7,639,961 (July 2009 est.)

Time difference:


Telephone code:





German, French, Italian and Romansh are all national and official languages

Tax Authority:

Eidgenössische Steuerverwaltung ESTV -

Social Security:

Bundesamt für Sozialversicherungen BSV

Social Security & Tax System:

Resident individuals are subject to personal income and net wealth taxes. Non-residents deriving income from Swiss sources may be subject to certain withholding taxes. In Switzerland there is not a unique nation-wide social security system, because every canton regulars itself.  
All Swiss residents have to be covered compulsory by basic sickness insurance from the day they officially take residence in Switzerland. 
The Swiss social security taxes are levied at a federal level and subsidized by contributions paid borne fifty-fifty by both employer and employees. This annual contribution will be of 10.1% of the total employee’s remuneration (with no ceiling)

Standard contribution rates for employees are:

  • Pension insurance: 4,2%
  • Disability insurance: 0,7%
  • Military income loss compensation: 0,15%

A 1% unemployment insurance tax applies to wages up to CHF 126,000 per year .
Sickness insurance is compulsory for all inhabitants of Switzerland but employees are covered at their own expense.


Average Monthly Rent:




1 room CHF 668
2 rooms CHF 907
3 rooms CHF 1,100
4 rooms CHF 1,319
5 rooms CHF 1,658


(Source: Swiss Statistics 2008)


In Switzerland the accommodations are usually rented unfurnished. 
It is possible to find the advertisement in newspapers (“Tout l'Immobilier”, “La Tribune de Geneve” “GHI”), property websites, regies’ offices and boards in the university.

Most of the management and administration of houses and apartments to rent are entrusted to “Regies”; they are associations of owners of houses.
If you like a house, ask the address of the regie and go there as soon as possible to fill an application form. To do apply, you will fill a form, containing your personal data, salary and even a set of personal information (why you want to move? Where do you live before? Are you a smoker? etc).

Generally some “Regies” can ask also:

  • Photocopy of ID card and, (in some cases, residence permit)
  • Photocopy of the pay packet (in some cases the last three). If you have just arrived, you can just show your contract.
  • Certificate from the “Office des Poursuites et Faillites”, certifying that you do not have debts or slope with the law.

Rental conditions

Rental contracts in Switzerland can be either fixed-term contract or indefinite duration. Indefinite contracts will renew automatically unless the landlord would say the opposite.  You will normally be asked for a guarantee deposit equivalent to 2 months rent and in some cases the landlord can ask you a caution guaranteeing, that is a third person who can pay your rent in case you have financial troubles.


Useful vocabulary

‘Reprise’: As the apartments are unfurnished, the tenant, who lived before there, may want to leave in the apartment some stuff (such as a refrigerator or an air conditioner, etc) and sell to you a reduced price.  Buying the stuff is not mandatory for you; in this case, the tenant has to leave the house in the same conditions he had found.
‘Buanderie’: It is the laundry in the basement and usually works in shifts weekly.
‘d.c.’: Comprises charges (including bills). 
‘h.c.’: Hors charges (bills excluded)

Opening a bank account in Switzerland:

Anyone can open a bank account in Switzerland, but the bank reserve the right to refuse a client if that pose a reputational risk or  the origins of the potential client's funds are not clear . 
Banks in Switzerland must verify their clients identity so you will be asked to show a passport or an official identification with a photograph. You will also need to show any documentation that proves the origin of your funds: pay sleep, statement from a foreign bank, etc.
Most Swiss banks do not require a minimum deposit for an ordinary current or savings account.

There are different types of accounts:

  • Current accounts
  • Salary accounts ( Lohnkonto - compte salaire)
  • Saving accounts ( Sparkonto – compte de livret)