Close ties with the European Union

Integrated in the European Union, yet independent

Although not part of the European Union, Switzerland has strong economic, cultural and legal ties to the 28 member states.

Strategic access to the European market

Switzerland is fully integrated into the EU market, its principal trade partner thanks to a free trade agreement and numerous bilateral agreements covering the free movement of goods and services.
The country also benefits from a series of 30 free trade agreements with 40 partners outside of the European Union, most notably with China.

Free movement of persons

The free movement of persons allows nationals of the EU-25 and EFTA member countries to enter, live and work freely in Switzerland.  Workers from Bulgaria and Romania are still subject to certain restrictions, and some conditions also apply to Croatian nationals.  Citizens from third-party countries must obtain work and residence permits.  Long term visas and residence permits are issued by the cantonal offices for migration.  Employers generally handle the application process on behalf of the employees.

Regional flexibility

As a result of the bilateral agreements, the Greater Geneva Bern area has all the advantages of free trade with the European Union and yet maintains its legal and fiscal independence which is beneficial to companies as well as individuals.  This political, administrative and legal autonomy allows the government to act quickly to meet the needs of new and existing companies.


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