New in Zürich
Over 380,000 people from more than 160 countries currently live in our small city on the shores of Lake Zürich. Around one third of its residents are not Swiss. Switzerland's biggest city is in constant flux as an average of 40,000 to 45,000 people move to or from Zürich every year.
Entry and registration
All citizens of foreign countries, besides meeting the terms of the entry and visa process (VEV), must hold a valid travel document recognised by Switzerland.
In certain cases a visa may be required. EU/EFTA citizens need a passport or identity card.
An overview of ID and visa rules by nationality you find on the Website of the Federal Office for Migration.
A stay in Switzerland is in all cases subject to approval, except for tourist stays of max. 90 days within 6 months.
From your arrival in Zürich, you have fourteen days to register at the district office responsible for your living area. Foreign citizens require a valid passport and/or identity card, a passport photo, and if available, a foreigner's identity card. Holders of a tourist visa do not have to register within these terms.
For further information go to the City of Zürich's district offices.
The right of residence in Switzerland is regulated by federal law. The Migration Office of the Canton of Zürich is responsible for applying the law, granting the requested entry and residence permits after review.
Migration Office of the Canton of Zürich
Information by phone:
Moday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 noon - 1 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.
Phone: +41 (0)43 259 88 00
The Office for Cross-Cultural Issues of the City of Zürich supports new residents with a broad range of information, course offers and personal advice.
The Welcome Desk provides expert answers to questions about work, permits, education, leisure, health cover, childcare, cultural offers, insurance and living from Monday to Thursday 2 - 6 p.m. (No appointment is necessary.)
For detailed personal advice regarding residence and work permit issues, recognition of qualifications, further education offers, the school system, childcare etc. phone
+41 (0) 44 412 37 37 to make an appointment. Interpreters are available if required.
Do you want to learn or improve your German? From Monday to Thursday 2 - 6 p.m. (or by arrangement on +41 (0) 44 412 37 37), the Office for Cross-Cultural Issues provides information about the best German language course for you.
Working in Zürich
Switzerland has a dual system when it comes to approving foreign workers. People from EU/EFTA states benefit from the personal mobility agreement. All others are restricted to executives, specialists and qualified workers.
The Office for Economy and Labour is responsible for issuing work permits for the City and Canton of Zürich.
Contact the Website of the Office for Economy and Labour of the Canton of Zürich.
Applications for a work permit can also be made online. (Page only available in German)
Tax liability in the City of Zürich begins on taking up residence or employment. Foreign workers who do not have a permanent residence permit pay a withholding tax.
Children in the Canton of Zürich must attend school for 11 years. Schooling is divided into nursery (2 years), primary school (6 years) and upper school (3 years).
In the City of Zürich the school year begins after the summer holidays (week 4). Children are registered for nurseries, schools and school care centres through the Schools Council.
Find your School Council here.