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How to deposit your Swiss C permit while abroad?

In our last article we gave some insights for Swiss citizens living and working in the UK and how BREXIT will or might affect them.

Today we look into the rights of foreigners holding a C permit. These people have lived for more than 10 years* in Switzerland. Many were born and raised in the country but did not want to go through the application process for a Swiss citizenship.

While in the country, C permit holders are treated more or less the same way as Swiss citizens, main difference being the right of vote. But going abroad for work, study or travel circumstances change.

What is a C permit

The C permit gives you the right for permanent residency in Switzerland, this allows the C permit holder to work and live in the country without any restrictions, changing jobs and cantons.

If a C permit holder wants to leave the country

Leaving Switzerland permanently

The C permit is handed in and expires after six month outside of Switzerland. Beware: Before handing in the C permit, make sure you leave the option open for an extension for up to two respectively four years to get back to Switzerland. If not, this option will not be granted at a later stage.

Up to two years respectively four years

When moving abroad for work, study or travel, the C permit can be deposited for up to four years. First an appeal has to be made to the office for migration to maintain the C permit for two years. At the end – but before the deadline! – an extension of this application can be made for another two years.

After four years

According to Art. 61 VZAE the C permit can also be granted after being abroad for more than four years but less than six years if the person was holding the C permit for ten years and more prior to departure.


Before you go abroad, talk to the migration office to be sure, you can get back if you want.

* members from following states can apply for the C permit after 5 years: Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, Liechtenstein, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Spain.


This rules can change and always check with the migration office of your canton. SQUK, their employees and owners cannot be made responsible for anything!



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