Posted workers in Switzerland


I. Introduction

Are you planning to work in Switzerland for a short period? Or perhaps you need to post workers from your company to Switzerland for a project? This brochure provides a general overview of the formalities involved.

In particular, it covers:

  • posted workers, i.e. situations where an employer based abroad sends staff to carry out work in Switzerland in the company’s own name and on its behalf;
  • self-employed service providers, i.e. self-employed foreign nationals whose companies are based abroad, and who provide services in Switzerland without establishing a presence in the country;
  • employees and self-employed workers who take up residence in Switzerland for a short period, generally of less than a year (short-term work).

It is important to note from the outset that regulations in this area are relatively complex. We strongly recommend that you seek specialist advice. In addition, breaches of these rules carry heavy penalties under Swiss law (fines, operating bans, etc.).

Lastly, it is important to make a distinction between companies based in an EU/EFTA member state (and the nationals of these states respectively) and companies based in third countries.

II. Purpose of the stay

The first thing to consider is whether any particular permission is required for the activity you are planning to carry out and if it falls within the specific regulations governing foreign nationals’ entry into Switzerland and residence in the country. In fact, you are only required to complete the notification procedure or obtain a work permit if you will be taking up a working activity in Switzerland, and not just attending a business meeting (a visa may always be required to enter the country).

The following, for instance, are not classed as working activities in their own right:

  • Taking part in seminars, presentations or workshops, so long as you are not involved in presenting them;
  • Sending staff (for example a buyer) to a supplier’s head office in Switzerland to be trained on the use of equipment purchased;
  • Promoting products or services at social gatherings (informal networking);
  • Holding executive internal meetings (of managers, etc.);
  • Negotiating and signing contracts;
  • Making preliminary visits with a view to posting workers;
  • Simply delivering goods.

However, the following are considered to be working activities:

  • Taking part in a conference as a speaker and not just as a participant;
  • Performing maintenance work on a machine;
  • Delivering and assembling equipment or machines;
  • Undertaking any activity with the intention of recruiting new clients (presentations of products or services, sales negotiations, taking part in exhibitions, etc.);
  • Carrying out preliminary work towards contracts (for example, taking measurements);
  • Undertaking an audit or internship within a company;
  • Attending company board meetings;
  • Training company staff;
  • Meeting with customers to plan or progress projects.

Please note that these lists give examples only. Certain grey areas remain. In all instances, it is important to take a restrictive, case-by-case approach. If there is any doubt, you should assume that the activity in question is a working activity requiring notification or a work permit in Switzerland.

Lastly, the following criteria may be useful in deciding whether an activity is a working activity or not:

  • Scope of activity: is the individual carrying out productive work?
  • The duties of the individual: if the tasks that an individual carries out in Switzerland are those laid down in the company’s specifications, then it is likely that they are carrying out a working activity in the country (business as usual).
  • The duration of the presence in Switzerland and the frequency of visits: for example, if a person travels to the same company in Switzerland regularly and stays for several weeks, it is highly likely they are carrying out a working activity.
  • Place of work, for example, whether the posted worker has a dedicated office in which to carry out the tasks entrusted to them.

III. Working in Switzerland as an EU/EFTA national

A. Introductory remarks

The Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP; RS signed between the European Union and Switzerland entered into force on 1 June 2002, as did the Ordinance on the introduction of the free movement of persons (OFMP; RS 142.203).

In principle, the beneficiaries of this agreement have the right to enter Switzerland and live in the country for the purpose of carrying out gainful activity. To exercise this right, theoretically they simply need to sign a contract of employment with an employer in Switzerland or set up in the country as a self-employed worker.

An agreement identical to the AFMP came into force with the states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) on the same date. The AFMP is now complemented by three protocols to introduce new member states. (The most recent, which came into force on 1 January 2017, covers Croatia. Transitory provisions do however apply to this country, until 31 December 2023 at the latest.)

