Family reunification

Family reunification

Based on the revised immigration act, Swiss citizens and persons from countries outside the EU (third-country nationals) with a residence permit or permanent residence permit may bring their foreign spouses and unmarried children under 18 years of age to Switzerland if they intend to live together in a suitable residence. Families must have sufficient finances and must not be facing or have faced prosecution.

Deadlines

Family reunification must be applied for within five years upon arrival. Children older than 12 years of age must be brought into the country within 12 months.

Asylum

Temporarily admitted persons – that is, rejected asylum seekers who are allowed to stay in Switzerland for a limited period of time – may bring their families into the country after a minimum of three years, provided they live together in a suitable residence and the family is not dependent on welfare.

Teenage children

Teenagers aged 15 to 18 are rarely granted entry permits, as it is difficult at this age for young people to keep up with their peers in the educational system. Children living abroad should therefore be brought into the country as early as possible.

EU/EFTA-citizens

The agreement on the free movement of persons allows EU/EFTA citizens who are in possession of a Swiss residence permit to bring their families into the country. This right is independent of nationality and includes:

•spouse, children (or spouse’s children) who are younger than 21 years of ageand dependant children

•dependant parents or parents of spouse.

Third-country nationals

If family members are third-country nationals, they may enter and stay in Switzerland only if they have previously been permanent residents of a EU/EFTA state. If this is not the case, the regulations for third-country nationals apply.

Students

Students may bring only their spouse and dependant children into the country. The cantonal migration office can give you further information.

Switzerland

Addresses and links

  • The platform ch.ch informs about family reunification*: www.ch.ch

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* = Services explicitly offered also in other languages than German.