Living in Switzerland – Information and counselling online  


Housing provided depends on the asylum status of the person concerned.

On claiming asylum

You will at first, or for the duration of your asylum procedure, live in the reception and asylum processing centre. If you claim asylum in the airport you will initially be housed on-site and will not be able to leave the transit zone.

During the asylum procedure

Asylum seekers usually live in communal residential centres. In some cases, they may be able to live in their own apartment, for example, if the procedure is extended in duration, if the asylum seeker finds work or has a family.

After an unsuccessful asylum claim

Those whose claim has been dismissed without entering into the substance of the case (Nichteintretensentscheid / non-entrée en matière) will not be transferred to a canton. At the end of the procedure, they will have to leave the registration centre and are required to leave the country. If they are unable to leave Switzerland, they may seek shelter in a hostel offering emergency assistance.
Rejected asylum seekers must leave their housing centre or apartment within the deadline fixed for their departure. If they are unable to leave the country, they have the option of going to a centre offering emergency assistance.

Recognised refugees

Recognised refugees can move into their own apartment.  

Place of residence

Asylum seekers are assigned to a canton and must stay there. 

Temporary Admission

The F permit is valid in the canton where the applicant has previously resided. Within this canton, those temporarily admitted have the right to choose the commune (Gemeinde / comune) they reside in. They are not permitted to change cantons unless they are able to prove that the whole family can continue to live together. Changing cantons is decided by the Federal Office of Migration. 
Refugees first receive a B permit, which is valid in the canton where they were resident during the asylum procedure. Within this canton, they have the right to choose the commune (Gemeinde / comune) they reside in. In order to change cantons, they must get special approval from the migration service of the canton where they intend to move to. Five years after their arrival in Switzerland, refugees are granted a C permit (settlement) and can choose freely where to live in Switzerland. 

In this section: Work, Accommodation, Residence Permits, Family Reunion, Marriage, Education and Training, Health