If your au pair comes from an EU or EFTA country they are not subject to visa requirements in order to come to Switzerland. They can enter with a valid passport or identity card. They should check that these documents are still valid well in advance of their departure. When they arrive in Switzerland, they just need to register at your municipality of residence and, if they are staying for longer than three months, apply for a residence permit. If your au pair comes from Bulgaria, Romania or Croatia, other rules apply.
If your au pair is staying with you for less than three months, they do not need permission to stay in Switzerland. They do still need to be registered as being in Switzerland, however.
They can register with the authorities after they have arrived in Switzerland, but it must be done before they start their au pair duties. You, as the host family, need to sort out the registration at your cantonal authority. There is an online form which you can use.
If your au pair is staying for longer than 3 months, they must register at your municipality of residence within 14 days of their arrival in Switzerland and before they begin their au pair duties. In order to register, they will need the following documents:
A short stay residence permit (permit L) can be applied for at the cantonal immigration and labour market authorities. The following documents are needed to apply:
The duration of validity of the permit corresponds to the duration of the au pair stay stated in the au pair contract. The permit can be extended by 12 months to a total of 24 months.
An au pair is considered as an employed person in Switzerland. This means that their pocket money is subject to contributions. In order for the contributions to be calculated, you need to apply for an insurance certificate at the social insurance authorities. Therefore the same rules apply for insurance as with a normal working contract.
Health and accident insurance contributions have to be paid, as well as pension and unemployment insurance contributions. The social insurance authorities need to know the name of the insured person and the name of the insurance provider in order to calculate the contributions. You will only have to pay half of these contributions, the other half comes out of the gross income of the au pair.
If your au pair has Romanian, Bulgarian or Croatian citizenship, they also only have to apply for a short term residence permit if their au pair stay is for over 3 months. This needs to be sorted out when the au pair is still in their home country. Swiss nationals wishing to become au pairs in Switzerland have priority over foreign nationals. Additionally, there are restrictions on how many citizens from these countries can enter Switzerland each year. These things affect when and if your au pair's permit will be issued. These rules applies to citizens of Romania and Bulgaria until 31 May 2016. The date which applies for citizens of Crotia has not yet been decided.
Federal Social Insurance Office: Brochure for foreign nationals on Swiss social insurance
Swiss justice and police department: Leaflet "Living and working in Switzerland"
Swissworld: 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.