SWITZERLAND: New Credit Card Format for Residence Permits

November 7, 2019

Effective immediately, residence permits issued to European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Area (EFTA) citizens (L, B and C permits) will have a new credit card-like format, including a biometric photograph and signature (no fingerprints), replacing the old paper permits.

The new format will also be distributed to third country nationals in possession of a border crossers permit (Category G) or working spouses and children of members of foreign representations and international organisations (Category Ci).

Residence permits issued to third-country (non-EU/EFTA) nationals already use a credit card format.


The new format residence permits will be rolled out canton by canton until July 2021. The cantons of Geneva (L permits), Schwyz (all permits), St. Gallen (G permits) and Thurgau (all permits) as well as the city of Bern (C and Ci permits) will be the first to issue the new permits. Basel and Zurich are not planning to implement the new cards before 2020. The canton of Vaud is still discussing implementation.

Note that the implementation plan is subject to change.

Existing permits will remain valid until their expiration date. If the canton has already switched to the new format, it will be issued when the existing permit is due to be renewed, or when the information on the permit needs to be changed.

An additional fee may be payable, on top of the standard residence permit processing fee.

Our Advice

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact their Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to Switzerland, please email us at enquiries@newlandchase.com.