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Removals to Switzerland

Switzerland is a beautiful country; the beautiful mountains, posh lifestyle and legendary chocolate are just some of the major attractions that draw thousands of people to it from all over the world. Yet with all these attractions relocating to Switzerland can be a major headache.

In order to transcend beyond these impediments, it is important to avoid being caught unawares. Knowing the challenges and cons of relocating to Switzerland beforehand can help you overcome the problems and make your move as smooth as possible.

Challenges When Relocating To Switzerland

Finding Affordable Housing

Switzerland is generally known as a country for the sophisticated and wealthy. This is especially reflected in the housing sector. Finding affordable housing in Switzerland is one of the big challenges people face when relocating. If you are looking for a pet-friendly home with a garden and lots of space in the outdoors then you had better brace yourself to wait for quite a while. When you find one though you can be certain it is going to be worth the wait and the amenities will be top-notch.

Strict Rules and Regulations

Switzerland is also known for particularly stringent housing rules. These are especially as regards noise, curfews and other related factors. Very noisy dogs or playing very loud music might land you in a lot of trouble. If you find housing in an apartment complex you may find that sharing laundry facilities, for instance, is a big challenge.

Lifestyle Issues

Being a country for the well-to-do you might find it hard to fit in at first. With time though you will find people, you can blend in with quite easily. This takes time, however. The Swiss love to speak their native language and for an adult, this may be frustrating if they do not know the language.

If you are moving from a place that is big on the weekends (that is Saturdays and Sundays) then Switzerland will be a big disappointment. Sundays are very quiet with most joints and entertainment facilities closed.

Things to Consider When Moving To Switzerland

Finding Housing before Hand

Before moving to Switzerland it is among the vital things to consider before moving to Switzerland. You need to make living arrangements beforehand. The best way to make sure you are not stranded on arrival is to use a trusted agent. Such agents must belong to the agents association in Switzerland as these are trusted and operate under a code of conduct. If you do use an agent counter check their credentials to ensure that they are not scammers. There is a fee to be paid and you do not want to lose money even before you get to Switzerland.

Finding Work Permits

If you are moving into Switzerland you will most likely need to have with you an employment contract as well as a lease on a housing unit. To get all this and meet all the other requirements set by the Swiss government you have to begin planning way before you actually get on your plane. If you are moving with your partner you can seek out agencies that find employment for couples as this is an ideal situation for most families.

Preparing For Culture Shock

Well, there really is no genuine way of preparing for culture shock because it would then not be named as such. Culture shock can, however, be anticipated to tone down its effects at least. Language, lifestyle, the concept of time (the Swiss are always on time) and dull Sundays are just a few examples. Do a bit of research before you actually travel.

Laws in Switzerland That Allow Immigration

No matter what country you are relocating to, there are always laws that dictate whether or not you can immigrate and if yes, how this is to be done. Last year February saw a referendum that aims to reduce mass immigration into Switzerland. Over 50 percent of the Swiss population was in agreement with this referendum. Its aim was to cut down immigration through quotas.

A similar call to prevent immigration as a way of controlling the population was outvoted by most residents of Switzerland.

For foreign nationals to take up a job position, firms have to demonstrate elaborately that no indigenous Swiss residents qualified for the same position.

It is such immigration laws that have seen Switzerland at loggerheads with the larger European Union bloc of which it is not a member.

While such laws may seem restricting and unfriendly to immigrants, every country imposes immigration laws to control various factors of its population e.g. job opportunities, population size and many more.

As found out, the London home she has been sharing with her ex-husband Prince Andrew to their £13m ski chalet in the luxurious resort of Verbier, interest has once again been sparked in what it is like to pack up one’s bags and move to Switzerland – even if you are not interested in the independence that Sarah Ferguson has been craving after five years of living with her ex-husband in order to keep their family together. Before you pack up your bags there are a couple of things you need to know. Here is a comprehensive guide about what the most important aspects. These have probably not crossed your mind. Keep reading to find out more!

