United Kingdom

United Kingdom’s exit from the EU: consequences for Switzerland

The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020. In the withdrawal agreement, both parties agreed on a transition period until 31 December 2020. This meant that the existing bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU remained in force with respect to the United Kingdom until 31 December 2020.

The Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) between Switzerland and the EU no longer applies with the UK from 1 January 2021. From this date, UK nationals are no longer EU/EFTA nationals, but are considered third country nationals.  

UK nationals residing in Switzerland prior to 1 January 2021: acquired rights

Switzerland and the UK signed an agreement on 25 February 2019 on the acquired rights of their citizens. The agreement has been applicable since 1 January 2021 and allows Swiss and UK nationals to keep the rights they acquired up to 31 December 2020 based on the AFMP. Family reunification also remains possible after this date. 

UK nationals coming to live and work in Switzerland after 31 December 2020 are not covered by the agreement on acquired rights (see below). 

Further information on UK nationals who have acquired rights based on the AFMP is available at:
UK nationals with acquired rights.

UK nationals entering Switzerland from 1 January 2021 for the first time: employment

UK nationals coming to Switzerland to work from 1 January 2021 are third-country nationals. They must apply for a permit from the cantonal immigration and labour market authorities prior to taking up employment. The admission requirements are governed by the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (FNIA).

Further information on admission to the labour market is available at:
UK nationals coming to Switzerland to work from 1 January 2021.

Information on staying in Switzerland without working is available under ’Residenceʼ 
and on entering the country and visa requirements under ’Entryʼ.

Further information

Legal basis

Legislation and federal directives – law on foreign nationals

The complete documentation is available in German, French or Italian.


Brexit Circular: Partial revision of the Ordinance on Admission, Residence and Gainful Employment of 24 October 2007 (VZAE), quota period 2021 
in German (PDF, 284 kB, 25.11.2020) 
in French (PDF, 296 kB, 25.11.2020) 
in Italian (PDF, 278 kB, 25.11.2020) 
(not available in English)

Circular on the application of the Agreement of 25 February 2019 between the Swiss Confederation and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Citzens’ Rights following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and the Free Movement of Persons Agreement 
in German (PDF, 374 kB, 14.12.2020) 
in French (PDF, 386 kB, 14.12.2020) 
in Italian (PDF, 377 kB, 14.12.2020) 
(not available in English)

The complete documentation is available in German, French or Italian.

Last modification 01.01.2021

Top of page