Living in Switzerland – Information and counselling online  

Return to your country

Many migrants choose to return to their home country for their retirement. Be sure to prepare carefully and make sure your return goes smoothly. Get information from Cantonal Migration Offices, from migrant associations and from your country’s consulate. Make sure you know the financial implications of leaving and beware of losing your residence permit. Leaving Switzerland for more than a few months means renouncing residence and settlement rights, whatever your permit and however long you have lived here.


Social Security

Upon leaving Switzerland, citizens of many countries may claim back your pension accumulated contributions (old-age pension AHV and occupational retirement pension BVG), either in the form of a one-off capital payment or of regular retirement payments. The relevant forms are available on the AHV website ; for your occupational pension, ask your employer how to collect your accumulated capital.


Old-Age Pension AHV (First Pillar)

Citizens of the EU and of EFTA member states may receive pension payments directly in their home countries, as set out in the agreement on the Free Movement of Persons. For more information, consult the website Social Security in Switzerland and the EU.


Switzerland has signed social security agreements with various countries, allowing citizens to receive retirement payments directly in their home country. Concventions exist with: Chili, Israel, Canada, Cratia, Macedonia, the Philippines, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Turkey, Hungary, the United States and Cyprus. 


Citizens of countries which have not signed a social security convention with Switzerland may claim their accumulated capital in a one-off payment (no interest).
Please note
You have 5 years after retirement to claim back your pension contributions. Any pension payments made in Switzerland during this period will be deducted.


Occupational retirement pension BVG (Second pillar)

Personal occupational pension plans are not regulated by international agreements to regulate. Payments are made according to the rules of each pension fund.


Voluntary Private pensions (Third Pillar)

Your contract with the private pension fund (bank, post-office, insurace company) will define how to acces your savings if you leave Switzerland.   



Cantonal migration offices can inform you about formalities you must carry out on leaving definitvely. Formalities for Citizens of the EU and of EFTA member states are set out in the agreement on the Free Movement of Persons.


Departure declaration

If you leave Switzlerland for more than 6 months, you must declare your departure at your local authority’s resident registration office. Your landlord must also declare thy you have left to local authorities. 


Consequences on your residence or settlement permit

Your departure declaration (or a stay of 6 months abroad) leads to loss of your residence or settlement permit. If you wish to return to live in Switzerland, you will have to apply for a new residence permit. 


EU and EFTA citizens who leave Switzerland have the right to return indefinitely. 


However, third country nationals who leave Switzerland for more than 6 months or who make a departure declaration lose all right to return. Settlement permit holders (C permit) may request an extension of their permit for a maximum of two years.


Be very careful about leaving Switzlerand when you retire. Think about your future plans. Do not immediately make your dparture declaration. Spend a trial period of 6 months abroad to be sure it is the right choice.

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