If you are a citizen of an EU or EFTA country, you do not need a visa to become an au pair in Switzerland - you just need your passport or identity card. Check if these documents are still valid well in advance of your departure. When you get to Switzerland you just have 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.
If you are an au pair for less than three months you do not need to apply for a residence permit. You do, however, have to register your stay.
You can register after you have arrived in the host country, but the authorities must be aware of your arrival before you begin your duties as an au pair. Your family takes care of registering you with their canton's authorities. It is also possible to register via an online form.
If you are staying in Switzerland as an au pair for longer than three months, you have to register at your family's municipality of residence within 14 days of your arrival and before you begin your au pair duties. When doing this, you will need the following documents:
Before starting work for the host family, you have to apply for a short term residence permit (L) at the cantonal immigration and labour market authorities. You need to have the following documents ready:
The permit is only valid for the duration of the au pair stay stated in the au pair contract. The permit can be extended to a maximum of 12 months.
An au pair is considered an employed person in Switzerland. This means that your pocket money is subject to social insurance contributions. Your host family must apply for an insurance certificate for you 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 your 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 your gross income.
If you are Romanian, Bulgarian or Croatian, your host family must apply for a residence permit for you, if you are staying for a maximum of three months in Switzerland. This has to be sorted out before you leave your home country. Swiss nationals wishing to become au pairs have priority over foreign nationals. There are also restricitions on how many citizens from these countries can enter Switzerland each year. These things affect when and if the permit will be issued. Salary and work conditions will also be checked by the Swiss authorities before the isuance of the permit. This applies to citizens of Romania and Bulgaria until 31 May 2016. The date which applies to citizens of Croatia has not yet been decided.
Federal Social Insurance Office: Leaflet for foreign nationals on Swiss social insurance
Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police: Leaflet "Living and working in Switzerland"
Discover Switzerland: Switzerland's official information portal
We are continually researching and updating our host country information, but cannot guarantee that all material provided is complete and correct. If you notice gaps or inaccuracies, we would like to hear from you.