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Ascona on Lake Maggiore in Switzerland

Moving to Switzerland

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 16, 2023

Summary: Expats and digital nomads move to Switzerland for its high quality of life, excellent infrastructure, and low crime rate. The most popular cities for expats and digital nomads in Switzerland are Zurich, Geneva, and Basel. People looking for a place to live in Switzerland can search online for rental properties, contact a real estate agent, or look for postings on local bulletin boards.

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What do I need to know before moving to Switzerland?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Switzerland, they said:

"

  • Contact the International Women's Club (Zug or Zurich) or the PTA/PTO of the various international schools for advice.
  • There is little choice only, be prepared for this and not too depressed.
  • Make sure you choose a house you will be happy to live in, you will spend a lot of time there!
  • The Swiss are friendly but very distanced, however they love to practise their English at all times!
  • Outdoors facilities are abundant, make sure you have a car to use them.
," remarked one expat in Switzerland.

"Keep in mind: - There is no free choice of school for your children, unless you are willing and able to pay for (expensive) private schools. Your children will usually go to school in the quarter you live. If you have specific school preferences for your kids, take this into consideration in the neighborhood choice. - Not only property prices vary highly between city and countryside, and between the various cantons. Also taxes and costs for (mandatory!) health insurance may vary a lot. Example: the canton of Zug may sound very attractive at first sight, because of the extremely low taxes. You'll quickly find out that this is (more than) compensated by prices for housing. Check out tax and health insurance rates at www.comparis.ch," said one expat in Olten.

"It is important to be aware that there are four official languages of Switzerland: German, French, Italian, and Romantsch. Depending on where you are moving to, language proficiency may be important to learn before relocation. Moreover, Switzerland is a highly regulated country, with a lot of paperwork and fees required for administrative procedures. Expats should familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations before moving. Additionally, the cost of living in Switzerland can be quite high. To help manage these costs, some employers may provide cost of living compensation packages. Furthermore, Swiss health care is world class, but expats should be aware of the requirements necessary to be eligible to use the system. Finally, Swiss culture is rooted in tradition, while at the same time being open to the world, making it a great country to move to," remarked one expat who made the move to Switzerland.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

Ascona on Lake Maggiore in Switzerland

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