The following indications apply to Israeli nationals as third-country nationals. In case an Israeli national is also citizen of a EU or EFTA member state, other rules apply.
1. Entry requirements
1.1 Recognized identity document (pass or ID) for crossing the border (a) issued within the previous 10 years and (b) validity for at least 3 months after intended date of departure from the Schengen Area.
1.2 Visa – generally not required for short-term stays (up to 90 days in any 180-days period) of Israeli nationals, but only
for short-term stays (up to 90 days in any 180-days period) in case of the exercise of a gainful occupation (i) exceeding 8 days within 1 year or (ii) in any case in the construction industry, catering and hotel services, cleaning industry, security and surveillance services, erotic services or
for stays of more than 90 days in any 180-days period. (If you plan to exercise a gainful occupation, you need a residence permit from the immigration authorities before a visa is issued.)
Visas are issued by the Swiss diplomatic representations abroad or the cantons.
When a visa is required, a travel medical insurance has to be stipulated with a coverage of at least CHF 30'000 and including coverage for costs for repatriation for medical reasons or death and for urgent medical attention or emergency hospital treatment during the stay in Switzerland. Exceptions: for (i) those who have a travel medical insurance as a result of their professional activities and (ii) those for whom the host or guarantor with domicile/seat in Switzerland has stipulated a travel medical insurance.
1.3 Financial means for the period of stay: It must be ensured that the person entering into Switzerland does not become a burden on the social assistance system. Evidence: proof of own financial resources, bank guarantee or other comparable securities, travel medical insurance, or declaration of sponsorship by the host with domicile or seat in Switzerland (engaging to meet uncovered costs caused by the foreign nationals, incl. costs of living, accident, illness and return trip up to CHF 30'000).
1.4 Not posing a threat to public security and order or to Switzerland’s international relations
1.5 Not being subject to a measure banning them from entry or an order for expulsion from Switzerland the applicable Swiss criminal laws
1.6 Providing a guarantee of leaving Switzerland if only a temporary period of stay is planned
2. Residence permits with gainful employment
2.1 Israeli nationals who intend to exercise a gainful occupation in Switzerland require a permit to work irrespective of the period of stay.
Exceptions: (i) providers of temporary cross-border services in Switzerland for periods below 8 days (counter-exceptions: construction industry, catering and hotel services, cleaning industry, security and surveillance services, erotic services) and (ii) employees of a foreign employer exercising a temporary gainful occupation in Switzerland, in general for periods below 8 days or for periods of maximal 90 days if they are already integrated in the EU/EFTA labor market.
Application: The applicant (in the case of self-employment) or the employer (in the case of salaried employment), respectively, applies for a permit to the competent labor market authority of the relevant canton at the planned place of employment.
Cantonal preliminary decision: The cantonal labor market authority examines the application and makes a preliminary decision according to the following criteria:
• Economy interest: The admission must be in the interest of the economy as a whole.
• Quotas: There must be free availability according to the quotas determined by the Swiss Federal Council for short stay and residence permits, if applicable tothe specific case.
• Personal requirements: The applicant must be a manager, specialist or qualifiedworker. To be considered: prospective integration (based on professionalqualifications, social and professional adaptability, language skills, age, etc.).
Otherwise, the applicant must be an investor and entrepreneur who maintains existing jobs or create new jobs, or a recognized person from the world of science,culture and sport, or a person who is part of an executive transfer betweeninternationally active companies, or a person whose activity in Switzerland is indispensable for economically significant international business relationships.
• Accommodation: The applicant must have a suitable accommodation in Switzerland.
• Precedence (in case of salaried employment): It must be proven that no suitable Swiss/EU/ EFTA citizens or persons with residence permit in Switzerland, can be found for this job. (Note: Foreign nationals with a Swiss university degree
may, however, be admitted if their work is of high academic or economic interest. They shall be temporarily admitted for a period of 6 months after completion of their education or training in Switzerland to find suitable work.)
• Salary and employment conditions (in case of salaried employment): The salary and employment conditions must be customary for the location, profession and sector.
• Financial and operational requirements (in case of self-employment): The necessary financial and operational requirements must be fulfilled so that the applicant does not become a burden on the social assistance system.
Federal consent decision: The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) examines the preliminary decision of the cantonal labor market authority from a federal perspective and may grant its consent and inform the cantonal (labor market and immigration) authorities accordingly.
Visa: In case of consent of the SEM, the cantonal immigration authority authorizes the Swiss diplomatic representations abroad to issue a visa (if needed).