The AFMP and its protocols apply to nationals of European member states and to members of their families regardless of nationality so long as the conditions for family reunification are met, and to posted workers under certain conditions (see below).

The internal provisions of the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals (FNA; RS 142.20) and its enforcement regulations (for example the Ordinance on Admission, Period of Stay and Employment (ASEO; RS 142.201)) apply only in certain instances: when the FNA offers a more favourable legal status, and the AFMP and its protocols do not provide otherwise.

B. Short-term gainful activity in Switzerland

Subject to the exceptions listed below, EU 27/EFTA nationals require a residence permit (which also serves as a work permit) to carry out gainful activity in Switzerland.

Depending on the intended duration of the activity, the authorities will issue either: for durations of more than 364 days, a permit B (five-year residence permit with opportunity to extend) or, for durations of 364 days or less, a permit L (short-term residence permit). In theory, this permit is granted automatically on presentation of an employment declaration or a work certificate (for example a contract of employment showing the duration of the employment and the employment basis). A criminal record certificate can only be requested in isolated cases, and for a specific reason.

Foreign nationals must register their arrival with their commune of residence and apply for a residence permit within 14 days of arriving in Switzerland, and before beginning work. They can begin work as soon as the application has been submitted.

It is important to note that the short-term EU/EFTA residence permit can be extended to cover a total stay of 12 months and no more (364 days maximum). There are however no restrictions on renewing short-term residence permits (EU/EFTA permit L), because there are no quotas in place for EU 27/EFTA nationals.

The same formalities apply to self-employed workers, but they are required to submit a number of specific documents to prove that they are actually carrying out a gainful activity (proof of initial capital, Commercial Register entry if applicable, etc.). However, self-employed workers cannot actually begin work until their permit has been granted (they are generally issued a permit B, valid for five years subject to checks by the authorities). In addition, they are required to prove that they possess sufficient financial means not to have to rely on Swiss social security benefits.


However, under the AFMP, it is possible to carry out gainful activity for a Swiss employer for up to three months or 90 days per calendar year via a simple notification procedure (see below for details). In such a case, no permit is issued. Notification must be filed on the day before work begins at the latest, regardless of the business sector. In this case, there is no requirement to specify the gross hourly rate paid to the employee, as would be necessary for a posted worker. In addition, the ninety-day period is calculated per employee only (see below for details), which means that each contract of employment for each employee concerned can last a maximum of three months in each calendar year.

Croatian nationals (EU-28) are currently subject to restrictions (annual quotas, etc.). The employer in Switzerland must apply for a residence permit in advance. For self-employed workers, residence permits are initially valid for 6 months only (during this period, the worker is required to prove that their activity is genuine and will continue long-term).

In addition, Croatian workers need a residence permit from the first day that they take up employment, even if they are employed by a Swiss company for less than three months. Consequently, they cannot benefit from the notification procedure because their access to the labour market is subject to a prior decision by the cantonal labour market authorities (priority given to Swiss nationals and resident foreign nationals already on the Swiss labour market, verification of salary and working conditions, and in principle, a highly skilled worker criterion).

The authorities systematically check whether workers from Croatia are being afforded the same pay and conditions as those enjoyed by Swiss nationals and resident foreign nationals in the area. They base their decision on legal provisions and the salary and working conditions for a comparable post in the same company and the same branch. They take into account experience and knowledge from committees specialising in employment law (Tripartite committees (TPC) and Joint commissions (JC)) in the relevant sector.

A check is also made that priority has been given to Swiss nationals and resident foreign nationals already on the Swiss labour market as part of the prior decision process. Employers are required to prove that they have made efforts to recruit a Swiss national or foreign national already on the labour market and have been unable to fill the position.

They are also required to give the regional employment offices sufficient notice of vacant positions which they believe can only be filled by Croatian workers. In addition, they must provide proof that they have advertised the positions in the daily and/or trade press, on digital media or via a private recruitment agency.

The highly skilled worker criterion (article 23 FNA) does not apply to residence permits valid for more than four months.

