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Is It Worth Moving to Zurich?

Tuesday, May 30, 2023
City of Zurich by the water as the sun begins to set

Switzerland’s Zurich is a charming city with a thriving cultural scene. Allow Alpine views, Swiss chocolates, an efficient transport system, and exploring a historic town to become part of your norm. Just make the move to Zurich and it will be. Here is how moving to Zurich from the US can be smoothly done. And, you most probably already know that you want to make the move since you are reading this article, so let’s advise you how. But, always remember to speak to a professional when it comes to legal matters such as customs, paperwork, etc. If you are moving to Zurich with your family, then you will want to make sure that their paperwork is in order too.

Visa Requirements for Your Move to Zurich

Swiss wild and beautiful nature, a clear water of a lake in the autumn surrounded by yellowish trees

As you figured there are different types of visa depending on what you are doing in Zurich and how long you want to stay. There is the Schengen visa, which is a category C type, that you can apply for if you are to stay in Switzerland for up to 90 days. This one can be obtained at your local Swiss representative office. Furthermore, you can also use this visa to travel around outside of Zurich such as France, Germany or Italy. However, if you are a US citizen then you do not have to apply for the Schengen visa. But, you can only stay in Zurich for 90 days in total.  

A category D visa allows you to stay in Switzerland for more than 90 days. Speak to a representative to get all the facts and make sure that your paperwork is in order before moving to Zurich.

Different Types of Permits for staying in Switzerland

Mom and son hugging while taking a walk on the streets of Zurich

If you are moving to Zurich for work purposes, then you would need to apply for a work permit also called an Arbeitsbewilligung. Applying for this is part of your visa application process along with applying for residence.  

An Arbeitsbewilligung has three main categories under it:

  • Kurzaufenthaltsbewilligung which is for people who are either interns or are on short-term assignments. This type of permit is valid for up to a year and a Schengen visa is not needed. Furthermore, it is for people between the ages of 18 and 30 years old.
  • Aufenthaltsbewilligung is a category B permit and it is the common one for those that are moving to Zurich for work.
  • Lastly, there is the category C permit known as Niederlassungsbewilligung. You can only apply for this one if you have already lived in Switzerland for a while. It is known as a settlement permit that is unlimited.  

You would want to get the Aufenthaltsbewilligung permit and live your way to the Niederlassungsbewilligung if you move to Zurich and then wish to make it your forever home.

Speak to a professional and do research before you make your move to Switzerland. Zurich has a lot to offer you in terms of its high-quality of life, natural beauty, culture and more. Plus, if you work in Zurich then you can get help with the visa process but do not take our word for it.

What to Do After You Move to Switzerland

Swiss food: the famous fondue cheese, charcuterie and salads on the table

Before you get the chance to settle in Zurich you would want to rush off to your local Zurich cantonal immigration or labor market authority to get your residency permit. This is one of the things you have to do so that you can secure your place as a resident in Zurich. Furthermore, you would also want to take out medical insurance after moving to Zurich. 

Medical insurance is mandatory in the whole of Switzerland with Zurich not being an exception. You can even just apply for a basic health insurance plan. You would have to do this within the first three months of living in the country. The authorities will require you to provide proof or assurance that you have a medical insurance plan while you are taking care of your residency permit. So get medical insurance first, then your residency permits just to be on the safe side. To be safer, speak to a professional about the order.

An aerial view of the old part of the city of Zurich representing historic architecture

Another aspect of paperwork that you may want to think about is your driver’s license. While Zurich does have one of the best and most efficient public transport systems, sometimes hopping into your own car for a country drive can be all that you want. Therefore, you would want to make sure that your license is exchanged for a Swiss one. It is best to do this as soon as possible. However, if you have a UK, EU/EEA license on hand then you can use it for a year while living in Switzerland. But, best to do the exchange as soon as you can.   

Banking is one more thing you have to sort out to make your Zurich life so much easier. A Swiss bank account can help you to pay your needed medical insurance, pay your taxes, and, obviously, get your paycheck. You can set up a lock bank account or an online one. All you will need is proof of your residency and two or more forms of identification. A passport and driver’s license will do.

