Permit C in Zürich

Hello everyone,
I wanted to ask to those that have been in Switzerland more than I did.

I understand that rules have recently changed and to obtain a fast-track permanent residence permit © you need to present language test.

In the same document I also found some exceptions (underneath). My questions are:

  1. based on your personal or close friend experience do I require to present language test as Italian/French citizen living in Zurich to obtain fast track permit C?
  2. if above yes, are you aware of any exception in canton Zürich for good residents that pay high taxes? :joy: I heard in the past there were cases of granting permit C without even asking for language proof but perhaps the new rule made things tougher.


10. Is proof of language skills required when granting a permanent residence permit to persons from countries that have concluded an agreement with Switzerland on permanent residence?
Some countries have an agreement with Switzerland meaning that their citizens do not have to prove their language skills to obtain a permanent residence permit. This applies to citizens of: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Liechtenstein.15 A citizen of a country with which Switzerland has not concluded a residence agreement must provide proof of their language skills as required by the Foreign Nationals Act and by the ordinance (ASEO).

No personal experience in Zürich but it seems straightforward:

If you are an Italian and French citizen, you do not need proof language skills to obtain the C permit.

It doesn’t depend on cantons for this part.

There are (at least) 4 ways of obtaining a C permit:

  • normal process: 10y residency, need to show some proof of integration (e.g. language test)
  • fast track process: 5y residency, show extra ability for integration (harder language test + iirc some justification)
  • normal process but sped up (e.g. USA): language/integration requirements of the normal process but can apply after 5y instead of 10y
  • reciprocal agreement (the list of countries you mentioned): no test/justification of integration, just submit the papers and permit is granted without conditions after 5y of residency

I moved to Switzerland, Zurich in May 2016 so it’s soon 5 years.
Around two weeks ago I received a letter with an application form and an invitation to renew my Permit B. I called them and asked what’s the process for applying for permit C instead of renewing my Permit. The answer was to just write it in the comments section of the application they sent me.

Anyway I went to the Kreisburo to submit the application, paid a fee of 120 CHF and on Tuesday I have an appointment for my Biometrics. They only asked if I was working for the last 5 years continuously, nothing about language requirements, BUT my country of origin has an agreement with Switzerland and it’s part of the list you provided.

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I used to work with a Belgium guy in Zurich who didn’t need to do any language test for his C permit since he speaks one of the official languages of Switzerland (French).

That’s not the reason though :slight_smile: (because speaking French doesn’t help you getting a permit in Zurich, it’s not Canada where the country is multilingual, in Switzerland you have to speak the language of the canton/city).

It’s just because Belgium is in the same list as Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Greece, etc. (countries who have a reciprocal residence agreement)


Indeed. Just send a letter asking for a C permit, and you’ll get it in the mail - no questions asked. If your nationality is on that list.


Thanks all! Helpful to know and plan! Thank you

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