In addition, permits granted to Croatian nationals who work in Switzerland for four months (120 days) per year or less are not in theory counted towards the quotas. The other conditions do however apply. If the worker is unskilled, quotas apply.


Lastly, since 1 June 2017 quotas have been reintroduced for EU/EFTA permit Bs issued to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals (both employed and self-employed workers). This does not currently apply to EU/EFTA permit Ls. This restriction is valid for a year with the option to extend until 31 May 2019 at the latest. (It results from the application of a safeguard clause limiting permits to 996 per year, calculated per quarter.) The “first come, first served” principle applies, but the rules on pay and working conditions and giving priority to Swiss nationals and foreign nationals already on the local labour market do not.


Permit G (for cross-border commuters) is issued to EU/EFTA nationals, both employed and self-employed workers, who live in an EU/EFTA country and work in Switzerland. They must return to their main home outside Switzerland at least once a week (and they must register with their commune of residence if they live in Switzerland during the week). For employment contracts of between three months and one year, the permit granted will be valid until the end of the contract (a notification procedure is in place for contracts of less than three months.). For employment contracts lasting one year or more, a five-year cross-border permit is issued. Cross-border commuters can live in any EU/EFTA state and work anywhere in Switzerland. Specific conditions apply to Croatian nationals.

C. Cross-border service provision (posted workers)

Full freedom to provide services does not apply between Switzerland and EU member states in the same way that it does within the EU internal market.

In particular, restrictions are in place for financial services (banking, collective investment schemes, insurance, etc.), job placement and staff leasing services by legal entities based abroad and authorisation is required (from, for example, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) or the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority financiers (FINMA) in addition to the residence permit issuing authorities).

In certain cases, such activities are simply banned: for example, management companies based abroad are not authorised to lease workers to Swiss companies, either directly or indirectly. This situation causes certain issues, for example as regards the provision of services within a group of companies. To determine whether a situation is classified as a staff leasing service (article 12 paragraph 2 of the Federal law on employment and staff leasing services, LES, RS 823.11) or simply a posted worker (article 1 paragraph 1 letter b of the Posted Workers Act, PWA, RS 823.20), the most important thing to look at is who has the right to give instructions to the worker during the project. A staff leasing service is provided when an employer makes its staff available to third parties to carry out a project without having any power to manage them. Unlike posted workers, leased staff do not act in the name of and on behalf of their employer. So, staff leasing within a group is only possible on an occasional basis or in an isolated case where the aim is for the staff member to gain professional, linguistic or other experience, or for the purpose of transferring knowledge within the group (article 28 paragraph 1 of the Ordinance on employment services, OSE, RS 823.111).


The partial lifting of restrictions on the provision of services provided for in the AFMP covers, among other aspects:

  • The provision of services by a self-employed citizen of an EU/EFTA member state for a limited period of time without establishing a presence in Switzerland;
  • The posting of workers by a company based in an EU/EFTA member state, for the purpose of providing services in Switzerland temporarily. In such cases, the workers concerned always remain subject to a contract of employment binding them to their employer and their own country’s social security system;
  • The provision of service in Switzerland to a citizen of an EU/EFTA member state who has come to Switzerland as a recipient of that service (e.g. tourists, persons seeking medical treatment in Switzerland or in Switzerland on a study visit).

The AFMP does not give service providers a general right to enter and stay in Switzerland for the purpose of providing services. The following distinction must however be made:


  1. Services covered by or soon to be covered by special service agreements between Switzerland and the EU/EFTA (for example, the Agreement on Public Procurement, the Overland Transport Agreement or the Air Transport Agreement);
  2. The provision of services not covered by a specific agreement.

For the first category, the AFMP offers people providing services in application of these agreements a right to enter and stay in the country and entitles them to a permit to cover the duration of the provision of services. Workers in this situation are not counted in the quotas, with the exception of Croatian nationals (if staying for more than four months), even if concretely an authorisation cannot be refused on the grounds that all permits have been issued.

