerland Country Profile

Passport
For more details visit Switzerland Passport Ranking
  • Passport Grade
    A+
  • Passport Ranking
    5/198
  • Passport Score
    190.8/198
  • Visa-free Countries
    159
  • Visa-required Countries
    39
  • Access to the World's GDP
    92%
  • Access to the World's Surface Area
    68%
  • Access to the World's Population
    65%
  • Access to the Unesco Sites
    85%
Citizenship and Naturalization
Birthright citizenship (Jus Soli)
  • Birthright citizenship (Jus Soli)
    No
    No provisions
Naturalization - Standard Conditions
  • Minimum residency period
    10 years
    Also need to hold permanent residency. Naturalziation is a 2-step process - federal and cantonal.
  • Physical presence requirement
    At least 6 months a year
  • Language test
    Yes, German, French, Italian or Romansh
  • Need to renounce original citizenship?
    No
  • Can minor children naturalize?
    Yes
  • Can naturalized parents pass citizenship to a child born abroad?
    Yes
  • Can you lose naturalization due to prolonged absence/ naturalization elsewhere?
Naturalization - Your Spouse is a Citizen
  • Living IN the country: Residency/marriage requirement
    5 years / 3 years
    Must be married for 3 years, and reside in the country for 5 years.
  • Living ABROAD: Marriage requirement
    6 years
    Must be married for 6 years if residing abroad. Also, must have "close ties" to Switzerland, such as visiting the country and speaking one of the national languages.
  • Language test
    Yes, German, French, Italian or Romansh
  • Need to renounce original citizenship?
    No
Naturalization - Other Beneficial Provisions
  • Your child is a citizen
    No provisions
  • Citizens of specific countries
    No provisions
"–": The provision has not been analysed.
Taxation
For more details visit Cost of Living
  • Taxation Type
    Residence-based
A tax resident of a country with a RESIDENCE-BASED tax system pays taxes on their WORLDWIDE income. However, if you lose tax residency status there (e.g., by moving out), the country will generally stop taxing you.

You pay an annual lump sum of about CHF 120,000 – 160,000 (higher for non-Europeans) based on your annual consumption, and not income. This takes care of your worldwide income and annual wealth taxes.
Switzerland signed an agreement with the European Economic Area (EEA) allowing its citizens to freely live and work anywhere in the bloc. (The EEA consists of 27 European Union countries plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein
Schiff Sovereign's Take on Switzerland
Switzerland is gorgeously beautiful, civilized, clean and very safe. It also boasts reasonably good weather.

The Swiss are famous for their banking sector, of course, and rightfully so – Swiss banks are generally well-capitalized and efficient.

And until recently, banking in Switzerland could be discreet – but not anymore. Uncle Sam hobbled it with FATCA, and then the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) virtually destroyed the banking privacy the country was so famous for.

But generally speaking, Swiss banks are still a good option, albeit not for everyone. If you are not a local resident, opening an account usually requires a very hefty initial deposit.

Another bonus in Switzerland is safety. The country has not experienced the large-scale terrorist attacks its  European neighbors have faced in recent years. You’ll see many journalists wondering why. The answer is not complicated – the Swiss simply don’t stick their noses in other countries’ affairs. And they don’t let a lot of immigrants in.

Nonetheless, becoming a Swiss resident is still possible, though it's not cheap. You can directly negotiate a “tax agreement” with one of the cantons of your liking. There, you will pay a predetermined flat amount of tax every year in return for residency. The sum varies among the cantons, and is typically measured in the hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

If that’s your cup of tea, we have a great contact on the ground who could help.

Switzerland could serve very well for affluent retirees, families looking for a good education for their kids, business people, etc.

The country also scores top marks for the excellent quality and low cost of its universities. 

And you don't have to be super wealthy to live there. It’s not as expensive as Monaco, for example. However, you still need to be fairly well-off (or find a well-paying local job). 

If not, you’ll feel the pain every time you go to the grocery store. Prices there are easily triple from what you would see in Spain or Portugal.

And don't go to Switzerland if you want to obtain European citizenship quickly. It takes at least ten year of residency to become eligible for naturalization. 

Sovereign Global Explorer

Benefiting from over a decade of our team’s boots-on-the-ground experience, Global Explorer is where your international journey begins.
Switzerland Overview
  • Region
    Europe
  • Capital City
    Bern
  • Largest City
    Zürich
  • Currency
    Swiss franc
  • Languages
    German, French, Italian, Romansh
  • Population
    8.8 million (100th)
  • Life Expectancy
    83.2 years (11th)
  • GDP (Nominal)
    $807.4 billion (22nd)
  • GDP/Capita
    $92,063 (7th)
Useful Data
For more details visit Cost of Living
  • Cost of Living
    Extreme (7/7)
  • Climate
    Comfortable (2/5)
  • Safety
    The Safest (1/7)
  • Pollution
    Very clean (1/5)
  • English Proficiency
    High (2/5)

Sovereign Global Explorer

Benefiting from over a decade of our team’s boots-on-the-ground experience, Global Explorer is where your international journey begins.

Articles featuring Switzerland

Trends & News

Switzerland ends neutrality, joins the War on Deflation

December 22, 2014 Santiago, Chile I want you to imagine this nightmare scenario for a moment. You walk into the grocery store and head down the aisles, family in tow, procuring your normal ration of foodstuffs for the fortnight. Something doesn’t make sense. Aisle after aisle you wander, the same sneaking suspicion tugging away at […]

Switzerland
Trends & News

Switzerland bucks the trend, refuses to jump off the cliff

May 21, 2014 Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile Growing up, you might have heard your mother say at some point,“If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” It’s that age-old lesson about peer pressure. Parents always want their children to think independently, and not do what everyone else thinks is cool. […]

Podcast

This idyllic valley in Switzerland could soon change the world…

Zug, Switzerland July 24, 2015 I’m sitting here on a park bench with my friend and colleague Johann Gevers overlooking an absolutely serene lake in Zug, Switzerland. With the elegant and imposing mountains behind, it’s as quintessentially Swiss as you can get. Johann is the founder of Monetas, an advanced digital transaction platform that could […]

Trends & News

Why this place is becoming the new Switzerland

Reporting from Sydney, Australia Switzerland is the place that has traditionally stood above all the rest in its reputation for financial stability. Why? Because the currency was well-managed, the banking system was sound, and the country had a long tradition of treating capital well. Over the last few years, however, these advantages have collapsed. Switzerland […]

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