Last Updated on April 4, 2017
Investment Immigration: Switzerland Residence Investor Programme
Switzerland Residence Investor Programme
Switzerland is dream destination for many investors. It is one of the most immigrant-friendly countries in Europe and the most sought after by businessmen because of its high standards of living, political neutrality, world class infrastructure, and beautiful landscape. It has been an ideal destination for retired people, business investors and wealthy individuals.
Benefits of Swiss Residency:
- Visa-free travel in Europe
- Privacy and freedom
- Ideal destination for retirees and wealthy families
- Opportunity to invest in or purchase of real estate property
- Choice of Swiss canton, location
An applicant from a non-EU country can get Swiss residence permit in two ways:
- Swiss Company Formation (For Corporates)
- Swiss Lump Sum Taxation (For Retirees)
For investors, businessmen, and corporates, the Swiss Company Formation is the ideal way of obtaining permanent Swiss residency whereas the Swiss Lump Sum Taxation is most apt for wealthy individuals or retirees.
A foreign national is welcome in Switzerland to form a company (in a Swiss canton) which has the scope of creating jobs and economic opportunities for the local Swiss citizens, thereby contributing to Switzerland’s economic development. The company’s owner is eligible to get a residence permit in Switzerland. The most popular forms of company in Switzerland are GmBH/SARL (like LLC) and AG (for corporations). The canton of Zug is the most favourable one to form a company in because of its low corporate taxation.
It is possible to obtain a residence permit in Switzerland by paying an “annual lump sum taxation” fee, which amounts to a minimum of CHF 150,000 (approximately USD 170,000) or more, depending on the chosen Swiss canton (except Zurich). This fee amount may go up to CHF 1 million or more depending on the chosen canton. Swiss residency is granted to people under various categories – retirement, wealthy individuals, or business employee. Anyone who can pay the minimum fee is not required to declare worldwide income and assets.
The most sought out Swiss cantons under this programme are Bern, Appenzler, Fribourg, Jura, Geneva, Graubunden, Schwyz, Nidwalden, St.Gallen, Valais, Vaud, Lucerne, Ticino, Slothurn, Obwalden, Thurgau, and Zug.
The usual time to get a residence permit in Switzerland is 3-4 months approximately.
To be eligible for a Swiss residence permit, the following criteria must be met:
- No employment or occupation in Switzerland
- The first time resident or foreign applicant must not have resided in Switzerland in the last 10 years
Requirements for Rented or Purchased Residence in Switzerland:
To be eligible to apply for residence under this programme, one must be above 18 years of age. Those seeking residence permit under the retirement scheme must be above 55 years of age and provide proof of adequate financial means.
A number of identification documents need to be submitted along with the application and the applicant must also show proof of a clean criminal record and good moral character.
A Swiss residence permit allows one to buy real estate property such as an apartment home without securing any prior approvals from the authorities in Switzerland.
Also by paying a lump sum taxation fee to the Swiss canton, an investor immigrant is not required to declare worldwide income and assets to the Swiss authorities. This is one of the main advantages of residency in Switzerland, when compared to other high tax countries.
The amount of lump sum taxation that an investor needs to pay is calculated based on five times the annual rental income compared to annual living expenses, whichever is higher. For instance, if an investor rents an apartment for CHF 10,000 a month and his total living expenses are CHF 200,000 annually, then his annual rent is CHF 120,000, which when multiplied by five becomes CHF 600,000. Since CHF 600,000 is more than the annual living expenses of the investor, the payable tax will be calculated at 30% of CHF 600,000 annually.
Obtaining a Swiss citizenship is however not easy. After 12-15 years of residency, a person can apply for Swiss citizenship but the decision to grant citizenship is totally at the discretion of the Swiss government.