Are you unable to cover your living expenses from your own resources, private contributions or assistance from the country of residence? Then you have the possibility of submitting an application for financial support to the competent Swiss representation.
Application for financial support

The Swiss representations work closely with the SSA. The SSA examines the applications, makes clarifications and decides on the support according to the Swiss Abroad Act SR 195.1.
Swiss Abroad Act SR 195.1.

Multiple nationalities

Swiss citizens abroad with multiple nationalities are not usually granted social assistance if the foreign nationality predominates (Art. 25 SAA). The SSA decides which nationality takes precedence (Art. 16 SAO).
Art. 16 SAO

Social assistance benefits

Social assistance is intended to help you lead a simple life in dignity. Your financial and personal situation will be clarified by the representative with you on the basis of a budget. The calculation criteria for assistance correspond to those of Swiss social assistance, adapted to the conditions in your host country.

Debts are not covered by social assistance.


Social assistance benefits must be refunded in full or in part if a person formerly receiving assistance finds himself in financially favorable circumstances. 

Swiss abroad in Switzerland

If Swiss abroad have returned to Switzerland or are staying in Switzerland temporarily, the social services at the place of residence or stay are responsible for social assistance benefits.

Last update 18.12.2023


FDFA – Consular Directorate CD

Consular protection KD KS
Social services for Swiss citizens abroad (SSA) 

Effingerstrasse 27
3003 Bern

+41 800 24-7-365 / +41 58 465 33 33

365 days a year – around the clock 

The Helpline FDFA deals as central contact point with matters relating to consular services.

Fax +41 58 462 78 66

vCard Helpline FDFA (VCF, 5.6 kB)


Phone free of charge from abroad with Skype

You will receive an error message if the Skype application is not installed on your computer or smartphone. If such a message appears, please proceed to install it right off, simply by clicking on the following link:
Download Skype

Skype: helpline-eda

Start of page