Decide How You Are Going to Move in Advance

There is no denying the fact that moving is expensive. Even if you are simply moving from one end of your street to the other, you are going to feel it when it hits your pocket. Moving in your home town or city is easy and can normally be accomplished within a day. However, international shipping takes a lot longer. You need to decide whether you want to ship your furniture before you arrive so it can be there when you arrive or if you would prefer to have the movers come over when you are about to leave. If you are going to have things shipped before you arrive, consider staying with friends or family until moving. Similarly, if you want to have your current home packed up as you leave, you will need to find temporary accommodation while you wait for your furniture.

Furthermore, while you are allowed to import your personal possessions into Switzerland duty-free if you are moving there, you need to complete form 18.44 which is the Declaration/Application for Clearance of Relocation Goods. Keep it on you so you can hand it in at the customs office when you arrive. For more information on this, check out the Swiss Federal Customs Administration website.

Since the weather can vary according to which shipping company you decide to use, it is also advised to get as many quotes as possible so that you can make an informed decision about what to pack and who to use.

Pets? Get a Vaccination against Rabies

No one wants to leave their beloved animal that is more like another family member behind. If you are bringing your dog or cat with you it will only be allowed into Switzerland if it has been vaccinated against rabies more than 30 days and no longer than one year before the move. This is important.

Got Kids? You Need to Know About Schooling

The schooling system is very different in Switzerland and while it is a great way for your children to learn about the language, it can be tough adjusting. This is especially true for older children and teenagers. It is worth considering enrolling your children in an international school if this is the case. The primary language of instruction in these schools is English which will also make things easier. Get on top of this as soon as you hear of your move as places fill up incredibly quickly.

Learn the Language

Do you know how annoyed you get when people around you can’t speak English? The same can be said for you when you move to Switzerland. The three main languages spoken in Switzerland are French, German and Italian. Figure out what your region you will be living in and learn a few fundamental phrases. Even though most Swiss can speak superb English, the effort you have put in will be greatly appreciated. Considering that you will be trying to make new friends and settle, this could end up going a long way in your overall Swiss experience.

A word of warning – even though those living in the German area learn proper German in school, it is rarely spoken outside of the classroom. Until you are comfortable enough, ask people to speak Hoch Deutsch which is what locals call proper German, until you learn Swiss German.

Enjoy the Experience

Moving country is a daunting experience and there is bound to be some culture shock at one point. Understand that this is par for the course and part of the game. Instead of mourning home all the time, get out on your bicycle and soak in the fresh air. Go hiking, try the food, take breaks in different parts of the country. You will not regret it. 

The ex-pat paradise

Yes, this is how Switzerland has been called lately. "The ex-pat paradise." Sounds encouraging, especially if you are already planning to move there, or at least considering that option. As a matter of fact, Switzerland has earned is the title. It’s a great place to relocate, some sort of isle - or rather, an archipelago, but we will discuss that later - in Europe. It has all you want: a stable economy, amazing landscapes, a multifaceted culture that can suit all tastes, a well-sorted immigrant community that will receive you there, and the best living standards in the continent.

As a matter of fact, Switzerland is so good as an ex-pat destination that many people from within and outside the EU want to move there every year. For these reasons, and due to a referendum that took place last year, the conditions imposed on immigrants tightened up, and now it is a bit more complicated to move there. We’re not saying this to discourage you! Rather, this should confirm how good of a place it is. Our point is that you need to start your research in advance so you know what you need to have and do in order to successfully relocate to Switzerland.

Here is some quick advice for you if you want to relocate to Switzerland. This is meant to be just an introduction to the matter. You actually need to know a lot of things to move there, from paperwork to geography, from cultural traits to legislation on driver’s licenses. We suggest that you get started here and then do further research to find out all you need to know for a successful removal to Switzerland!

Do your research in advance

This isn’t a complicated country, but the high demand for immigration from many countries has made relocation become a quite competitive action. People swarm towards the boundaries of this country and flood the estate agencies and public offices. You should - and in some cases, must - start preparing in advance for your removal.

One thing that you have to understand before moving is that getting a visa to go to Switzerland is more complicated than getting into a country of the EU. In order to apply for a visa or work permit, you must have:

1) A signed work contract in Switzerland;

2) A lease on a Swiss property.

