Au pairs coming from an EU or EFTA country, do not need a visa to enter Switzerland, just a passport or identity card. Au pairs should check if these documents are still valid well in advance of departure.
When au pairs arrive in Switzerland they need to register at the municipality of residence and if your stay extends beyond three months apply for a residence permit. There are specific rules for citizens of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia (see below).
Information for au pair stays of up to 3 months
If the au pair stay will be for less than three months, au pairs do not need to apply for a residence permit. However, it is necessary to register stay.
Au pairs can register after they have arrived in Switzerland, but the authorities must be made aware of the au pair stay before the au pair duties are begun. Host families should register their aupairs with their canton's authorities. It is also possible to register via an online form.
Information for au pair stays of longer than 3 months
If the aupair stay in Switzerland is longer than three months, au pairs need to register at their family's municipality of residence within 14 days of arrival and before beginning the au pair duties. To register au pairs need the following documents:
- a passport or identity card
- the au pair contract with duration of au pair stay included
Before starting work for the host family, au pairs have to apply for a short term residence permit (L) at the cantonal immigration and labour market authorities. For the application the following documents are necessary:
- a passport or identity card
- the au pair contract stating the duration of the au pair stay
- the registration certificate from the municipality of residence
- a passport photo
The permit is only valid for the duration of the au pair stay as stated in the au pair contract. The permit can be extended to a maximum of 12 months.
Insurance and proof of insurance
An au pair is considered an employed person in Switzerland. This means that the au pair's pocket money is subject to social insurance contributions. The host family must apply for an insurance certificate for the au pair at the social insurance organisation in order for your contributions to be calculated. Therefore, you need the same insurance cover as other employed people.
Your host family has to set up their au pair's health insurance, accident insurance, pension insurance and unemployment insurance contributions. In order to calculate the contributions, the social insurance organisation needs the name of the insurance company and the name of the insured person. Half of the contributions are usually paid by the family and the other half will come out of the au pair's gross income.
Special rules for au pairs from Romania, Bulgaria or Croatia
For Romanian, Bulgarian or Croatian au pairs, the host family must apply for a residence permit if the au pair is staying for a maximum of three months in Switzerland. This residence permit must be obtained before the au pair leaves their home country for Switzerland. There are also restrictions on how many citizens from these countries can enter Switzerland each year. These factors will affect when and if the permit will be issued.