Regarding the second category. EU 27/EFTA service providers do not require a residence permit for a stay of less than three months per calendar year. However, they are required to notify the authorities of their presence. For Croatian nationals, the notification procedure is also exactly as described below (general and special branches, eight-day period, notification on the first day etc.).


1. Provision of services for less than 90 days
a. What are the rules?

 Workers posted by a company based in an EU 27/EFTA country can be of any nationality. However, nationals of third countries must have been admitted permanently to the labour market of an EU/EFTA member state for at least twelve months before being sent to Switzerland. Posted workers can carry out assignments or projects in Switzerland on behalf of their employer for up to three months or 90 days (continuous or not) per calendar year without needing to apply for a residence permit and without the company needing to transfer its base or commercial headquarters to Switzerland. All that is required is online notification (this is a free service; in certain special cases notification can be provided in writing). Under the PWA and its implementing ordinance (Posted Workers Ordinance (PWO, RS 823.201)), pay and working conditions for posted workers must comply with national legislation (see below). Note that additional authorisation from another authority (either federal or cantonal) may be required depending on the sector (e.g. trade police, health police, etc.).

The notification procedure also applies to self-employed service providers who are EU 27/EFTA nationals and whose businesses are based in the EU 27/EFTA.

Service providers based in Croatia who wish to post workers to Switzerland can use the notification procedure if their business falls within the general service branches (the same applies to independent service providers). The following are not considered as general service branches (and consequently authorisation is required from the first day of work):


  • Construction and secondary contract work;
  • Gardening and landscaping;
  • Cleaning in industry;
  • Monitoring and security services.

In these four branches, access to the labour market is subject to priority for Swiss nationals and resident foreign nationals already on the Swiss labour market, quotas, checks on pay and working conditions and the highly skilled worker criterion. Workers in these branches are granted short-term EU/EFTA residence permits following a prior decision by the cantonal labour market authorities.


b. Within what timescales?

Posted workers and self-employed service providers must provide notification at least eight days before starting work, except in special cases (e.g. emergencies).


c. Who should carry out the formalities?

In theory, the foreign employer who is sending workers to Switzerland files the notification. Self-employed service providers do this themselves.

With certain exceptions, separate notification must be provided for each contract and place of work. In addition, all planned working days must be notified, together with the gross hourly rate to be paid to the posted worker (only, this does not apply to self-employed workers).


d. How are the 90 days calculated?

The 90 days are calculated per person and per company, for each calendar year. Consequently, there is no restriction as to the number of workers posted by a company on a single day in 2017; what is important is the number of days any staff member has been posted to Switzerland during the year.

It can be wise to plan worker postings strategically. For example, there is no point in a company wasting its quota for notifications if it knows the worker will be staying in Switzerland for more than 90 days. In this case, it is better to apply for a residence permit directly, rather than beginning with the notification procedure.

Similarly, if a worker has been posted to Switzerland for 90 days (using up their entire quota), they are unable to return to Switzerland to work under the notification procedure for the rest of the calendar year, even if they are no longer working for the same employer.

Notification should be provided for actual working days only.


e. Minimum salary and working conditions

Under the PWA, employers must provide posted workers working in Switzerland with, as a minimum, the pay and working conditions laid down in the Swiss federal acts, Federal Council ordinances, standard employment contracts and collective employment contracts that have been declared generally applicable under Swiss Code of Obligations (CO, RS 220) in the following areas:


  • Minimum pay;
  • Work and rest periods;
  • Minimum annual paid holiday;
  • Occupational health and safety;
  • Protection of pregnant women, women who have recently given birth, children and young people;
  • Equal treatment of men and women.

In certain circumstances, other provisions of the collective employment contracts that have been declared generally applicable also apply to employers who post workers to Switzerland (minimum wages, compulsory contributions to operating costs and CPD, deposits and standard penalties).

