Moving to Switzerland
Sirelo's Complete Moving to Guide

Are you looking to bring your dream of moving to Switzerland one step closer to reality? If yes, then you’ve luckily stumbled upon the right page. With its delicious chocolate, stunning Alps, and high quality of life, it’s no surprise that Switzerland has managed to lure so many Americans in. To help your move from the US to Switzerland go as smoothly as possible, we’ve compiled everything you need to know in this handy guidefrom moving costs to requirements, we got your back!

Enter your location and receive quotes for your move!

How Much Does Moving to Switzerland Cost?

To get the heavy and not-so-fun stuff out of the way, let’s start by briefly discussing how much moving to Switzerland from the US will cost you. Though there is no fixed number as the final cost of your move will be influenced by a number of factors, we can still provide you with some ballpark estimates to give you a better idea of what you can expect.

Below we’ve outlined for you the costs of a sea-freight move to Zürich for various property sizes from both the East and West Coasts of the United States.

Moving to Switzerland from the East Cost

Property SizeShipping TimeEstimated Cost
1-bedroom6 – 9 weeks$5,700 – $7,800
2-bedrooms3 – 5 weeks$7,500 – $10,200
3-bedrooms3 – 5 weeks$13,200 – $17,700
4-bedrooms3 – 5 weeks$14,100 – $19,100

Disclaimer: the rates shown above are just mere estimates. Your moving costs will vary depending on your actual point of departure, the size of your move and the service rates of the company.

Moving from the West Coast to Switzerland

Property SizeShipping TimeEstimated Cost
1-bedroom7 – 10 weeks$6,800 – $9,200
2-bedrooms5 – 7 weeks$9,100 – $12,300
3-bedrooms5 – 7 weeks$16,300 – $21,800
4-bedrooms5 – 7 weeks$17,300 – $23,200

Disclaimer: the rates shown above are just mere estimates. Your moving costs will vary depending on your actual point of departure, the size of your move and the service rates of the company.

We’ll let you in a little secret: moving costs are generally very difficult to estimate. So, the only way to really receive an accurate estimation is by requesting moving quotes ASAPTrust the experts on this one!

Still on the lookout for an international mover? Look no further!
Choose the size of your move below to receive up to 5 free moving quotes!

Your Brief Moving to Switzerland Checklist

On a scale from 1 to 10, how much do you enjoy putting your memory up to the test? If your answer is a 10, then we challenge you to remember everything that needs to get done during a move to Switzerland! 😉

If you’re leaning more towards the lower end of the scale, don’t worry, we’re happy to give you a hand remembering all the tiny details of your move. As a small teaser, we’ve put together this brief checklist of things you must remember to do while planning your move to Switzerland:

#1. Get On Decluttering!

First things first: remember that the final volume of your move plays a huge role in the calculation of your moving costs. So, if you’re looking to save a few bucks when moving to Switzerland, decluttering is how you do it. Unsure how to go on about it? No need to stress, we’re here to help. Check out our expert tips to learn how to downsize your home like a pro!

#2. Calculate Away

After downsizing your belongings, it’s time to calculate the final volume of your move. Not sure how much stuff you’ve got? Our nifty moving space calculator can help you find it out in the blink of an eye. 😉

#3. Book an International Mover

This is definitely a no brainer, but if moving to Switzerland from the US is really in your plans, you’ll need to make sure you find the international mover that best suits your needs.

We can easily give you a hand with this one by sending you up to 5 moving quotes from different movers (request button below!), but if you’d like to do the work yourself, we advise that you start your search by giving our list of top 8 international movers a look!

Receive up to 5 moving quotes and save on your move!
Request 5 free quotes

#4. Begin Packing with Enough Time

They key to a successful and stress-free move is making sure you take your time with the planning and organization of your move –especially when it comes to packing. After all, you want to make sure that your belongings will arrive safe and sound in your new home in Switzerland, right?

So, take your time and start packing things ahead of time. Begin with the things you use the least and slowly work yourself towards more day-to-day items. As well, make sure you pay extra attention to the packing of your fragile belongings! Check out our expert tips on how to pack fragile items to make sure grandma’s china doesn’t arrive in pieces.

#5. Prepare Your Furry Friend

Last but not least, if you’re moving from the USA to Switzerland with your furry friend, make sure that you’ve carefully followed all the requirements so that you avoid any unpleasantries upon your arrival:

  • Microchip your pet;
  • Vaccinate your pet against rabies and request an original rabies certificate signed by your vet;
  • Request an EU Vet health certificate within 10 days of departure.

Note: for more detailed information regarding the entrance of pets to Switzerland, please refer to the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office’s website.

Pssst! Are you interested in a more extensive moving checklist? If yes, then we got your back. Luckily, we have more than a few tricks up our sleeve that will help you ensure this big move runs as smoothly as possible —check them out here!

Aerial view of the Swiss Alps peaking above the clouds at sunrise in Weisshorn, Switzerland. A place you should definitely visit upon moving to Switzerland!

All You Need to Consider Before Moving to Switzerland

Before embarking the adventure that moving to this Central European gem will surely be (don’t say we didn’t warn ya’!), there are probably a few things you might want to get in check first. As an American moving to Switzerland, you should be mindful of:

Residency

Trust us when we say that we know that the process of sorting out your residency is certainly as exciting as watching paint dry. But, unfortunately, there’s no way around it –we all have to go through it. Assuming that you’re moving to Switzerland for good, meaning that you’ll be staying in the country for more than 90 days, you’ll need to apply for:

Important! Bare in mind that, unless you’re one of the lucky ones who also hold a secondary nationality from an EU country, you’ll need to have both a work contract and work permit prior to moving to Switzerland. Don’t worry, we’ll discuss this in more detail below. 😉

Financial Arrangements

Good news! Opening a bank account as a foreigner in Switzerland is actually quite simple –you can even do it prior to moving. One of the requirements to open a Swiss bank account is to have a valid mailing address. And, since to rent/purchase a property in Switzerland you must have a Swiss bank account, it’s probably best to save yourself the hassle and do it from the States to get it ticked off your list ASAP.

