Living in Switzerland – Information and counselling online  

The integration agreement

Since 2008, the federal act on foreign nationals (FNA) empowers the cantons to establish formal integration agreements. A growing number of cantons make use of this instrument to encourage foreign nationals from other countries to pursue language courses as quickly as possible, and to require them to acquire a better understanding of the values and standards governing life in Switzerland.

The individuals targeted for these agreements are chiefly:
  • foreign nationals of other countries arriving in Switzerland because of a family reunification.
  • immigrants who are already living in Switzerland but who risk losing their right of stay because of their behaviour or because of other special circumstances.
  • individuals who are immigrating to Switzerland as instructors of Language and Original Culture courses or to exercise particular religious duties. If such persons do not have sufficient language skills (level B1), then they absolutely must enter into an integration agreement (Art. 7 VIntA).
Integration agreements are established on an individual basis, taking into account the particular life circumstances of the signatories.

For foreign nationals of EU or EFTA countries and foreign family members of a Swiss citizen or other already established Swiss resident (C class residency permit), there is no legal basis established for integration agreements.

Possible outcomes

As a reward, a foreign national of another country who is well integrated in Switzerland may be awarded a C class residency permit ahead of time, i.e. after only five years.

At the same time, the extension of a B permit may be subject to a requirement to satisfy the requirements of an integration agreement prior to its renewal.

In this section: Cantonal implementations