I am a non-EU resident currently living in Germany. In addition, I hold a biometric passport that allows me to stay in EU+Switzerland for 3 months per 180 days without having a residence permit.

I have a Swiss work contract that starts at some point. I arrive in Switzerland for a business trip well before the starting date. I do not have a Swiss entry visa, particularly because I am out of time before the starting date. But, according to VEV Art. 9, third-country nationals with a valid and recognized travel document as well as a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen member state or a valid type D visa issued by a Schengen state are exempt from visa requirements, so I may apply for the Swiss permit before the German contract

  1. Can I apply for the Swiss permit before the starting date, just to make things faster?

  2. Next, let us assume that, for some reason, I was not able to apply for the permit before the expiration date of my German permit. Would it cause any problems?

  • Which canton? I don't suppose the rules are different, but the application is actually handled by cantonal authorities, so it might have a bearing on the interpretation.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 25 at 12:30
  • @phoog : Geneva. Commented Jun 25 at 14:10

1 Answer 1


If you have a valid Schengen visa, you can basically enter and leave Switzerland as you like. Passports are not stamped on entry or exit, so customs can't really check how long you stay where within any Schengen state (including Switzerland). If you travel by land (car, train), it's even very rare that you have to show your passport and/or travel documents at all.

Since you want to work in Switzerland, you primarily need a work permit, which is much harder to get than the residence permit. But: Your future employer needs to act here and apply for these papers. Since you are not an EU citizen, the empolyer needs to proove that you're the perfect guy for that job and no Swiss or EU citizen could be found for it. And also, he needs to show that you're being payed a fair wage. This is to prevent so called "Lohndumping" (employing foreign workers for cheap). How hard this is for the employer depends on the type of job you're seeking and on the (un)employment rate in that sector.

After your new employer sends you a copy of the work permit, it should be easy to use this to apply for a residence permit (if that's not included, anyway - not sure).

TL;DR Talk to your future employer and ask for any actions you need to take. He will need to do most of the applications (or at least provide the relevant documents).

  • Thanks! Once I settle this residence permit issue, I will have no problem getting the work permit. The employer's visa service told me that I may apply with my German residence permit (provided that it is active). Commented Jun 25 at 14:52
  • I never had to apply for a permit myself, but I heard rumors that you need a work permit to get a residence permit and a residence permit to get a work permit... so to avoid nasty surprises, start the process as early as possible.
    – PMF
    Commented Jun 25 at 18:23

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