Though the requirements can vary from bank to bank, generally the documents you’ll be asked to provide to open a bank account in Switzerland include:

  • Identification (e.g.: passport);
  • Proof of residence;
  • Proof of where your money comes from (e.g.: employment contract).

Sirelo Tip! Exchanging your currency a few weeks before moving to Switzerland (or immediately upon arrival) will save you a lot of headaches —trust us on that one.

Healthcare

One of the perks of moving to Switzerland from the USA is the fact that you’ll get to benefit from one of the best healthcare systems in the world. Though Switzerland operates under an universal healthcare system, this system isn’t founded through taxes but is rather paid by the individual. This means that although everyone is entitled to medical coverage, all residents must pay for their own private health insurance.

It’s good for you to know that you must sign up for healthcare coverage within the first 90 days of your arrival to Switzerland. So, make sure that you sign up for the Swiss healthcare system as soon as you set foot in the country! Even if you don’t have your residence permit yet, you’ll be able to take out a policy by showing proof of your pending application.

Remember! You can always take out an international health insurance policy back in the States if you feel like this suits you best.

Living in Switzerland as an American Expat: What You Need to Know

As lovers of all things Switzerland, we understand that at this point you might be itching to pack your bags and get on the next flight to Switzerland. But, before you wave the good ol’ Land of the Free farewell, it’s good that first familiarize yourself with what life in this European country looks like. Be ready to start prepping that move because this is the last step to becoming a true moving to Switzerland expert! 😎

Cost of Living

We have some news that might be a bit scary at first glance: living in Switzerland is roughly 29% more expensive than living in the US. But is this really surprising? After all, the standard of living in Switzerland is extremely high and their unemployment rate is super low.

This means that though things might seem quite price, Swiss residents are more than capable of carrying perfectly financially stable lives due to their high salaries (average of $7,227 before tax), so this isn’t really bad news after all!

To give you a better idea of how your money will be spent upon moving from the USA to Switzerland, we have put together this table which summarizes some of the most common living expenditures you might have.

Life in SwitzerlandAverage Cost
Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment1,512CHF (≈ $1,681) per month
Rent for a 3-bedroom apartment2,730CHF (≈ $3,035) per month
Purchase of a property11,266CHF (≈ $12,523) per square meter
Basic utilities192CHF (≈ $213) per month
Groceries400CHF (≈ $444) per month
Gym membership84CHF (≈ $93) per month

Disclaimer: Keep in mind these are mere estimates. Your average monthly expenditures will vary depending on your lifestyle, family size, and the city you reside in.

Working in Switzerland

As we mentioned before, you’ll need to have both a work contract and a work permit before moving to Switzerland. To qualify for a work permit, your employer must justify the reason of hiring you over a Swiss resident, and you’ll generally need to:

  • Posses a degree from a higher education institution;
  • Qualify as a highly skilled worker (e.g.: manager, specialist);
  • Have multiple years of work experience in your field;
  • Show proof of how you’ll improve your professional life while living in Switzerland;
  • Have a minimum of A1 level (both written and spoken) on one of the official languages in Switzerland (German, French, Italian, and Romansch) –if you haven’t achieved this, you must provide proof of enrollment in a language course.

Though these requirements might seem a bit intimidating at first glance, don’t worry. Despite its strict regulations, one-fifth of the labor market in  Switzerland is made of expatsso there’s hope! You might be extra lucky if you qualify for any of the following industries, as they’re the ones with the highest work demand:

  • Engineering
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • IT
  • Financial services
  • Hospitality

Aerial view of the city of Bern, Switzerland on a sunny day

Leisure

As moving from America to Switzerland is really in the cards for you (we’re claiming it already!), it’s only natural that you wonder what the country has to offer entertainment-wise. With its breathtaking landscapes, mouthwatering cheese fondue, and picturesque villages, Switzerland will definitely keep you entertained —and overall just in awe in our opinion. 

To help you picture what your life could be like upon moving to Switzerland, we put together a list of some cool things you can do in the country and their respective costs.

ActivityEstimated Cost
Ticket to Musée d’Ethnographie27CHF (≈ $30)
Daily pass to the Zermatt ski resort79CHF (≈ $88)
Cinema ticket19CHF (≈ $21)
Three-course meal for two100CHF (≈ $111)
Wine tour in Vaud179CHF (≈ $199)

Did You Know…?

  • The mountain depicted in the logo of the famous Swiss chocolate brand, Toblerone, is located in Zermatt, Switzerland.
  • Switzerland has over 7,000 lakes —this one is for you nature lovers out there, the lakes are crystal clear and breathtaking! 
  • Approximately 180,000 tons of chocolate are produced in Switzerland every year.
  • Switzerland is home to Europe’s highest railway station, located on top of the Jungfraujoch saddle at 3,454 meters high.

Moving to Switzerland with Sirelo!

Congrats –a move to Switzerland from the United States is now in the horizon! We hope that after reading this article you feel more than ready to pack everything and embrace your new life in one of Europe’s biggest gems.

If you still feel like you might need some extra help preparing your move to Switzerland, we’d love to continue helping so you can move with a smile. To start off, we recommend checking out the pages we’ve linked for you below. We wish you the best of luck during your move! 🙂