Housing & Mobility

How do you go about finding a house or an apartment? What do you need to consider when hiring domestic workers? Where do you have to exchange your foreign driving licence? We are happy to assist you.


  • Fact

    Housing advertisement: Will now only be published on Twitter (@ _IBWD). We will be happy to forward you offers on request.

  • Purchasing Property or Land
    • The requirements for buying property or land depend, among other things, on your nationality and whether you are already a resident of Switzerland. For detailed information, please contact the municipality where you want to purchase property or land.

    • Special conditions apply to individuals with privileged status. They are asked to contact the FDFA Protocol (bilateral) or the Protocol service of the Mission of Switzerland in Geneva (multilateral) for further information.

    • The International Bern Welcome Desk has a network of actors in the real estate industry and can help you if you are interested in buying property.
  • Rental Accommodation

    We recommend that you have personally inspected the property, as the contract often cannot be terminated in the first 12 months. If it is not possible to inspect the property before your arrival in Switzerland, we recommend that you take a temporary, furnished apartment for the first few months.

  • Important Information
    • The best strategy is to set up a search alert so that you will receive regular offers (weekly, daily or as soon as the property is advertised) that match your criteria.

    • Protect yourself from scams! Do not make any payments before you have had the offer verified and signed the contract.

    • BWO: Brochure Living in Switzerland (in 19 languages)
    • City of Bern: Flyer Rules for peaceful coexistence (in 12 languages)
  • Temporary and Fournished Accomodation

    Certain landlords of temporary rental properties issue a lease contract which enables registration with the city. Registration with the city is required to open a bank account or to sign a telecom contract.

    • Mohnhaus: Centrally located furnished apartments in the old town. According to the size, suitable for 1-2 persons (plus 1 child) and for a stay of 1-2 months (in exceptional cases shorter or longer).

    • Stay Kooook Wankdorf: In the neighbourhood Wankdorf, brand new and fully equipped studios for up to 5 persons. Minimum stay of 6 days.

    • Stay Kooook Bern City: Brand new (open December 2022).

    • Alpenblick Bern: Brand new business apartments with kitchenette, in the Breitenrain neighbourhood, close to Bea Expo. Ideal for 1-4 persons. No minimum or maximum stay.

    • Harry's Home: Longstay apartments (incl. connectable apartments) in the new hotel opened in 2022. Just outside Bern right next to the train station (9 min direct train to Bern main station).

    • Glandon: Modern serviced apartments in Gümligen and Wabern, ideal for 1-2 persons. Minimum duration: 1 month (no maximum duration of stay).

    • B20: Modern serviced apartments in Bern-Brünnen, a five-minute walk from the Westside shopping center. The rental offer can be supplemented with various other services as desired in a modular way. Minimum length of stay is 1 month, maximum is 1 year.

    • Lo52: Modern living in the Lorraine neighbourhood.

    • UMS: Temporary furnished apartments and subleasing of your own apartment.
  • Applying for a Rental Property

    Landlords often require that you provide comprehensive information with your application. In addition to a detailed questionnaire, you must include an extract from the criminal registry, your salary statement and pay slips from the past months.

  • Termination of the Rental Agreement

    In the event of a termination, the period of notice must be complied with as well as other details stipulated in the contract (final cleaning, etc.)

  • Security Deposit (Rental Deposit)
    • Landlords can demand a security deposit in the amount of a maximum of three months' rent.

    • The deposit is usually deposited in a bank account or with an insurance company, which can be a challenge for foreign nationals (e.g. if they are not yet registered in Switzerland). Certain companies have developed solutions for newcomers from abroad. We recommend that you study the various offers and terms carefully.
  • Liability and Home Contents Insurance

    Although liability and home contents insurance are not compulsory by law, many landlords require proof that the tenant has taken out such insurance because these insurance policies provide full coverage against the financial consequences of damage to people or third-party property.

  • Recycling and Waste Disposal

    In Bern, great importance is attached to the correct separation and disposal of waste.

    In general:

    • Paper and cardboard are recycled: They are collected from the sidewalk on a certain day, sometimes even at a certain time. Sometimes there are also containers.
    • Glass & aluminum are taken to a recycling depot (forbidden to do so during the weekend and in the evening)^.
    • Plastic bottles & coffee capsules are returned to the store.

    💡 Please inform yourself well at which places, days and times you can dispose of your household waste. The requirements vary from district to district.

  • Gas, Water and Electricity
    • If your place of residence is in the city of Bern: You can contact the Customer Service Center of the Energie Wasser Bern EWB utilities company to request a gas, water or electricity hookup or disconnection.

    • Whether for your home or workplace, EWB offers the choice between convention electricity and green electricity. Bern is a model city when it comes to sustainability. Learn more about our "Energy City" label and Sustainability

    💡 Did you know that entire bus networks in Bern and the surrounding area already run exclusively on electricity? Bern is a pioneering city when it comes to sustainability - find out more about the Energy City label and the topic of sustainability

  • Employing Household Staff
    • Household staff can be hired privately or through a cleaning company. If you do hire staff privately, they must be registered with the old-age and survivors' pension plan. Further information can be found on the SECO website.

    • Special conditions apply to individuals with privileged status. They are asked to contact the FDFA Proocol (bilateral) or the Protocol service of the Mission of Switzerland (multilateral) for further information.
  • Pets
  • Banking
  • Telecom Providers

    You can choose between larger and smaller providers with different plans ranging from simple budget options to comprehensive packages (including internet, television, long-distance phone plans, etc.).


  • Fact

    Did you know that with an SBB Half Fare Travelcard, you can buy tickets at half-price for all public transport in Switzerland for one year? With travelcards, day tickets, junior cards and many other offers from various providers, traveling by public transport is also an attractive option for excursions with the whole family.

Vehicles and Driving Licenses

  • Fact

    Did you know that every vehicle (including motorcycles) must display a "vignette" (sticker) when driving on highways? You can purchase one for CHF 40 at post offices, kiosks and gas stations, and it is valid until 31 January of the following year. This rule also applies to vehicles of individuals who enjoy privileged status and immunities.

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