In Switzerland, certain professional activities require regulatory approval. Foreign nationals need a residence permit and a work authorisation for employed and self-employed employment in Switzerland. This dual licensing system distinguishes between citizens of EU and EFTA nations vs. foreign nationals from countries outside the EU and EFTA.

Permits for Foreign Workers: In accordance with the current treaty of free movement of persons between Switzerland and the EU, citizens of EU25 and EFTA countries enjoy unrestricted freedom of movement of persons without any quotas. This means that in the labour market they are on equal terms with Swiss citizens. Residence and work permits for EU2 citizens and foreign nationals from non-EU and non-EFTA countries are allocated according to set quota: Permits are generally restricted to highly qualified and specialised professionals, executives, scientists and renowned specialists from the cultural and creative industries (provided that certain conditions are met). More information

Cross-border Commuter Permit: Cross-border commuters from EU- or EFTA-countries are generally allowed to establish a sole proprietorship in Switzerland. To be approved as self-employed by the Swiss authorities, you must present the relevant documentation, such as a business plan, an extract from the commercial registry, a lease agreement, customer orders, invoices, etc. The confirmation is then issued by the cantonal compensation office (Ausgleichskasse).


Cantonal contact points

Compensation Office Canton Basel-Stadt

Compensation Office Canton Basel-Landschaft

Compensation Office Canton Jura

The cross-border commuter permit is issued for five years by the cantonal migration office.


Cantonal contact points

Migrationsamt Basel-Stadt

Kantonales Amt für Industrie, Gewerbe und Arbeit Basel-Landschaft

Département de l'économie et de la santé (DES)


Occupations that are subject to Regulatory Approval: While many occupations can be carried out in Switzerland without any special permit or license, others are subject to regulatory approval. Depending on type and location, certain professional practices require permits issued by the federal or cantonal authorities. Some activities may require both cantonal and federal approval. We would be pleased to support you in clarifying the permit requirements of your investment project in the Basel Region.


Cantonal Guidelines

Portal of authorisations - Canton Basel-Stadt (in German)

Portal of authorisations - Canton Basel-Landschaft (in German)

Working and operating permits - Canton Basel-Landschaft (in German)

Portal of authorisations - Canton Jura (in French)


Regulated Professions: Some professional activities in Switzerland are subject to regulations: Practising these professions is only permitted if the company founder can provide special, government-approved qualifications. The same requirement holds for company employees performing regulated professional activities.

Regulated professions are governed by law and conditional upon the submission of a diploma, certificates, or proof of competence. Certificates obtained abroad must be recognised by Swiss authorities before taking up professional practice. The State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) is the central authority responsible for this. In recognising a foreign diploma or certificate, SERI issues confirmation that it is equivalent to its Swiss counterpart. If SERI’s findings amount to crucial differences between the foreign and Swiss training, it may arrange for measures to compensate for this (qualifying exam, vocational practical training etc.). More information

Sébastien Meunier

Your contact person

Sébastien Meunier

Director Industrial Transformation and Entrepreneurship

Contact us
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