How to Move to Switzerland from the USA

If you are looking to move, you should consider all options available. It only makes sense to relocate to the most desirable country in the world: Switzerland. It is the home of the most beautiful lakes, the Swiss Alps, and delectable Lindt chocolates. Not only that, but it boasts a low crime rate, is impeccably clean, and perfectly picturesque.

Keep in mind that the cost of moving to Switzerland does tend to run on the expensive side, so it does offset the high salaries. Regardless, moving to Switzerland is still one of the most sought-after locations globally.

Before moving to Switzerland from the US, it helps to become more acquainted with the country, so you know what to expect. For instance, areas in the country are known as cantons. The capital of Switzerland is Bern, and the largest city is Zurich. Both cities are set within the northern German-speaking region.

Meanwhile, the western part of the country is French-speaking. Within this area, you will find the multicultural Geneva and scenic Lausanne. South of the country is Lugano, where you will discover Italian-speaking residents. It is not a requirement to speak the native dialect but taking lessons isn’t a bad idea if you are looking to integrate more easily with the locals when you move.

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  • How much will your move cost?: This cost calculator will provide an immediate calculation of what your move should cost. Just plug in your moving dates, the size of your move, where you’re moving to/from, and let the calculator do the rest.
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  • Best car shippers: Moving your car? Use a company that prioritizes professionalism, cares for your vehicle, and is experienced.

How Much Does it Cost to Move from USA to Switzerland?

Home Size Moving Company Moving Container Freight Company Truck Rental
Studio/1 Bedroom $1,680-$5,840 $1,923-$2,429 $1,520-$2,160 $1,093-$1,509
2-3 Bedrooms $2,200-$8,050 $2,422-$3,650 $2,185-$3,180 $1,142-$1,763
4+ Bedrooms $3,885-$10,300 $3,273-$4,134 $2,850-$3,600 $1,444-$1,949

*Pricing above does not include gas, tolls, lodging, and other related moving expenses.

How to move to Switzerland

For any Americans moving to Switzerland from the US, you should know that the country does not fall under the EU, but some policies have been adopted. This allows EU citizens to live and work in Switzerland just as long as they have a residence permit.

Individuals who have not already obtained a work contract before moving are permitted to seek employment for a period of up to three months. However, this can be extended to six months. Any citizen outside the EU is mandated to have a guaranteed work contract and permit before moving to Switzerland. To become a citizen of Switzerland, you need to have resided in the country for a minimum of 10 years.

To live in Switzerland long-term, you have to apply for a residence permit. Nonetheless, before a residence permit and depending on your nationality, you will need to apply for a Switzerland long-stay visa. This is also known as a national or D-visa.

Switzerland’s long stay visas are issued to third-country nationals moving to Switzerland to work, study or be with family. This process is different from the Swiss Schengen Visa, which only permits stays of up to 90 days.

The types of Switzerland long stay visas include the following.

Switzerland Study Visas

Individuals can apply for a Swiss study visa if they pursue their studies in Switzerland and have been accepted to a Swiss educational institution before moving to Switzerland.

Switzerland Work Visas

If you want to be allowed to work in Switzerland legally, you must apply for a Swiss work visa.

Switzerland Family Reunion Visas

Anyone can apply for a Swiss family reunion visa if they have a family member who is a Switzerland resident or citizen and they want to move there to join them.

All conditions of acquiring a type of visa depend on the purpose of travel. To apply for a Switzerland National visa, you must fill out the application form and complete the document file. For the application, you have to download it and fill it in.

Also, before submitting your application, you have to schedule an appointment at your country’s Swiss representation. The document file will change depending on your reason for obtaining a long-stay visa.

The following conditions must be met for a Swiss long-stay visa:

  • Three completed, signed, and dated application forms in either German, French, Italian, Spanish, or English
  • Valid passport with a minimum of two blank pages
  • Four pictures

Every document you submit must be triplicated and translated in either English or Switzerland’s official languages, such as German, French, Italian, or Romansh. Once you have submitted your application for moving to Switzerland, the Swiss representation in your country will forward it to the cantonal migration office in Switzerland. If you are authorized to live in Switzerland, you will receive a visa.

How to move your things from the US to Switzerland

Two of the most common and efficient ways to move from the US to Switzerland are freight or air. With the proper planning, you can be prepared for your move. An international moving company arranges to send you a container to your current home to move by freight effectively. Only when the container is packed with all the household belongings will a trucker pick it up and transport the container to the port.

Through research, you will find that most international moving companies offer door-to-door and door to port services. Moving items via sea freight allows you to pick between two shipment options: Full Container Load and Less Container Load.

If you plan to move to Switzerland from the US by air freight, although it is the less common option between the two, it is usually more expensive. There is a limitation on the weight of the items too.

Planes can only hold so much cargo. However, many will vouch and say that shipping via air freight is well worth the high prices and space limitations. Shipping by air is much faster than shipping by sea freight.

Why do people want to live in Switzerland?

In general, life in Switzerland, compared to any other country, is better for higher living standards, higher pay, lower taxes, public transportation, a better work-life balance, and more.

