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Living in Switzerland: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Switzerland | Expat Exchange
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Ascona on Lake Maggiore in Switzerland

Living in Switzerland

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Feb 02, 2024

Summary: The approximate population of Switzerland is 8.5 million people. The largest cities in Switzerland are Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Lausanne, and Bern. Expats love living in Switzerland for its high quality of life, excellent infrastructure, and beautiful scenery. People describe life in Switzerland as peaceful, safe, and orderly. Popular foods in Switzerland include fondue, raclette, rösti, and muesli. The cons of living in Switzerland include the high cost of living, the language barrier, and the difficulty of obtaining a work permit. The average cost of living for an expat is around $3,000 to $4,000 per month in US dollars. This includes rent, food, transportation, and other expenses.

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What do I need to know about living in Switzerland?

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

"1. It is important to research both Swiss federal law and local canton laws as these will impact your financial and lifestyle decisions as a retiree in Switzerland. 2. Consider taking language courses or hiring a translator to ensure you can effectively communicate with Swiss authorities and banks. 3. Research banking options to find the best plan for you, including checking cantonal banking services and account providers. 4. Make sure to have comprehensive health insurance in order to receive public health care benefits. 5. Look into tax treatment of your pension income and any other sources when determining how much of your pension income is taxable. 6. Check if residence permits are necessary for yourself or your family members when looking to live in Switzerland for over three months. 7. Examine cost of living before retiring in Switzerland, taking into account accommodation, groceries, transportation and other miscellaneous expenses. 8. Understand the social and cultural norms in Switzerland to ensure a smooth integration process into Swiss society," commented one expat who made the move to Switzerland.

"Put a good dent in learning German before you get here. People are much more easier to deal with if you can speak to them in German," remarked one expat living in Basel, Switzerland.

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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.
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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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Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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William RussellWilliam Russell

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
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Help others in Switzerland by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Switzerland.

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