Relocation & Arrival

What are the key deadlines that need to be met when moving to Bern? What is allowed to be imported into Switzerland and which forms must be filled out? Is an entry visa required if you have an employment contract? All of the necessary information can be found here.



  • Entry and Residence Permits
    • Entry and residence permits are regulated by law and may vary due to many factors. Before entering Switzerland, you need to be fully informed of the conditions that apply to you.

    • Certain individuals require a valid visa to enter the country. Please contact your local Swiss embassy or consulate well in advance if you require a visa to enter Switzerland.

    • See also Work Permit
  • Family Reunification and Visa Extensions
    • Your corresponding Swiss municipality is responsible for family reunifications and visa extensions.

    • Individuals with privileged status are asked to contact the FDFA Protocol (bilateral) or the Protocol service of the Mission of Switzerland (multilateral) for questions relating to work permits (self-employment) and family reunification.
  • Clearing Customs
  • Additional Information
    • FCA: Duty-Free Allowances (food, alcohol, tobacco, etc.). Please pay particular attention to the rules for importing goods of animal origin and goods from third countries. 
    • FCA: Watches, Jewelry, Precious Metals (zero tolerance for counterfeits!) 
    • FCA: Prohibitions & Restrictions (cultural objects, weapons, animals, souvenirs, medications, etc.) 

    • Individuals with privileged status enjoy certain customs rights. The FDFA Protocol (bilateral), or the Protocol service of the Mission of Switzerland (multilateral) are great resources to help with any further questions.
  • Welcome Event for the International Community
    • The International Bern Welcome Desk organizes a welcome event for the international community in English twice a year. Register here for the next welcome event for the international community.

    • Many municipalities organize welcome events for their residents. If you have registered with the municipality, you will receive an invitation. The City of Bern hosts a welcome event for new arrivals twice a year.
  • Fact

    Did you know that when you enter and leave Switzerland and neighboring countries you have to declare the added value tax because Switzerland is not a member of the European Union?

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