Setting up a business as a foreign national

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More and more entrepreneurs from foreign countries want to become self-employed in Switzerland.

Switzerland has a dual system for granting work permits to foreign workers. Employees from the EU/EFTA area can benefit from the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons.

Permits for people from countries outside the EU/EFTA area - so-called third states - are restricted to highly qualified workforce.

Persons from the EU/EFTA area

All nationals of EU/EFTA Member States may also be self-employed (with specific regulations for nationals of Croatia).

For more information:

Persons from outside the EU/EFTA area

Entrepreneurs from third states who are thus not citizens of an EU/EFTA country and who want to become self-employed in Switzerland have to meet the Swiss labour market requirements. The criteria for admittance are contained in the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals (FNA), the Decree on Admittance, Residence and Employment (VZAE) and the provisions of the FNA and the VZAE.

For more information:

Federal Act on Foreign Nationals (FNA)  

Decree on Admittance, Residence and Employment (VZAE) (in German)

Provisions of the FNA and the VZAE (in German)

Setting up a company as a citizen of a third state

Cross-boarder commuters

Cross-boarder commuters from an EU/EFTA country can set up a company in Switzerland or become self-employed. They need to meet the same requirements as citizens from the EU/EFTA area.

Cross-boarder commuters only receive a commuter permit if they have a permanent residence permit in one of Switzerland's neighbouring countries and have been living in a border zone for at least 6 months. According to the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, these cross-boarder commuters have to return to their domicile in the respective neighbouring country once a week.


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Last modification 27.08.2018

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3003 Bern

 

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State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO

Department SME policy
Holzikofenweg 36
3003 Bern

map of Department SME policy<br/>Holzikofenweg 36<br>
		3003 Bern

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