November 3, 2020

Reading Time: 3 min

Swiss residence permit for financially independent persons: why are residents several times less than those wishing to obtain the status?

653 foreigners have obtained a Swiss residence permit for financially independent persons over the last 12 years. This is the lowest rate among programmes for wealthy people in Western Europe. Russians received a 30% Swiss residence permit.

Zlata Erlach
Zlata Erlach

Head of the Austrian office

Swiss residence permit for financially independent persons: statistics

Swiss residence permit for financially independent persons: why are residents several times less than those wishing to obtain the status?

Swiss residence permit for financially independent persons is also popular with citizens of Turkey, China, Ukraine and the Gulf countries. The data was provided by the Swiss public television channel Radio Télévision Suisse.

You can obtain a Swiss residence permit throughout the country, except in the canton of Zurich. The most popular destinations for investors are the cantons of Geneva, Vaud and Valais.

Wealthy Russians are attracted by the high standard of living and the stability of Switzerland – economic and political. In addition, Swiss banks are considered the most reliable in the world, which is why investors want to keep their savings in them.

A residence permit in Switzerland for financially independent persons is granted under strict conditions: high annual costs for maintaining residence status and long stays in the country. This is why many investors who are initially interested in a Swiss residence permit choose programmes with more loyal conditions.

Swiss residence permit for financially independent persons: strict conditions

Payment of annual chord tax 一 main item of expenditure. The tax is paid not at the interest rate, but as a fixed contribution. Every canton in Switzerland sets its own tax for foreign investors.

The graph shows the amount of tax in the cantons most popular with foreign investors. It is a contribution for 1 investor who receives a residence permit without family members.

Chord tax by canton, in thousands of Swiss francs


Source: Radio Télévision Suisse, 2020

There are a total of 26 cantons in Switzerland and you can obtain a residence permit in any of them except the canton of Zurich. Each canton issues a residence permit on its own, so the investor chooses the region of the country first.

Residence in the country for a minimum of 183 days per year 一 is also a mandatory requirement for a Swiss residence permit. An investor who complies with the rule becomes a tax resident of the country. On the basis of tax residence, the cantonal administration collects a chord tax.

Swiss residence permit status is issued for 1 year, after which the residence permit must be renewed. If an investor fails to fulfil one of the conditions, the status is revoked.

A residence permit in Switzerland allows you to move to a country with a high standard of living. A resident can also stay in any Schengen country without a visa for up to 90 days within six months.


Alternatives that are chosen by investors

The opportunities provided by the Swiss residence permit can be obtained on more lenient conditions. According to the experience of Immigrant Invest, investors obtained the citizenship of Cyprus or Malta by investment. With the passports of these countries, they could live in Switzerland and travel the world without visas.

Today, the Cyprus citizenship programme has been suspended and Malta’s programme is waiting to be restarted shortly. Investors, therefore, choose to invest in residence permit programmes in Portugal, Malta or Greece.

These countries also have a high standard of living, medicine, education and a stable economy. However, the conditions of their programmes require significantly less expenditure. The conditions for living in the country are either non-existent or minimal.

A residence permit for Portugal, Malta or Greece also allows you to stay in any Schengen country without a visa for up to 90 days every six months. And in Switzerland as well.

Comparison of costs and residence requirements for Switzerland and programmes in Portugal, Greece and Malta


Minimum investment amount

Condition of compulsory residence

From 137 000 € per year

183 days per year

From 250 000 € 一
one-time investment

7 days per year

From 250 000 € 一
one-time investment


From 550 000 € 一
one-time investment


The programmes in Portugal, Malta and Greece have other advantages compared to Swiss residence permit programmes for financially independent individuals. For example, with a Swiss residence permit, an investor cannot work and receive income from companies that are registered in the country. With a residence permit from Portugal, Greece or permanent residence in Malta, an investor can do business in the programme country.