If you want to make a trip around the world, it is not easy to get reliable information. Some of the most important questions, answered very briefly:
Most municipalities require you to deregister if you are traveling abroad for more than a year. Municipalities are required to note the country of destination when deregistering. However, world travelers do not have a destination country at the moment. The Federal Statistical Office requests the residents’ registration offices to enter “destination country unknown” for world travelers as part of the harmonization of cantonal and communal residents’ registers.
The domicile Switzerland remains also with Deregistration
This may seem strange to you, but according to the Swiss Civil Code, your Swiss domicile remains intact even if you are deregistered with the municipality, at least as long as you do not establish a new domicile anywhere abroad. So, if you sail through the oceans or cycle from country to country without taking long breaks, you do not establish a new domicile and the domicile Switzerland continues to have effect. This has consequences for many things, including health insurance and AHV.
World travelers remain in principle compulsorily insured in Switzerland.
The Federal Office of Public Health FOPH is very clear about the compulsory health insurance of globetrotters:
“Compulsory health insurance cannot be cancelled or suspended during a stay abroad or a trip around the world. The obligation to be insured in Switzerland is linked to the legal residence of the persons concerned. As long as they do not take up residence abroad, they remain subject to compulsory insurance in Switzerland. According to the Swiss Civil Code (ZGB), a person’s domicile is the place where he or she resides with the intention of remaining permanently (Art. 23 ZGB). A person’s domicile, once established, remains in force until a new domicile is acquired (Art. 24 CC). Deregistration with the municipality of residence alone is not sufficient to terminate residence in Switzerland.”
This also makes a lot of sense, for example, Switzerland remains the destination country for a possible repatriation.
For health insurance, the cantonal rate from your last place of residence in Switzerland still applies. But be careful, you should inform the health insurance about the world trip. Also, there are always cases where health insurers do not follow the FOPH rule and cancel the insurance. It is worthwhile to clarify whether you need additional travel insurance or, depending on the situation, even an international health insurance is indicated.
Globetrotters can continue to pay into AHV
Your Swiss residence also continues to have an effect on the AHV as long as you do not establish a new residence abroad. You are therefore still affiliated to the compulsory AHV. However, your cantonal AHV fund may require you to submit documents showing that you have always been on the road. It is therefore worthwhile to keep receipts and to document the trip, then you can avoid AHV gaps.
Also, the tax liability in Switzerland basically remains and you still have to fill out a tax return. So, should you become a well-known travel blogger or move around the world as a digital nomad, taxes will still be owed on your assets and income in Switzerland.
As with emigration, globetrotting is usually very individual: do you travel by car or your private camper, do your school-age children travel with you, do you work for a Swiss or foreign employer while on the road, or are you wondering what to do with your home, your mortgage, if any, and how to proceed if plans suddenly change?
We are happy to support you so that everything goes as smoothly as possible during the organization, because it is better to travel well prepared.