Relocating to CH from EU in November - first things in do in 2023?

Dear community,

What would be your recommendations for ‘first things to do in 2023’ for a 36-yo male EU citizen permanently relocating to Zurich area for a new job (B-permit) in November?

Example topics of interest include: health insurance, 3rd pillar, tax optimization/deduction, areas to live long-term/rental apartment search, bank account…

Other life interests include skiing, hiking, travel, passive investing and museums.

Is there anything that should be done already before relocation, in October?
What would you do in 2024?

Many thanks for all suggestions in advance!

Do not open a pillar 3a insurance product.

That said, 3a may be a good idea, especially if you can deduct contributions from income (not sure about current rules on B permit).

Welcome to the land of hiking and skiing, you are coming to the right place :sweat_smile::smiling_face::switzerland:

  • 3rd pillar: check out your tax situation regarding if 3rd pillar contributions make sense and keep in mind that you have to invest the money in 2023
  • Housing costs will be your biggest expense, try to optimize by finding a good deal. (The good deal might not be found on the big websites neither what your collegues recommend but involving a collegue was what got me my good deal)
  • Taxes on salary vary by the community in which you are living at the end of the year. Might be worth to check it in Zürich.
  • Taxes on fortune also vary but are generally not very high, several promille (not percent), so not worth too much consideration in most cases
  • Tax deductions are generally quite straightforward. Note that you will not be able to deduct relocation costs in most cases.
  • You might have to (check Zürich rules) or want to do a tax declaration for 2023, if so, check out if your investments provide a statement of the balance at the end of the year which you’ll need to provide.
  • Health insurance: use the official comparison site priminfo, read a bit up on it to choose the options. Don’t overstress about it, they are quite similar and you can choose again each year.
  • Check out insurances you’re currently having and ones you will need here, but no urgency
  • not for 2023 but you need to exchange your driving license within a year.

It might be interesting to know where you’re coming from for more specific advice.

Any other specific questions?

Generally arriving in CH is quite easy.

One thing you didn’t mention:

  • Be sure to signal your arrival to the community ASAP! It will help you out. Check if you need to / can book in advance.

B permit holder will be taxed on source by default.

The question of investing with 3a and how you are taxed are somewhat convoluted, so don’t hurry.

I also don’t know what is the maximum allowed 3a contribution if you are taxable for a part of the year. So, my advice: pay your taxes in 2023 at source and be done with it.

Advice to “just ignore and be done with it” is not very balanced (but in my experience it will be what everyone will tell you being taxed at source).

  1. You might HAVE to do a tax declaration so cannot “just be done with it” (check cantonal law for reasons to be obliged).

  2. Paying taxes at source and not correcting in a year where you will work only two months in Switzerland may be throwing away a lot of money for all we know. @PI Please correct me if you know how this works without knowing the situation. I tried to figure it out in my double treaty program AND I filled out the tax form and still don’t know if I will pay 2k or get back 2k.

And for the bank account I suggest to become a member of your local Raiffeisenbank and profit from their offers for members, in particular Museenpass.

Hi dmc, welcome!

I remember that for the very first steps the confusing part is often the situation where:

  • you want to rent a home but you need a swiss bank account for that
  • you want a swiss bank account but you need a swiss residency for that…

It required some juggling with the employment contract, supportive letter from the company, draft home rental agreement and a personal visit to the Community office to get a kind of ‘Intentional residence letter’ and with that a bank account, and then everything went smoothly.

Because of this and the helpful community office - your first worry is to find a home.
This is anyway the bottleneck when you are targetting Zurich area.

For the rest: don’t talk to financial ‘advisors’, assess everything yourself first, there are many sources online (like here). Such advisors seem to have information about new arrivals sometimes and some say they prey on them.

  • Find a home
  • Talk to the Community office and tell them about your arrival (best in person)
  • Get a bank account

The rest when you are here


For health insurance, in Switzerland there is the BASIC one and the COMPLEMENTARY one. The BASIC one is mandatory, as @Moustachienne said, check the website: Prämienrechner 2024 – Priminfo.

For the COMPLEMENTARY, if you take the same issuer as the BASIC, you will have a discount. But for this insurance, you should compare between all the issuer and only take what you truly need or want.

For other insurance, check these:

  • Liability insurance (you need one in order to rent an apartement)
  • Household insurance

For all insurances, you should avoid going to an advisor/broker even if they are recommended by your company or future colleagues.
You can find and compare offers on internet without bias.
E.g.: for liability or household insurance Smile.home.

For the 6 weeks deposit of your flat the cheapest option will be to open a saving deposit account at your bank. It will cost you a one off fee of 50.- rather than renting this deposit through a company affiliated to your future Regie for 5,6% 1st year then 3,6% each year(e.g. Smart caution)

Do not subscribe to the accident insurance for your Heath as it will be provided by your work.

Internet fiber subscription are usually for 2 years so check on other threads on this forum listing discounts (e.g. Qoqa offers ).

Good tips!
Rent deposit accounts are free at my bank :blush:

Buy a GA travelcard right after landing, and go explore Switzerland in your free time.

IMExperience it’s on the landlord to secure this account (in some/most cantons), the renter is not obliged to pay for its maintenance.

That’s a bit steep for a newcomer, isn’t it? :sweat_smile:

I’d rather advise - get yourself a Halbtax.

And for “weekend trips” and such, on SBB look for supersaver tickets wherever you intend to go in advance (from 14 days before or so).

Also explore Gemeindekarte (a day pass from local municipality).

Also depends on how he’s getting to work and whether he’s bringing a car or not :relieved::wink:

It is possible, no issue (you do a simplified tax return, as long as the income and wealth is below certain threshholds). But for the 2 months it might be probably not worth it.

(I would rather focus on other stuff, an international move is costly - timewise and moneywise).

EDIT: As pointed out by Jay it is a full tax return in all cases to claim 3a deductions.

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No, simplified tax returns for people taxed at source have been abandoned since tax year 2021. If your income and wealth are below the thresholds, you can choose to file a full, ordinary tax declaration, or remain taxed at source without any 3a deductions.

Thanks for pointing that out. Didn’t see the evolution happening since I am not concerned anymore.
Is that the case for every Canton ?

Yes, that was a federal change in the Quellensteuerverordnung: Fedlex