In the branches and sectors where there is no minimum wage, pay is to be aligned with the usual salaries in the location, branch or sector.

Lastly, the employer is required to ensure that posted workers have accommodation meeting the usual standards of hygiene and comfort. This can be calculated either based on the expenses actually incurred by the employee or by using a flat rate (order of magnitude: CHF 190 per day including meals).

Certain exemptions apply, for example for minor work (15 days per company per calendar year).

Minimum pay can be calculated online (employers can consult the Directives to compare wages paid to their employee with the Swiss equivalents) and there is also a search facility for current collective employment contracts. There are specific pay calculators for certain cantons (Geneva, Vaud, Fribourg and Neuchâtel, for example). For other cantons, the Swiss calculator should be used.

Minimum pay and working conditions do not apply to self-employed workers. However, they must be able to provide proof of their status on request, and the notion of self-employment is as laid down in Swiss law. It is possible for someone to be self-employed in their country of origin, and to be considered as an employee under Swiss law. The relevant authorities may carry out checks and the person must be able to produce a number of documents proving that they are self-employed.


f. Exception: the eight-day rule

If work by a posted worker or self-employed service provider lasts less than eight days in total during a calendar year, no notification is required (the eight days can be worked either continuously or separately throughout the year). These eight days count towards the 90 day calculation.

However, in certain sectors notification must be provided on the first day, regardless of the duration of the work. These sectors are:


  • Building construction and civil engineering and secondary contract work;
  • Gardening and landscaping;
  • Hotel, restaurants and catering;
  • Cleaning in industry and private households;
  • Surveillance and security services;
  • Itinerant retailers (with the exception of circuses and fairs);
  • Sex industry.

Of course, service providers from Croatia and self-employed Croatian nationals are required to obtain authorisation from the first day of work in the construction, landscaping, industrial cleaning and surveillance and security services industries.


g. Penalties

Penalties imposed on employers who breach the peremptory provisions of the PWA range from warnings to fines, and can even extend to a ban from operating in the market (for up to five years). In addition, serious breaches are published on an official list online.

Inspectors regularly visit workplaces in the cantons to check that pay and working conditions meet regulations.

These checks are carried out on a sample of workplaces by joint committees (in the branches with collective contracts that have been declared generally applicable), cantonal tripartite committees (in branches with standard employment contracts imposing minimum wages), cantonal labour inspectorates (as regards working hours and hygiene) and the Suva, or Swiss Accident Insurance Fund (for health and safety).


2. Service provision lasting over 90 days
a. What are the rules?

If no specific agreement has been signed between Switzerland and the EU and the service provision lasts more than three months or 90 days, the AFMP does not apply. In such cases, no right to a residence permit exists and an application should be made to the relevant cantonal authorities based on the provisions of the FNA and the ASEO.

The application will be subject to prior labour market verification and the final decision will be made by the migration department (for Geneva, this is the cantonal population office).

For a residence permit to be granted, a number of conditions need to be met, and you should expect the authorities to take a relatively strict approach:


  • Firstly, the cross-border service provision must be in the general economic interest of Switzerland. The current state of the economy and the labour market will be analysed.
    Admitting foreign service providers must not be detrimental to the workers already working on the internal labour market. Consequently, in theory an authorisation will not be granted to a foreign worker if workers with the required qualifications can be found in the local area (for example in the construction or restaurant industries).
    Authorisations will generally be granted if, for example:
    • it is difficult or impossible to find a worker with the relevant professional and technical qualifications for the project in question in the region in question within a reasonable period of time;
    • the project requires rare knowledge;
    • the service provided by the foreign company adds value for the national or regional economy and/or population;
    • the posted service providers have specific qualifications and/or experience which is lacking in the region in question (knowledge transfer, specialised training or qualifications in technical, scientific or service fields and/or areas such as engineering, IT, finance, etc.).
  • Secondly, quotas must not have been reached. As the EFTA is not applicable, self-employed EU/EFTA workers and posted workers whose company head offices are located within the EU/EFTA are subject to maximum quotas.
  • Lastly, wages and working conditions will also be checked. Under the PWA, the posting of foreign workers to Switzerland must not create a situation of wage or social dumping.

