Moving to Switzerland

Last updated: Dec 2, 2019

If you’re moving to Switzerland, then you may want to know a few things about how to do it! The page will explain how to apply for a Schengen visa, what the living costs in Switzerland are like and how to find a job! If you’re interested in finding a removal company to help you move, then take a look at our top 10 international movers list.

Visas to Switzerland

All South African citizens must apply for a Schengen visa before moving to Switzerland, no matter how long your stay will be. There is a certain procedure you will have to go through to apply for your visa. Firstly, you will need to decide which visa you need, it could be one of the following:

  • Business Visa
  • Study Visa
  • Visa for official visits
  • Visa for visiting family/friends

You will need to make an appointment at the Swiss embassy/consulate in South Africa in order to apply for one of these visas. Here is a list of all the documents that you need to submit to apply for visas to Switzerland:

  1. Visa application form
  2. South African valid passport
  3. Photo taken within the last 3 months
  4. Evidence of legal residence in South Africa
  5. A cover letter
  6. Round-trip flights
  7. Proof of accommodation
  8. Means of substinance
  9. Europe Travel Health insurance

If you would like more information on applying for visas to Switzerland, take a look at the Schengen Visa Info website.

Guide to Moving to Switzerland

This section is to make moving to Switzerland an easier process for you. We’ve included advice on what Swiss culture is like, as well as moving tips. If you would like advice on how much international moves cost, take a look at our international moving costs page for advice.

Moving to Switzerland

Swiss culture

When moving to any country, there will be some things that you won’t expect, especially when it comes to the difference in culture. Switzerland is a very different place to South Africa, everything from the food, the environment or the people. It’s always best to be prepared for a bit of a culture shock.

Both German and French is spoken is Switzerland, so knowing a bit of the language will put you at an advantage with everyday encounters. Also, as someone who will be new in your neighbourhood, you may be expected to make the first move in getting to know your neighbours and invite them over to get to know them. The Swiss are reserved and generally limit their invitations to people they know very well. Don’t be offended by this as this is usually a sign of respect for your privacy.

Here are some tips for settling into Switzerland to make your life a little bit easier!

Moving costs to Switzerland

Size of HouseTime to MoveCost of Move
1 bed flat6-10 weeks42,500R-72,000R
2 bed house4-7 weeks57,400R-94,300R
3 bed house4-7 weeks98,000R-160,800R

Above you can see the moving costs from Cape Town to Geneva via sea. There are many factors that affect the cost of moving abroad, two of them being distance and volume. If you think your may need a container to ship all of your belongings to Switzerland, take a look at our container shipping prices page.

moving-to-switzerland

Living in Switzerland

There are a lot of differences when living in Switzerland compared to South Africa. If you’re moving to Switzerland permanently, there are some things you should know before you leave. You’re bound to have some form of culture shock, but hopefully after reading this section, it won’t be as bad!

Jobs in Switzerland

If you’re planning on living in Switzerland for long time, then you will need to find a job to sustain yourself whilst you are there. Working in Switzerland is very popular; with high salaries and excellent working conditions, jobs are very popular there! You will find that most jobs will be in German, so it’s best to brush up a bit on your language skills before you leave!

Here are some websites that you can use to find jobs in Switzerland before you move:

Moving to Switzerland form AustraliaLiving costs in Switzerland

You will have to expect that living costs in Switzerland will be much higher than what you’re used to. Both Zurich and Geneva are referred to as some of the most expensive places to live in the world, which is definitely something that you will need to consider before moving to Switzerland. For example, the rent of a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre of Geneva may cost around 28,000R a month.

Below are some other living costs that you may encounter after moving to Switzerland:

  • Meal at inexpensive restaurant: 350R
  • Litre of Milk: 25R
  • Cappuccino: 62R

However, the average monthly salary is around 77,000R a month (this does vary depending on what profession you have), which helps with the higher living costs in Switzerland.

Housing in Switzerland

Immigrating to another country means finding a new home. This can be quite stressful and confusing, especially if you don’t know the area where you want to live. Renting is bigger in Switzerland than buying property, with only 40% of Swiss nationals buying a home. This makes it more difficult to get onto the property market, which is why we recommend that you have a place to rent before moving to Switzerland and then once you get to know your surroundings, you can better find a place to buy a home and settle down.

The best way to find housing is through online portals, such as the ones below:

Healthcare in Switzerland

The Swiss healthcare system is regarded as one of the best in the world. However, it isn’t free and it’s important to take out basic health insurance within the first three months of moving to Switzerland. For more information, you can visit the Swiss authorities website.

Moving-to-Switzerland

Education in Switzerland

Education is compulsory for children from the age of four until sixteen. If you’re moving to Switzerland with children, then you may be interested in finding out more about what education in Switzerland is like. The rules of the education curriculum are determined by each canton (member state) within Switzerland, which you can look up the educational requirements on each of the cantonal education departments.

Most students are educated at a state school in the local area where they live with only about 5 percent of Swiss children going to private school. This means that most children have mixed abilities and come from a range of different backgrounds. Below is the basic structure of the education system in Switzerland:

  • Primary education: kindergarten/first learning cycle
  • Lower secondary education
  • Upper secondary level education: vocational education and training (VET), baccalaureate schools and upper-secondary specialised schools
  • Tertiary level education: professional training, university.

If you’re interested in moving to Switzerland to study at university, then you should know about the top universities in the country. There are plenty of opportunities for international students to study at top universities. Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) in Lugano is probably the ‘most international’ university as 65% of its students come from 100 different countries.

Now what?

We hope that we have provided you enough information for your move and that you find immigrating to Switzerland less daunting than before. Below are some other pages that you may be interested in that could be relevant for your move: