In 2016 the United Kingdom (UK) decided to leave the European Union (EU). This also has consequences for Switzerland, since relations between Switzerland and the UK are primarily governed by the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the EU.
In the withdrawal agreement between the EU and the UK, the two parties agreed on a transition period lasting until 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, UK nationals are no longer EU citizens.
UK nationals in Switzerland and Swiss nationals in the UK were able to acquire rights under the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) between Switzerland and the EU up to 31 December 2020.
From 1 January 2021, UK nationals are no longer EU citizens. UK nationals wanting to live and work in Switzerland must meet the terms of the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (FNIA). They are subject to quotas and so their employers in Switzerland must first apply for a work permit from the competent cantonal authority.
Safeguarding citizens’ rights
At its meeting on 19 December 2018, the Federal Council approved the citizens rights agreement with the United Kingdom (UK). This agreement protects the rights of Swiss and UK nationals obtained in the UK and Switzerland respectively under the AFMP (e.g. residency rights).
After the signing of the agreement in Bern on 25 February 2019, the Federal Council conducted consultation proceedings, which ran until 29 May 2019. On 6 December 2019, the Federal Council adopted the dispatch on the agreement and submitted it to Parliament.
The agreement came into force on 1 January 2021, at the end of the transition period.
- Please see our UK FAQs
Please see our page on the UK
(general information, press releases and important documents)
FAQ für Schweizer Staatsangehörige im Vereinigten Königreich
(More information for Swiss nationals in the UK)
Citizens rights agreement (PDF, 446 kB, 13.07.2020)
(This publication of the agreement is not legally binding)
Last modification 30.12.2020