Higher standards of living

Cities, food, and houses are all quality in Switzerland. Crime rates are extremely low, so you can rest assured that you will be safe no matter what part of the country you choose to reside.

Higher pay and lower taxes

Switzerland’s wages are higher than most countries, and on top of that, taxes are relatively lower.

Public transportation options and travel opportunities

With a prime location right in the middle of Europe, Germany is an hour away while France and Italy are 2 hours away. Everywhere else is easily accessible by flight in a manner of a few hours. Trains are always on time, and transportation between intracity and intercity is exceptional.

Since Switzerland is a part of the Schengen treaty, even though it isn’t part of the European Union, citizens without visas can still explore freely in the EU if they are working in Switzerland.

Better work-life balance

Residents of Switzerland work to live there. The 8 am-5 pm work schedule culture is considered normal. People do not work on evenings or weekends either. This applies to any job in an office, at a general store, shopping mall, and more. For example, the entire city of Zurich closes at 7 pm on weekends and opens only until 4 pm on Saturdays. Everything is closed on Sundays.

Education opportunities

When you compare Switzerland’s education to the United States, you will find that there is almost free education even with undergrad studies in Switzerland. In the United States, undergraduate studies can cost nearly a fortune; Swiss universities charge around 500 CHF or approximately $548 in United States currency.

Beautiful and clean scenery

Switzerland cares immensely about the environment. For instance, air conditioners are frowned upon, if not altogether forbidden. Even if summer temperatures reach a scorching 90 degrees Fahrenheit, fans and open windows are presently the most common cool-down options. The country is also working on a rail tunnel to cut back on the number of trucks on the road.

Food and Culture

A benefit of moving to Switzerland from the US lies within the food and culture-specific to the country. Swiss chocolate is second to none, and you can find a great selection of Italian, French, and German food there.

What are some of the best places to move to in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s most famous cities include Zurich, Geneva, Bern, Winterthur, Lausanne, and Basel. Switzerland’s leading business destination is Zurich, and it is a true powerhouse while being the home to many international companies. Nightlife, culture, and history all contribute to the Zurich environment.

Geneva is most often referred to as the world’s smallest metropolis. It is the home of the European seat of the UNO and International Red Cross headquarters. It boasts a more multicultural environment than Zurich. The city has plenty to offer with connections to the rest of Europe, and the entire world is very accessible.

If you are looking more for the stereotypical cabin with red geraniums in window boxes, you can turn to the city of Bern if you are planning on moving to Switzerland. Bern is the best city to have a picturesque experience. All important political decisions go through Bern as well.

The city has a reputation as a quieter area for those who want a more small-town feel than the urban brawl. With its appropriate size, there is a lot within walking distance which bodes well for residents and eliminates the need to plan a long commute every day for work.

In Winterthur, the population is about 100,000. It is the sixth-largest city in Switzerland. The city is located in the canton of Zurich and is most famous for education and culture. Winterthur has lower rental prices than Zurich and Bern too.

The cities of Lausanne and Basel are not to be forgotten either. Lausanne is popular for families with younger children. It is located on Lake Geneva and close to the mountains, although smaller and quieter than Geneva. The crime rate is very low, which allows for a more approachable housing market.

Basel is a university town and considered Switzerland’s cultural capital. The city of Basel is small and cozy but offers a lot of industry and trade between Germany and France. There are many ways to relax and take walks along its shores.

Moving to Switzerland: FAQs

Can I live in Switzerland as a US citizen?

Not without a visa. You must apply for a long-stay visa, acquire a relevant residence permit, and then apply for permanent residence.

How much money do I need to move to Switzerland?

It costs, on average, $3,400 to move to Switzerland from the United States.

Can I move to Switzerland without a job?

No, in order to have a residence permit approved, you must have a job offer in hand. The job must be one that cannot be performed by a Swiss national.

How do I move to Switzerland with my family?

You will need to have a job offer for a job that cannot be performed by a Swiss national and then the entire family needs to go through the same steps outlined above.

What is the weather like in Switzerland?

The weather in Switzerland can be described as moderate throughout the year. This means that there is little humidity, and no excessive cold or heat.

Consider a move to Switzerland from the USA

When you rank Switzerland against the rest of the world, it tends to top the polls. For reasons such as appropriate work-life balance, a naturally clean environment, and high quality of life, it would be tough to turn down the opportunity to move there. Research and data suggest that Switzerland was top in a survey of the happiest countries in the world.

It is a neutral country for those who want to get away from the hostilities of the rest of the world, so many feel it is a safe and peaceful haven to reside. If you look beyond the high cost of living, you will see that the average personal monthly disposable incomes are far higher than the rest of the world. It may not be the cheapest place to live, but it appears that the country’s other benefits far outweigh this notion.

If you plan to move to Switzerland from the US, be sure to do your research, properly plan, and take all the necessary steps to ensure a smooth transition from one country to another. The better prepared you are, the better your chances are for an easy and successful move.

It can be daunting and overwhelming, but with the right strategies, you need not worry. Residents of Switzerland will warmly welcome you with open arms, and you will be on your way to a completely different lifestyle.

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