What is the change? Switzerland is introducing residence permit cards in credit-card format to foreign nationals, replacing paper residence permits.

What does the change mean? The new residence permit will resemble a credit card and will be phased in at the cantonal level, beginning with the cantons of Geneva, which started the transition Nov. 1, 2019, and Zurich starting Feb. 1, 2020.

  • Implementation time frame: Zurich and Geneva will begin introducing biometric cards first, and other cantons will follow thereafter with the goal of completing the transition by July 2021.
  • Permits affected: Residence cards for B, L, C, G, Ci and N and F permit applicants.
  • Who is affected: The permits in credit-card format will be phased in for initial and renewal applicants and permit holders requesting changes to their personal information.
  • Business impact: Applicants will need to attend an appointment to take their photo and provide their signature at the Migration Office. This data will be kept for five years. As a result of the new process, applicants will no longer be required to submit a passport photo with their application and the residence card will be mailed directly to them.

Analysis and Comments: Employers and affected foreign nationals should be aware that the introduction of residence cards in credit-card format is already ongoing in Geneva and starting next month in Zurich, and in other cantons thereafter, and that appointments will be required. All previously issued paper permits will remain valid until their expiration while the cantons transition to new credit-card format cards.

Source: Deloitte. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), its global network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL does not provide services to clients. Please see to learn more. Deloitte Legal means the legal practices of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited member firms or their affiliates that provide legal services. For legal, regulatory and other reasons, not all member firms provide legal services. This communication contains general information only, and none of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, its member firms or their related entities (collectively, the “Deloitte network”) is, by means of this communication, rendering professional advice or services. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your finances or your business, you should consult a qualified professional adviser. No entity in the Deloitte network shall be responsible for any loss whatsoever sustained by any person who relies on this communication. © 2020. For information, contact Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.