Cost of Living in Zurich

An African-American woman working outdoor on her laptop in her new office in Zurich >

Switzerland can be quite a pricey country with Zurich being a really expensive city to live in. The cost of living is on the high end, but this is also why the city offers a high-quality of life. A family that consists of four members can spend up to 6, 893 euros monthly including rent. A single person is said to spend on average 3, 937 euros a month.   

You would want to do research on the cost of living and prepare yourself. That is why many people who move to Zurich apply for jobs in the area. Not only does it help with visas but also to cover the costs. 

There are a few ways that you can save money: 

  • Buy clothes and essentials items before you move to Zurich
  • Shop at second-hand stores while living in Zurich
  • Get used to walking around to save on public transport costs
  • Shop at local stores
  • Check out local restaurants 

And there is a lot more you can do. Another idea would be to rent a flat to live in. This can cost about $1078 if you are single. But, buying a house would be a lot costlier. 

Moving to Zurich with Shyft

Three friends taking a selfie in front of a snowy mountain of Swiss Alpines

As an American moving to Zurich, you may want some help. Not because you are incapable of moving by yourself, but because getting help can make your move so much easier for you. If that is the case, then we would strongly suggest that you get in touch with Shyft. You can contact us through our site or via our free-to-download, and secure mobile app, Shyft Next for Apple or Android devices.

Shyft is the world’s first tech-driven moving platform and our purpose is to help make your moving experience as smooth as we can. We will organize your whole journey from the US to Zurich while saving your nerves, time, and money. As we mentioned you can get in touch through the app or site. Just fill in the short form, let us know when you are free, and one of our Move Coaches will give you a video call through the Shyft Next app. This call will only happen at the time that you want. Therefore, it already saves you time since you do not have to wait around in case we call you. You know exactly the time.  

During this call, you will meet and see your Move Coach who will talk through the Shyft moving process as well as provide help with the challenges and organization of your move. Furthermore, your Move Coach will create your inventory list right there and then. Just give them a virtual tour of your current home, show the inside of one draw and let them do the rest. Within half an hour from the ending of this call, this inventory list will be sent to you through the app.

The 95% Accurate Inventory List and Beyond

A couple posing for a photo while looking at each other on a wooden pathway near a snowy mountain of Alpines

When you receive this inventory list it is already 95% accurate. However, you can add the last 5% by removing items, adding ones that were missed and even leaving notes. You take the 95% accurate list to 100% accurate all on the Shyft Next app. When you are finished you send this updated list to your Move Coach. 

They will present the list along with only your moving details to Shyft’s secure moving board. Here is where international, and local moving companies gather to bid on moving projects. Yours can join the list. Furthermore, every company is verified by Shyft, has their paper in order as well as has experience behind them. It is during this bidding war that we will collect three or more moving quotes. Each quote is from a different company. All the quotes, as well as information about the companies, will be sent to you.

Panoramic view of a river where boats pass by in Zurich, Switzerland

You can compare the quotes, services etc. through the Shyft Next app. When you find the company that is the best fit for your moving experience, you will let your Move Coach know. They will book that particular moving company right there and then before they get overbooked. And, every quote you will get is guaranteed, with no hidden costs. Even if your inventory list were to change, the cost remains the same. What you see is what you will pay. What is more is that international moving companies can also inform you, even help you, with customs. Maybe even give you some advice on the paperwork. 

Another thing that we, as Shyft, offer you is that you can contact us seven days a week. This is for any questions you may have, or if you just want to check in and follow up. However, always speak to a professional when it comes to your international moving enquiries. We also offer corporate moving services to make that aspect of your relocation working life a bit easier. Find out more or contact us for more information.   

Taste the Swiss chocolates of the Alpines by moving to Zurich with Shyft giving you a helping hand.

A man with curly hair and wearing a blue shirt, enjoying a bite of swiss chocolate

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