Settlement of Individuals in Switzerland: Third Country Nationals Without Gainful Activity

written by

Bruno Hunziker
Markus Brülhart



Staying in Switzerland essentially requires a residence permit, provided the stay lasts for more than three months. In each case, the stay in Switzerland requires the relocation of the center of vital interest (“Lebensmit- telpunkt”) to Switzerland.

The following information focusses on so-called third country nationals without gainful activity. Citizens from EU/EFTA countries and third country nationals with a gainful activity are subject to further requirements.


Residence and stay without gainful activity

In general

In order to obtain a residence permit in Switzerland without carrying out a gainful activity, third country nationals must fulfill the following conditions:

– A minimum age of 55 years.

– A special personal relationship to Switzerland, e.g., family, visits over a long time with establishment of relations, etc. Mere possession of property is not sufficient.

– Relocation of official domicile to Switzerland, i.e. fundamentally 6 months or longer stay in Switzer- land per calendar year.

– Adequate financial means (income and assets) to provide for subsistence.

– Concluding a compulsory medical insurance in Switzerland.

– Proof of housing arrangements in Switzerland.

– No gainful activity in a foreign country or in Switzerland.


If the requirements regarding the minimal age and the special relationship are not fulfilled, exemptions may be granted if an extraordinary public interest may be shown. “Extraordinary public interests” include, inter alia, material fiscal interests of a canton. Whether an exemption will be granted or not is subject to the full discretion of each canton.

Each canton considers its material fiscal interests on a case to case basis. The following information can be used as a summarized guidance (non-binding information):

Canton of Zug

Annual tax burden in the aggregate amount of CHF 300’000 (basis: taxable income of CHF 1 Mio. and wealth of CHF 20 Mio).

Canton of Obwalden

Annual tax burden in the aggregate amount of CHF 300’000.

Canton of Lucerne

Annual tax burden in the aggregate amount of CHF 200’000 (basis: taxable income of CHF 600’000 and wealth of CHF 12 Mio).

Canton of Berne

Annual tax charge in the aggregate amount of CHF 500’000.


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