The requirements for EU citizens and non-EU citizens are different.
EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden
EFTA: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
Non-EU : Citizens of all other countries
Au pairs from EU/EFTA countries
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.
Au pairs from non-EU/EFTA countries
Young people from almost all countries can become au pairs in Switzerland. This, however, does not include young people from countries which do not have a diplomatic relationship with Switzerland. Contact the cantonal immigration and labour market authorities to find out whether you can apply for a short-term resident permit originating from third countries available in your cantons of choice.
Information regarding work and residence permits
For non-EU nationals, the au pair stay in Switzerland should be arranged with a SECO-approved agency. AuPairWorld's partner in Switzerland is the Wind Connections agency which has SECO approval and can handle all aspects of your au pair stay. As soon as you have found a family in Switzerland, the family should get in touch with Wind Connections to organize all formalities.
The family has to apply for your working and residence permit at the relevant cantonal immigration and labour market authority. The following documents have to be submitted:
- the application form, which varies from canton to canton
- a copy of the au pair's passport
- a statement from the Swiss agency, recognised by SECO, showing successful placement
- the signed au pair contract
- proof of the au pair's registration or preregistration for a language course, corresponding to the language spoken in the area where the au pair will be staying
- proof of registration with a health insurance company recognised in Switzerland
- other documents, where appropriate
Once the cantonal job market authority has reached a preliminary decision, the documents will be examined by the Federal Office for Migration and checked in accordance with the criteria for the whole of Switzerland. They will also look at how many local citizens want to become au pairs, as they have priority over foreign nationals, and also at the limit of citizens from foreign countries when assessing your application. This process can take up to four weeks.
If the au pair requires a visa to go to Switzerland, then a visa application must be made with the relevant diplomatic mission. Along with the application form the following documents need to be submitted:
- a copy of the au pair's passport
- the au pair contract
- civil certificate (e.g birth certificate)
- a health certificate
Please be aware that all documents must be originals. If the original documents are not in English or in one of the official languages of Switzerland, it will be necessary to have them translated. The authorities often ask for the translation to be done by a certified translator.
Once the Foreign Office for Migration has approved the visa application, they will inform the immigration authorities at the embassy in the au pair's home country. Then the embassy goes on to issue the au pair a visa (entry permit). The au pair can collect the visa and use it to enter Switzerland.
Au pairs have to register at the registration office within 8 days of arrival in Switzerland and before beginning their au pair duties. The following documents are needed for this registration:
- the au pair's passport
- the entry permit
- 3 passport photos
- further documents, depending on the canton where the registration is taking place
After the au pair has registered, a identity card for foreigners is issued by the Migration Office which allows the au pair to stay and work in Switzerland. This will be issued for a maximum of one year and cannot be extended.
Insurance and insurance certificate
An au pair is regarded as an employed person in Switzerland. Therefore the au pair's pocket moneyis subject to social insurance deductions like the income of any employed person. The host family must apply for an insurance certificate for the au pair at the social insurance authorities, so that the contributions can be calculated and properly deducted. Au pairs are thus covered by the same insurance as persons with a normal employment contract are.
The host family needs to set up the au pair's health, accident, pension 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.