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  • Notes from the Federal Palace

Living and working abroad

20.03.2019 – FDFA

Emigrating to a new country is no walk in the park. Moving abroad requires a great deal of preparation.

This is why the Consular Directorate of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) has set up a website that summarises the things you need to bear in mind when planning your exit from Switzerland. Students, employees and pensioners can go online to access numerous guides and country-specific dossiers as well as a dedicated checklist. The website is also a useful source of information for Swiss who already live abroad – especially those who are planning to return to Switzerland.


You can go online to learn about the many different steps that you need to take before and during the process of emigrating to a new country – such as liaising with your local registration authority, or handling taxes, AHV/IV, health insurance, and formalities related to entry and stay.
Resources include guides related to travel abroad, emigration, retirement abroad, learning a language and studying abroad, working and searching for jobs abroad, and much more besides. Dossiers on the EU, the USA, Thailand and 18 other countries are also available.
If you are still unable to find the information you require, you can call or email the FDFA helpline free of charge. The Swiss representations abroad can also assist you.



With the advent of online services and social networking tools, it is becoming ever easier for expatriates to maintain and strengthen links to their native country.
Useful interfaces include the websites of various federal departments of the federal administration as well as newsletters and social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) of numerous Swiss representations abroad.

The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) publishes the “Swiss Review”, a website and a newsletter in addition to running the platform. OSA brings together a network of Swiss expatriate associations that offer a variety of events and information to their members.



Planning your return to Switzerland requires just as much thought as emigrating abroad. Essentially, it is the same procedure in reverse. Particularly people who have been away from their native country for many years need to be aware of this.
The “Returning to Switzerland” guide provides useful advice on looking for jobs in Switzerland and contains general information about the repatriation process.

“Returning to Switzerland” guide > Living abroad > Publications and statistics > Returning