Registration: The applicants can enter into Switzerland with the visa and must register with the competent authority at their place of residence in Switzerland within 14 days upon entry and in any case before they begin employment. (Exception: in general, no registration requirement for foreign nationals with short stay permit of maximal 4 months in a 12-months period.)
2.3 Types of permits
Short stay permit
• is granted for limited periods of stay up to one year;
• is granted only for a specific purpose of stay;
• is subject to quotas and can be subject to conditions;
• can be extended by up to two years totally (condition: same employer); thereafter, a new permit is possible only after 1 year residence abroad;
• withholding taxation applies.
• is granted for limited periods of stay of more than one year;
• is granted only for a specific purpose of stay;
• is subject to quotas, priority to Swiss/EU/EFTA nationals and controls of salary and working conditions; can be subject to conditions. No entitlement / subject to discretionary powers of the immigration authorities;
• can be extended of two years;
• change to self-employment is subject to a specific permit requirement;
• withholding taxation applies.
Permanent residence permit
• is granted for an unlimited duration and without conditions;
• under the prerequisites: (i) uninterrupted residence in Switzerland for a minimum of 10 years, (ii) uninterrupted residence permit for at least 5 years and (iii) no grounds for revocation. No entitlement / subject to discretionary powers of the immigration authorities;
• change to self-employment is not subject to any permit requirement; no labor market restrictions; no withholding taxation.
Cross-border commuter permit (in case an Israeli national has place of residence in a neighbor country) is granted
• for limited periods of stay;
• only for employment in a border zone;
• under the conditions that the commuter (i) has a permanent right of residencein a neighboring state, (ii) has had his/her place of residence for a minimum of 6 months in the neighboring border zone, and (iii) must return to the place of residence abroad at least once a week;
• can be extended for 1 year.
3. Residence permits without gainful employment
3.1 Israeli nationals intending to stay in Switzerland for a period of more than 3 months without gainful employment require a residence permit. (Instead, no residence permit is required for any period of stay of up to three months.)
Application: The applicant (in the case of self-employment) or the employer (in the case of salaried employment), respectively, applies for this permit to the competent immigration authority of the relevant canton at the planned place of residence before entering Switzerland.
Cantonal decision: The cantonal immigration authority examines the application. Admissions are allowed generally only in the following cases:
• Education and training: if (i) the management of the educational establishment confirms that the person concerned is eligible for education or training, (ii) suitable accommodation is available, (iii) the required financial means are available,(iv) the foreign national students fulfil the personal and educational requirements for the planned education or training course and (v) they have a health insurance policy that also includes accident coverage.
• Retired persons: if (i) they have reached a minimum age of 55 years (ii they have special personal relations to Switzerland e.g. longer residence periods, education, employment or close relatives in Switzerland, (iii) they have the required financial means to cover the cost of living in Switzerland so as to ensure that they will not become dependent on welfare benefits and (iv) they have a health insurance policy that also includes accident coverage.
• Medical treatment: if (i) financing and (ii) return are guaranteed and limited to the time extent of the medical treatment and (iii) they have a health insurance policy that also includes accident coverage.
Federal consent decision: The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) examines the preliminary decision of the cantonal migration authority from a federal perspective and may grant its consent and inform the cantonal authority accordingly.
Visa: In case of consent, the cantonal immigration authority authorizes the Swiss diplomatic representations abroad to issue a visa (if needed).
Registration: The applicants can enter into Switzerland with the visa and must register with the competent authority at their place of residence in Switzerland within 14 days upon entry.
3.3 Types of permits: (a) Short stay permit, (b) Residence permit and (c) Permanent residence permit (see section 2 above).
Derogations from the admission requirements in Sections 2 and 3 above are permitted in cases such as (a) family reunification, (b) personal hardship or important public interests, (c) foster children, (d) persons to be protected from exploitation who are particularly at risk in view of their work, (e) victims and witnesses of trafficking in human beings and of persons who are cooperating with the prosecution authorities as part of a witness protection, (f) relief and development projects in the interests of economic and technical cooperation, (g) facilitation of international economic, scientific and cultural exchange as well as basic and continuing professional education and training, (h) simplification of the transfer of senior management staff and essential specialists within internationally active companies, (i) au-pair workers recruited through a recognized organization, (j) readmission of foreign nationals who held a residence or permanent residence permit, (l) employment and participation in employment programs of asylum seekers, temporarily admitted persons and persons in need of protection.
Particularly relevant laws and ordinances:
• Federal Act on Foreign Nationals (FNA), RS 142.20
• Ordinance on admission, residence and gainful employment, RS 142.201