Those who permanently leave Switzerland also have to deal with administrative changes, not just with a new country and new people. Don’t be put off by this. Our checklist for emigrants below addresses the individual points in turn and explains them simply and clearly. The checklist is based on and supplements tips from the FDFA/EDA and other organisations.

In addition, there are some useful links here regarding emigrating and returning.

1 – 2 years before emigration

Information: Inform yourself thoroughly about your future country of residence.

Entry documents / visa:  Depending on your destination, you may need various documents for a residency permit such as a passport, ID card (note: a Swiss ID card can only be used for travel within the EU and EFTA; all other countries require a passport), passport photos, judicial record extract, medical report and banking documents. In some circumstances, the documents must be translated and certified by a notary public. In many countries it is difficult to receive a permanent residency permit. The procedure can last from three months to two years and can cost several hundred francs per person. Enquire at the consulate or embassy of the relevant country as soon as possible.
Language: Learn the local language(s).
Translations: Have the most important documents or your job application dossier translated into the local language(s), e.g. at:

Cost of living: Plan your finances and research the cost of living. Here are some aids for preparing a budget:

2 – 6 months before emigration

Health insurance: Health and accident insurance are obligatory in Switzerland by law. This is usually no longer the case when moving abroad. However, note that for an international policy from a Swiss health insurer you will need to sign the contract before deregistration from Switzerland. We can inform you regarding all health and accident insurance issues. Our partners can prepare specific quotes on request. 
Vaccinations: Ask your doctor which vaccinations are required or recommended for your future home. Vaccination recommendations can be found here:

Medicines: Take supplies of your regular medications with you and find out about the import conditions – you may need a statement from your doctor. Find out where you can source these medications in your new home. Get a copy of your medical history and have it translated if necessary.
Liability and accident insurance: The validity of the liability insurance expires without a domicile in Switzerland. Equivalent liability insurance is not available in all countries; this can be complicated for globetrotters. We offer Soliswiss members access to affordable liability and accident insurance – for globetrotters too.
Bank accounts: Contact your bank and ask whether you can maintain your account and, if yes, under which conditions. We can inform you about possible alternatives in case your bank account is cancelled.
Old-age pension (second and third pillar): Those living and working abroad usually cannot keep contributing to their Swiss employer-based pension fund (exceptions are sabbaticals – provided the Swiss employer agrees). This can lead to gaps later. Even if retirement lies far in the future, take a moment to think about your old-age pension when emigrating. What is to happen with your savings so far? What pension fund possibilities are there? We and our partners are happy to advise and inform you. We offer our members the possibility to save for your pension or retirement as (an) expatriate Swiss.
Property: Do you own property in Switzerland? Discuss with your current bank whether you can maintain the mortgage as an expatriate Swiss. If your bank terminates your mortgage, we have contacts with selected banks which issue mortgages to Swiss domiciled abroad.
Local risks: Get information about the stability and political risks in your selected country of residence and consult the FDFA/EDA’s travel advice. Become a Soliswiss member and protect yourself and your livelihood in the event of crises abroad or when travelling. For premiums from CHF 60/year, as a Soliswiss member you have the possibility to apply for a lump sum compensation of CHF 10,000 if you lose your livelihood due to political incidents.
Taxes: Find out about taxation in Switzerland and your future home. Where will you be resident for taxation purposes? Is there a bilateral taxation agreement? If I work in Switzerland when on holiday, where am I taxed? Where do I pay inheritance tax? Soliswiss shows you where to find the answers. We can provide brief information ourselves. For more complex queries we work with external experts.
Driver’s license: Is your license valid at your destination? If not, obtain an international driver’s license.

Household items: Clarify whether it’s worth transporting everything, or if it’s better to dispose of your household items. Collect some quotes. For example:

Household: Check to see if it’s worth moving all your things, or if it’s better to dissolve the household.
Customs and excise: Inform yourself about the customs conditions for household items, pets and vehicles. Contact your vet if you are taking your pet. Find out which airlines will carry pets and under which conditions. Also consider the Swiss regulations if you intend to bring your pet back to Switzerland. You can find helpful information on this topic at:

Social insurance: Is there social insurance in your new country? Ask your OASI/AHV compensation office whether and how you can continue your insurance coverage. Here is a link to the overview:

Termination of contracts: Consider the notice periods for the termination of subscriptions (mobile phone, newspapers), contracts and services (rental/leasing, gas and electricity, personal and property insurance, memberships, etc.) and concessions (phone, TV and radio connections).
National service: All persons obliged to perform national service must apply for a military stay abroad, or deregister themselves from Civil Defence. Here is a link (not available in English):

Degrees / job: Clarify whether your references and qualifications are recognised at your destination; have them translated if necessary. Some helpful links:

School: If your children are still at school, contact the local education authorities and register your children. Travelling with children: Travelling alone with a child because your partner is/will be travelling earlier/later, or because you’re a single parent? Ensure you have the necessary certified powers of attorney or statements from authorities; keep a translated copy of the birth certificate(s) handy. You can find more information in our article “Emigrating with Children”:

Just before departure

Deregistration: Deregister yourself from your municipality. This is often more difficult than you might think. Deregistration from the municipality does not necessarily end your taxation obligations or obligatory health insurance. Ask us for information regarding deregistering.
Forwarding address: Organise a forwarding address for your mail.
Traffic authority: Inform the Swiss Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office of your move abroad. https://www.umzugsservice.ch/ratgeber/strassenverkehrsamt 
Adapters: Buy the necessary electrical adapters.
Documents: Make copies of all the most important documents and save these online (Dropbox, iCloud, etc.).
Have you thought about all points listed above?

En route / after arrival

Legal conditions: The legal situation is different in nearly every country. Find out about the most important rules, including behavioural rules, in your new country.
Visits to Switzerland: Do you want to return to Switzerland for a visit? Or are you already in Switzerland and want to receive a visit? We are happy to advise you on this and offer uncomplicated access to an insurance option for guests from abroad and for you as a guest in Switzerland.
Crises: As a Soliswiss member, you are automatically covered in the event of crises on journeys of up to 90 days with Plan b. If you would like to make this coverage permanent and also valid in your new country of residence, you can apply for a Plan b Upgrade. Has the change been harder than expected? We can offer you access to psychological consultations, including online if required.
Registration: Register yourself in your new country of residence according to regulations.
Swiss missions: Contact your nearest Swiss mission (embassy or consulate) and register. This can also be done online.
Driver’s license: Have your Swiss driver’s license converted and inform yourself of the local rules for number plates.

Post office and banks: Open a local post office or bank account.

Telephone: Buy a local SIM card.

Enjoy your new life 🙂

Returning to Switzerland

Returning to Switzerland: There is also a lot to consider and prepare when returning to Switzerland. Read our checklist for returning Swiss.

Please also visit our helpful link collection