When the foreign labour department gives its approval for the application, a work permit (EU/EFTA permit L or B) will be issued by the authorities for the duration of the service authorised and the work can begin. The worker must remain in the job and area listed in the application. The duration of permits issued under the family reunification provision is governed by the duration of the permit issued to the holder of the original residence right. There is no procedure for approval by the federal authorities.

A residence permit can be issued under the quota system following a notification procedure if all the conditions are fulfilled, even if the work is carried out within the same calendar year.


b. Exception

A posted worker or self-employed service provider in Switzerland for a maximum duration of four consecutive months or 120 non-consecutive days within a twelve-month period can obtain a short-term “authorisation L” (it is the actual time spent in Switzerland that is taken into account, and so weekends are counted.). This type of authorisation is not subject to quotas. However, the other conditions listed above must be met (conditions regarding pay, personal qualifications, Switzerland’s economic interests, etc.). In practice, the authority will issue an assurance of a residence authorisation. This serves as a work permit.

As a general rule, the 120-day authorisation cannot be granted as an extension to the notification procedure unless the total duration of the work notified can be taken into account when calculating the total authorised duration without affecting the quotas. The duration of the authorisation will then only relate to the number of days that remain available (120 days less the number of days already used by the service provider that has benefited from the notification procedure).

IV. Working in Switzerland as an EU/EFTA national

A. Introductory remarks

As the AFMP is not applicable to non-EU/EFTA nationals, the provisions of the FNA and its implementation ordinances apply in this case.

Here, we will restrict ourselves to highlighting the differences between the rules for Europeans and those for third-country nationals.

B. Short-term gainful activity in Switzerland

1.  What are the rules?

In theory, authorization is required to take up any gainful activity in Switzerland, regardless of duration. In particular, the notification procedure does not apply.

Like EU/EFTA nationals, third-country nationals receive a permit B (for stays of over one year, initially valid for one year, with the opportunity to extend for two-year periods) or a permit L (for stays of a maximum of one year, with the opportunity to extend to a maximum stay of two years; job changes are only granted for highly significant reasons). A permit G can be granted to third-country nationals under certain strict conditions (in particular, that they have a permanent right of residence in a neighbouring state and they have had their place of residence in the neighbouring border zone for a minimum of six months).

A foreign national can enter Switzerland for the purpose of carrying out salaried gainful activity if they fulfil all the following conditions:

  1. It is in the interest of the economy as a whole to admit them;
  2. Their employer files an application;
  3. The maximum number of residence permits has not been reached (short-term residence permit and residence permit quotas);
  4. It is proven that no suitable domestic employees or citizens of states with which an agreement on the free movement of workers has been concluded can be found for the job (precedence);
  5. The salary and employment conditions customary for the location, profession and sector are fulfilled;
  6. The applicant is a manager, specialist or other qualified worker;
  7. The professional qualifications of the applicant and their professional and social adaptability, language skills and age must also indicate that there is potential for lasting integration in the Swiss job market and the social environment;
  8. Suitable accommodation is available.

Self-employed workers can be admitted if it can be proved that their work will have a lasting positive effect on the Swiss labour market. This is the case, for example, when the new company contributes to the diversification of the regional economy in the branch in question, obtains or creates positions for the local work force, makes substantial investments or generates new contracts for the Swiss economy.


A foreign national holding an authorization to carry out a gainful activity for more than four months in total within a twelve-month period can begin working as soon as they have registered with the migration office of the canton in which they wish to stay (commune, cantonal population office, etc.), so long as no decision to the contrary has been taken.

