Switzerland is one of the most popular locations in the world for foreign nationals to seek employment in various sectors, and there are a couple of reasons behind this. Firstly, Switzerland often looks for an international workforce and attracts individuals from all parts of the world for plenty of work opportunities. Second, Switzerland is a multicultural country with four official languages and numerous nationalities, making it much easier for foreigners to cope with cultural and language differences.

Third, and maybe the most important reason, is the high living standards and pleasing salary expectations for many professions in Switzerland, making it highly attractive to move to the country and build your career path during your stay. However, one important factor to acknowledge is to get a work permit to be able to work in Switzerland. Read more to find out the steps for getting a Switzerland work visa.

What Are the Necessary Documents to Submit for a Switzerland Work Visa?

A work visa is mandatory for foreign nationals to be able to work in Switzerland. When applying for a Swiss work visa, applicants are required to submit a series of documents to the government authorities. The type of necessary documents depends on the nationality of the applicant or the type of work he or she wants to perform in Switzerland.

You must have an employer in Switzerland who hired you in a position to be able to apply for the work visa. For non-EU/EFTA nationals, the work visa application documents are generally as follows: an application form, copy of passport, copy of the job advertisement you applied for, confirmation from an appointed employment agent, CV, educational certificates and references, contract of employment, and so on. Applicants must pay for the entry visa fee to complete their Switzerland work visa, which is USD 84,00 per adult.

How Long Is the Processing Time for a Switzerland Work Visa?

Once the applicant is hired for a position in Switzerland, the employer will apply for a work visa on behalf of the applicant. Then, there are authorities at several stages for the employer to inform about the applicant and request approval for the work visa. Once the employer passes the Swiss representation board, the applicant submits the required documents with the visa application fee and completes the visa application. Lastly, the final result of the visa application will be announced to the employee and applicant.

Although there is no officially stated duration of the processing time, the Switzerland work visa will arrive within five months on average. The processing time is also heavily dependent on the applicant’s country of residence and the type of visa applied.

Steps on Applying for a Switzerland Work Visa

Below, we state the essential steps to follow when applying for a Switzerland work visa.

Step 1. Apply for jobs requiring qualified positions in Switzerland

For non-EU/EFTA nationals, a Switzerland work visa is available for only highly qualified individuals, and all applicants must hold a university degree and, ideally, several years of work experience in their profession. The job application process is strictly monitored by the Swiss authorities for the visa procedure, so apply for the professions you are the most competent in and keep in mind that the work permit is given by considering the overall economic interests of Switzerland.

Proficient language skills in German or French will provide you with plenty of work opportunities and create a better image for your work visa application, so it’s best to improve your language skills as early as possible.

Step 2. Sign a contract with your employer to start the visa application

Once you find a job that meets your skills and needs, you must complete your contract with your employer so that he or she can direct your employment to the related authorities and start your Switzerland visa application process.

Your application is screened by the employment or immigration office for an initial decision and to be sent to Admission Labour Market (SEM) for the final decision. Once SEM gives the official decision, the applicant is still unable to enter Switzerland since authorization is needed by the cantonal immigration authority.

Step 3. Prepare the documents

Once SEM and the cantonal immigration authority issue an official permit for employment in Switzerland, the last step is for the applicant to submit the application documents, the application form, and the visa application fee to finalize the work visa application. The application is delivered to the Swiss representative abroad to confirm the applicant’s work permit.

The application form is generally found online at each canton’s website, and the contact information for each cantonal immigration and employment market authorities is available on the State Secretariat for Migration’s website.

Step 4. Wait for the results and contact your employer

After you submit your Switzerland visa application form, you should receive a notice within five months. When you receive your work visa, you can contact your employer and plan for your arrival together. In case you’re having issues with your employer, you should visit www.ch.ch or the cantonal authorities.

Step 5. Visit the competent authority in Switzerland for registration

Once you arrive in Switzerland, you must visit the responsible authority at your place of residence in the country within 14 days of your arrival to complete your registration. You are allowed to work only after completing your registration visit.

What Are the Top In-Demand Jobs in Switzerland?

Switzerland is generally open for many types of employment, yet some of the most popular and in-demand jobs you might consider are usually doctors, nurses, lawyers, electricians, software engineers, and more.

You can visit the Regional Employment Centres (RAV) to browse employment options and apply for the ones that meet your qualifications and interests.


Working in Switzerland can be a privilege or a long-term goal for many skillful individuals, and with careful and correct steps, you can make your career goals come true and enjoy living in the world’s most livable countries. Switzerland’s strong economy will allow you to live in comfort and benefit from higher salary ranges.


We hope that this article on how to get a work visa in Switzerland was helpful! If you are interested in studying in Europe, you can start by checking out the Available Courses in Europe and explore more study options on the Switzerland Page.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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