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Retiring to Switzerland

Dancing pensioners
(Keystone)

Low taxes, beautiful scenery, excellent health care: these are just a few of the reasons people come to Switzerland to retire. Here's what you need to know.

EU/EFTA nationals wishing to retire in Switzerland will be granted residence permits if they have sufficient financial resources to cover themselves as well as family members. They must also be covered in Switzerland with health and accident insurance.

They will have to register with the cantonal migration officeexternal link as a non-employed person. The corresponding EU/EFTA residence permit will remain valid for a period of five years. An extension of five further years will be automatically granted if they continue to fulfil the conditions. After ten years they can apply for Swiss citizenship (although conditions vary).

The situation is less clear for Britons wanting to see out their days in Switzerland. The Swiss government has said it wants to introduce limits on the number of Britons who could live and work in Switzerland in the event of a no-deal Brexit on March 29. These quotas would last from March 30-December 31. After that, no one knows. Brits already in Switzerland should not be affected.

Citizens of other countries may retire in Switzerland if they are over 55; have close connections with Switzerland (for example, frequent stays, family members in the country, past residency); no longer pursue gainful employment in Switzerland or abroad; transfer the centre of their interests to Switzerland; and have the necessary financial resources. In addition, they will need health and accident insurance covering all risks in Switzerland. Owning property in Switzerland is not necessarily enough to establish “close ties”.

For more on retiring in Switzerland, contact the cantonal immigration authoritiesexternal link or see this resource pageexternal link.

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