In Switzerland, self-employment is defined as the exercise of an activity within the framework of a freely chosen organization (company) of one’s own,

  1. which is geared to earning an income,
  2. is under one’s own authority and
  3. bears the entrepreneurial risk itself.

Employed persons from EU/EFTA countries

Employed persons from EU/EFTA countries can benefit from the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons and are entitled to free residence and work in Switzerland. This applies to both employees and self-employed persons. A residence permit B is sufficient for self-employed entrepreneurs. The relevant documents must be submitted for this purpose.

Employed persons from third countries

Employed persons from all other countries (third countries) are generally not entitled to residence and gainful employment in Switzerland. They must therefore submit a corresponding application. The admission of a third-country national for self-employment must be in Switzerland’s general economic interest. This may be the case if a service is to be offered for which there is strong demand and no oversupply, or if jobs are created or investments made. Furthermore, the necessary financial and operational conditions must be fulfilled.

Only managers, specialists and other qualified workers may be granted short-term residence permits and residence permits to engage in gainful employment. When a residence permit is issued, the professional qualifications, professional and social adaptability, language skills and age must also be such as to ensure sustainable integration into the Swiss labour market and social environment.



Roman Giger

self-employed Attorney-at-Law, Notary and certified Tax Consultant | Partner

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