Short-term residence permits and residence permits are only valid in the canton in which they are issued. Consequently, the worker must obtain a new permit before he changes cantons. Short-term residence permit holders are not permitted to change cantons. Foreign nationals who hold residence permits are permitted to change cantons so long as they are not unemployed, are not reliant on Swiss social security benefits and no reason exists for the permit to be revoked.

People staying in Switzerland for less than a year are not required to provide a national criminal record certificate.

A request to renew a short-term permit can generally be submitted after a one-year break.

2. Exceptions

A trial period (to evaluate a person’s competence for a particular role, unpaid and as part of an evaluation and contract negotiation procedure) can be carried out without authorization so long as it lasts no longer than one half-day and if, given the legal conditions required, it is reasonable to believe a residence permit would be granted. In exceptional cases and on presentation of proof of the reason, the duration can be extended to one full working day. It is important not to confuse a trial for which no authorization is required with the trial period applicable under employment law (article 335 CO).


A permit not subject to quotas can be granted to a foreign national in gainful employment in Switzerland for a maximum of four months (consecutive or non-consecutive) within a twelve-month period. In this case, the foreign national is not required to notify the authorities of their arrival. All the other conditions laid down by the law must be fulfilled (prior decision by the labour market authorities, etc.).

The foreign national must spend at least two months abroad between two permits of this type.

Before arriving in Switzerland, the foreign national will receive a residence permit in addition to permission to enter the country. If the foreigner is only entering the country for one stay of three to four months, they will receive a visa D.


Artists involved in the fields of music, literature, the entertainment industry, the arts, the circus or variety staying in Switzerland for a total of eight months maximum within a twelve-month period can also obtain a residence permit outside the quota system.

These workers are however required to notify the authorities of their arrival as early as possible, and at the latest 14 days after entering Switzerland.


The notification procedure is not open to companies based in third countries, nor to self-employed workers who are not EU/EFTA nationals. A residence permit is required in all cases (compliance with the PWA, Switzerland’s economic interests, quotas, professional qualifications and prior analysis by the foreign labour department).

However, no notification or declaration is required for the cross-border supply of services if the activity is limited to eight days or less in any one calendar year. Visa requirements still apply to persons who are not domiciled within the EU.

Regardless of the duration of the stay, a residence permit and registration on arrival is required before a worker can begin working in any of the following sectors: construction, civil engineering and secondary contract work, hotels, restaurants and catering, cleaning in industry or private households, itinerant retailers, the sex industry, landscaping and grounds maintenance.

Authorization is required for artistic activities lasting less than eight days if the person is employed.

It is important to note that, unlike European companies (see above), for third-country companies the eight days are counted per employee only. For example, if an Italian company sends two employees to Switzerland for four days in 2017, the quota of eight days has been reached. However, if the same company is based in the USA, these two employees can each work in Switzerland for another four days during 2017. EU/EFTA companies are disadvantaged in this respect. This is because the notification procedure is available for them to use.

Lastly, when the duration of the project is four months or less, a short-term residence permit can be granted outside the quota system (see above). Approval must be obtained from both the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) and the labour-market authorities.


Foreign nationals who hold authorization to enter Switzerland for the purpose of providing cross-border services in the country for a total of four months within a twelve-month period are not required to register their arrival.

V. Entry into Switzerland

Nationals of the European Union and the EFTA covered by the AFMP and its protocols require only a valid passport or identity card to enter Switzerland.

Nationals of third countries who provide services in Switzerland based on the provisions of the AFMP and its protocols as posted workers for a maximum of 90 working days per calendar year do not require visas if they hold a valid travel document accompanied by a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen Area country.

When a foreign national enters the country for the purpose of providing services or carrying out gainful activity under the provisions of the FNA and the ASEO, the visa provisions laid down by the Ordinance on Entry and the Granting of Visas (VGO; RS 142.204) apply. As a general rule, any foreign national required to hold a visa must submit an application to the Swiss representation local to where they live. The representation will contact the relevant authority in Switzerland (Confederation or canton) for authorization to issue the visa.

Retour en haut