Registration of the Swiss abroad

Registering in Switzerland

Swiss citizens may return to Switzerland at any time, freely choose their place of residence and take up gainful employment. Upon their return, they are required to register with the local residents’ registration office (regulated by canton).

Requirement of military service after returning to Switzerland

If a (male) Swiss national who has been living abroad returns to Switzerland, he will again be required to perform unrestricted military service depending on his age and suitability. Persons who are liable to perform military service are required to report back to the relevant head of section within 14 days, and will then be ordered to report for military duty. An exception applies to Swiss nationals who have lived for more than six years abroad without interruption and are no longer required by the army. However, they are still required to perform civil defence service and pay compensation for non-performance of military service.

Persons who are liable to perform civil defence service are required to report to the relevant regional centre within 14 days after their return to Switzerland. Click on the following link for a list of regional civil defence centres:

Civil defence – Contacts and addresses (fr/de/it)

Young Swiss nationals who have been living abroad and return to Switzerland may be called up for military service until they reach the age of 25. Training at military cadet school may be completed up to the age of 32.

For further information, please contact the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport:

Army Command Office,
Army Personnel (FGG 1)
Military Service / Mutations
Rodtmattstr. 110, 3003 Bern,
Phone +41 31 324 32 56  

Military service - Swiss abroad (de, fr, it)

Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport

Health insurance

Everyone who takes up residence in Switzerland is, in principle, required to take out health insurance cover with a provider of their choice within 3 months. Basic cover may be purchased at any time.

Certain persons (like recipients of an EU/EFTA pension or workers in the EU/EFTA), even though they are resident in Switzerland, may be subject to insurance obligations in an EU/EFTA country.

Click on the following links for further information:

Health insurance: Requirement to obtain insurance for persons resident in Switzerland (FOPH)

Priminfo: Overview of premiums for compulsory health insurance (FOPH)

Santésuisse: industry association of Swiss health insurers

Common Institution under the KVG: Registration of persons insured in an EU/EFTA country who are resident in Switzerland

Swiss old-age and survivors’ pension and disability insurance (AHV/IV)

After returning to Switzerland you will again become liable to pay contributions into Swiss old-age and survivors’ pension and disability insurance. For further information, contact the relevant funds and offices, or Swiss Compensation Office (SCO): 

Information regarding old-age and survivors’ pension and disability insurance

Swiss Compensation Office

Recipients of OASI or DI benefits who wish to return to live in Switzerland (CCO)

Federal Social Insurance Office

Driving licence

Register with the road traffic authority of your canton of residence within 14 days after your return, and enquire about the conversion procedures for your foreign driving licence.

Swiss road traffic authorities (fr/de/it)