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Moving from US to Switzerland: Benefits, Cost & How To

Emigration from the United States is when American citizens leave the U.S. to live elsewhere. The United States doesn't keep track of emigration numbers, so it's difficult to know how many Americans are leaving the country. However, in 2018, one study reported that 18% of Americans surveyed wanted to leave the United States. People have many varying reasons for wanting to leave. Some of the most common reasons include job or business opportunities, political disenchantment, the desire to experience a new culture, familial reasons, or finding a partner from another country.

And, for many Americans, Switzerland is a top choice for relocation. Switzerland is a very welcoming country, with 25% of its population being foreign individuals. One report indicated that Americans make up five percent of Switzerland's total population as of 2016. Americans are choosing this country more and more to start a new life.

Benefits of moving from the U.S. to Switzerland

There are many ways Switzerland wins when being compared to the U.S.A.


Individuals moving to Switzerland are legally required to sign up for health insurance within three months of entering the country. Even if you were in Switzerland as a tourist for longer than three months, you would need to be covered by a Swiss health insurance provider.

Although the Swiss have to pay for their health insurance privately, it operates under a universal system. This means that every health care provider must offer basic healthcare packages to individuals and cannot reject anyone under any circumstance. The government also spends the most on healthcare compared to any other country in the European Union. This system seems to work for the country. Switzerland boasts a high life expectancy (79 for men and 84 for women), short wait times, and quality care for every patient.

If you move to Switzerland, you might just find yourself healthier and living longer!


If you're moving to Switzerland with family, the country has a supreme standard of excellence for all education, from primary to post-secondary. Switzerland has a reputation for a robust education system and expats have reported being very happy with their children's experiences in Swiss schools. Your children will receive a comprehensive education that will prepare them for whatever career paths they choose in the future. By contrast, the quality of the American education system is often criticized, especially for primary and secondary education.


Depending on where you live in the United States, you may sometimes worry about yourself or your loved ones' safety. On the other hand, Switzerland is known to be one of the safest countries in the world. In fact, the United States reports six times more murders per million people than Switzerland. If you're moving with a family or as a single female, this can be very reassuring.


If you like to live an active life, you will fit right in with the Swiss lifestyle. Switzerland is known for its winter sports, such as snowboarding and skiing. People also keep themselves active in the warmer seasons with activities such as swimming, running, and biking.

Economy and Employment

Switzerland has a stable, strong economy and a low unemployment rate. Additionally, Switzerland doesn't have any "problematic industries," such as mining, that see huge unemployment increases from small changes in demand.

The Swiss also have a strong sense of work-life balance and don't overwork themselves. You will find most places and stores closed on Sundays because everyone likes to take this day off!

Some of the major companies with headquarters in Switzerland are Nestle, Swatch, and Lindt, to name just a few.

Higher Standard of Living

Overall, Switzerland can feel like a fairytale county. There are no beggars on the streets, every public place is kept relatively clean, and crime is low. Additionally, wages are significantly higher when compared to Americans. Waiters are paid a minimum of 20 CHF per hour. Engineers, teachers, and scientists make more than their American counterparts. (It should be noted though that the cost of living is also higher for most things such as eating out and groceries.)

How to move to Switzerland

Moving from the U.S. to Switzerland is a three-step process.

  1. Apply for a Long-Stay Visa
  2. First, you must apply for a long-stay visa. You will need this visa to enter the country. There are three main types of long-stay Swiss visas:

    • The Swiss Family Reunification Visa
    • The Swiss Work Permit Visa
    • The Swiss Study Visa

  3. Apply for a Residence Permit
  4. Switzerland is made of 26 cantons, which are federated states. You will need to apply for a residence permit with the cantonal you plan to move to. Once you've entered the country, you go to the cantonal immigration and labor market authorities to register and receive your Swiss residence permit. You will need this permit to stay and work in Switzerland for longer than three months.

  5. Obtain a Permanent Residence

Getting a permanent residence in Switzerland takes time. How long the process will take will depend on where you're migrating from.

  • Members from a European Union country can get a P.R. in Switzerland after living in the country for five consecutive years.
  • Americans and Canadians can apply for P.R. after living in Switzerland for five successive years.
  • Citizens from non-EU countries can apply for a Swiss Permit C after living in the country with a Swiss Permit B for ten consecutive years.

Cost of moving from the U.S. to Switzerland

The average cost of a move from the U.S. to Switzerland is $3,450. International moves tend to be more expensive as items need to travel a long distance, safely and quickly.

However, this cost will significantly vary depending on your specific factors. You should consider factors that can impact your moving costs, such as:

  • The amount of stuff you're moving
  • The type of things (heavy furniture versus small items)
  • Any special items
  • The distance (moving from Eastern U.S. and Western U.S. can have very different pricing to Switzerland)
  • If you choose to pay for packing and unpacking services

You can quickly know the real cost by filling out the Instaquote above.

Most Popular Areas in Switzerland


Even though Zurich isn't the capital of Switzerland, it is the largest city in the country. Zurich has a large proportion of residents that are expats, so you will feel comfortable settling in with other immigrants. Zurich has all the feeling of a small town, with everyone being friendly and supportive, but all the activities and events of a big city. It's like the best of both worlds!


Geneva is the second-most populous city in Switzerland. The residents of this city are surrounded by the Alps and the beautiful views of the mountains. Ski resorts are an hour or two drive outside of the town, so winter sports are often on people's schedules.

Geneva is also considered an international financial hub with lots of work opportunities in banking and financial positions.


Bern is the capital of Switzerland. People love Bern for many reasons. A river runs through the city that has such clean water you could drink from it (although people usually just swim in it). Everything is said to run slower in Bern, so it's the perfect choice for a quiet, calm life. People enjoy a work-life balance, the city is walkable, and everyone is friendly.

Moving is often a stressful experience. Moving internationally is a whole other challenge. While you try to take on this big relocation, it's crucial to delegate as many responsibilities as possible. If you're convinced a move to Switzerland is in the cards for you, reach out to Allied for a moving quote. We specialize in long-distance and international moves. We can provide tracking information so you have peace of mind that your items will get to where they need to go. Contact us today for a free quote or fill out the Instaquote above for more information.