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Immigration and Travel

Show or hide the answer Tell me more about the Work Permit

Non-Swiss nationals intending to visit Switzerland to work, require a work permit. An application for a permit needs to be made to the appropriate Canton (State). Most employees at Idiap have obtained either an “L” or a “B” Permit, which is valid for up to 12 months. Once a permit has been granted, it is normally renewed every year unless there are reasons against a renewal such as criminal offences or dependence on social security etc.

Once Idiap has received: two-signed copies of your contract; a copy of your qualifications; and a copy of your passport; we will commence the permit application process on your behalf. For most people the process takes between 8 and 10 weeks but of course this will be different for each applicant. Please ensure you have the flexibility to change your travel plans in the event that your permit application is delayed or denied. If you would like to apply for your family to join you in Switzerland you should provide Idiap with copies of their passport(s) and a copy of your ‘Full Marriage Certificate” when you return your signed contracts. Please note that all passports must be valid at least until the end of your work contract. The final decision regarding your permit application is made by the Authorities in Valais and not by the Swiss Authorities in your country.

It is a good idea to make contact with the Swiss Authorities in your country to advise them that your work permit application has been lodged. Ask them if there is anything further that needs to be done from your end, and ensure they have your contact details for any future correspondence.

Within 8 days of arriving in Martigny AND before you start work, you must go to the Foreign Office (Accueil “citoyen”, Rue de l’Hôtel de Ville 1) and they will finalise processing of your work permit. If you do not announce your arrival, are late to announce your arrival, or commence work before you announce your arrival you will be fined. For this visit you will need to take your passport, a copy of your work and stay authorization, and details of your current address in Martigny. The Foreign Office will later contact you when your work permit is ready for collection. This normally takes 4-6 weeks. Idiap will reimburse you for the cost of the work permit.

Show or hide the answer Do I need a Visa to enter Switzerland when I intend to work there?

Nationals of some countries will also require a visa to enter Switzerland to work. Examples of people who need a visa are those who come from India, China, The United States, Australia, Canada, Tunisia, Ukraine, Vietnam and Russia, however this list is not exhaustive. Please contact your nearest Swiss consulate or embassy to confirm if you need a working visa, and for details on how to apply for the visa. The Embassy or consulate can not issue your visa until your work permit has been approved.

Show or hide the answer Do I need a visa to enter other countries in Europe?

Many Idiap staff members make regular trips to other European countries for holidays and even hikes and day trips. Please be aware that you MAY require a Visa to visit other European countries (check this with the authorities in your country). The Schengen visa allows people to enter one country and travel freely throughout the Schengen zone. At present, there are 15 Schengen countries, all in Europe. The 15 Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. It is very important to check if you require a visa for a country before you cross its border. You can do this for some European countries through links on the following site. For more information on the Schengen visa visit

Show or hide the answer Will my spouse be able to work in Switzerland?

The spouse of a person holding a Swiss work permit is not automatically entitled to work in Switzerland. Family members hoping to work will be required to find their own employment and apply for their own work permit. The authorities warn that applications for a work permit may be refused. In practice, many spouses of Idiap staff have been able to find work and have been granted their own work permit. For further information ask at the Foreign Office when you arrive.

Show or hide the answer Do I need to have Vaccinations or a medical examination before I come?

No vaccinations are required for entry into Switzerland. A medical examination is compulsory for persons entering Switzerland for the first time to take up employment, who are NOT nationals of one of the following countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA and member states of the EU and EFTA. It consists of a radiological examination of the lungs to screen for tuberculosis.

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