Getting a lease is yet another thing that you must try in advance. There is a huge demand for houses and flats in the country, so you might have some trouble finding a place. We suggest that you get some good estate agents in Switzerland, preferably certified by the Swiss Association of Relocation Agents, which is an extra guarantee on service quality.

Find a relocation company

Some people think that hiring a removals company is the last thing you have to think about when moving because it’s just a detail that you fill up after you make all arrangements. The truth is that your removals company is an arrangement itself. Just think about all the logistics needed for a removal: packing and wrapping every single item that you want to take with you to Switzerland - believe us when we say that you never know how many things you own until you start taking them all out to pack them - having them load on a truck, then taken to the port or airport and transported all the way to the continent, then again on a truck until they arrive at your home in Switzerland, and at last unwrapping everything and putting it in its place.

Luckily for you, Move-Europe has the required logistics already figured out. As you know, Switzerland is a very requested destination for ex-pats, and more and more companies are acquiring the contacts and networks necessary to take these relocations to an end. 

Remember that your household items will always travel slower than you do, so you have two options. Either you ship your belongings ahead of you and take off just before they arrive, or you go to Switzerland first and then wait for your container to arrive at your doorstep. We personally prefer the first one as it is easier and cheaper to stay at someone else’s house for a few days in a city or country that you know, but if you have resources in Switzerland to do so - or even choose to accommodate in a hotel - then you can do that as well. Pick your best option and give it a go!

Moving is an exciting experience no matter how you look at it. It means change and new possibilities. Even if you are simply moving down the road you never know what your new home could end up looking like. While moving to a new home in your home town is stressful enough, things multiply exponentially when you are moving to a new part of the country. This only magnifies when you are moving country.

One of the most popular destinations for people to move to these days is Switzerland. The economy is doing relatively well despite the global economic crisis and there is a wealth of culture to be experienced. This is on top of one of the best schooling systems in the world. These are just a few of the reasons why so many people have decided to move to the magnificent country that is Switzerland.

If you decide to take the plunge and move to Switzerland you will probably have to ship most of your furniture – unless of course, you are willing to buy everything again. Most people simply cannot afford to do that on top of the other expenses involved with moving abroad.

Shipping Household Goods

You have so many things that you have accumulated over the years that you may not know where to start. Before you contact a shipping company, take a look at your home and decide whether or not there are items that you would prefer to sell or donate. It could simply be items of clothing that you may no longer need.

Once you have done this, it is time to get online and find out which shipping companies operate from your home country. If you currently reside in Costa Rica as opposed to the United Kingdom, there could be very different results. The easiest way to find out this kind of information is to go online and do a simple search. You could also take a look at forums that are there for ex-pats and potential ex-pats. People are more than happy to share information and help. You will be surprised at how true this is in such a cut-throat world.


Now that you know which companies do international shipping from your home country, get as many quotes as possible. Ask each company about what options they have in terms of volume and what the prices are. If you are planning on bringing a vehicle to Switzerland you will need to find out about the shipping costs of that as well as it will be different and separate to shipping household goods.

If you are short on time (since you have been offered that fantastic job and need to arrange to school for your children) you might want to consider getting professional packers in to help you. Yes, it will cost more but everything will be done properly and you will not have to worry about breakages while your possessions are at sea.

Finally, get insurance. It does not matter how well packed your household goods are, accidents do happen and the sea has a mind of her own. No one predicted the tsunami in Thailand in 2004 or Hurricane Katrina so it makes sense to be prepared for the worst. If you do not do this you could end up spending a whole lot more than you planned once you arrive.

A Shining Beacon in Tough Times

The global economic downturn shook everyone from banks to homeowners and local businesses. Therefore you might be justifiably worried about using a shipping company that could disappear with your prized possessions. However, the good news is that Move-Europe has it covered. It comes down to the fact that no matter what happens in an economy, people will need to travel and perhaps even more so in times like these. Expats may have had to move back home after crashes in business which could go some way in explaining this. If you are still nervous about using a particular shipping company, why not go to the Embassy and see what previous customers have to say about them? You can also take a look at their history. A good rule of thumb is to think about it this way – the longer they have been around, the more reliable they are. Avoid fly by night companies who have been in the industry for less than five years. More importantly, don’t let the shipping stress you to the point where you don’t enjoy moving to Switzerland!



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