Residency during 3 year ER travelling?

We plan to RE in 3 years. By then, we should both have our C permits. We will be 50/55 y.o by then. We are unsure in which country to retire in the longer term. For now, the plan is to reside still in Switzerland, travel for three years and then find our place to settle down. Our questions:

  1. Do we need to declare ourselves as retired or it an option to be listed as unemployed? There is always the scenario that we wish to get back to work if we hate ER…
  2. Will Switzerland allow us to keep an address here while travelling (I assume we still pay AHV and health insurance here?)
  3. Can we be in trouble if our Swiss permanent address is not where we spend our time (as we are travelling abroad in various countries)? Tax implications?
  4. Do you need an actual apartment or is there a cheaper solution - we just need an address not a home for these 3 years, rent seems wasted?
  5. Any idea of which health insurance one must have for such a plan? 6) is any of this canton dependent?
  1. I think for unemployments you need to fulfill the RAV criteria to see some money. You’ll need to see te RAV people once in a while and proof you are trying to get a job
  2. Why not. As long as you pay your taxes, you can travel as long as you wish. You may also cancel your residency (abmelden) without a permanent new address. Beware that your swiss bank may be scared that you go to live in the US and kick you out of any contract and account.
  3. Not if you pay your taxes.
  4. Try to get a friend of yours to receive your mail. C/o address and google “Weltenbummler”
  5. Talk to your health insurance. I guess a Reiseversicherung and or a REGA Mitgliedschaft will be better for you

… no ethical second thoughts?

1 Like

Read this.

Gemäss Art. 61 Abs. 2 AIG erlischt die Niederlassungsbewilligung, wenn sich der
Ausländer während mehr als sechs Monaten tatsächlich im Ausland aufhält. Stellt er
vor Ablauf dieser Frist ein entsprechendes Begehren, so kann die Niederlassungsbewilligung für längstens vier Jahre aufrechterhalten werden.

If you leave Switzerland for more than 6 months, you will automatically lose your C permit. I don’t know how they check it, though. If you want to extend this period, you have to file a request at the migration office.


I would absolutely NOT report myself as unemployed. Unemployed is a person looking for a job, which you will not be. Yes, you would get unemployment benefit, but it’s not meant for retired people, but for ones who need income because they are between jobs. I think doing this could also increase the risk of losing the permit.

That being said, you should still pay AHV, so I don’t know how this is arranged. Maybe pay a visit to the town hall (Gemeindeamt) and ask.

1 Like

I think @finalcountdown wasn’t asking about being listed as unemployed for the sake of getting unemployment benefits. It seems the they were more concerned about retaining the possibility to get work afterwards, if they had/wanted to.

1 Like

Thanks all. Indeed the question on unemployment was not to get benefits but simply understand what status we need before official retirement age. A lot of great advice. If you do not have a permanent address, then where/how will you be taxed? In the last canton of residency? Does the mail c/o address of a friend need to be in the same canton? If you lose C permit after 6 months, this is an issue, we would then keep renting an apartment and go back every 6 Months.

And finally, if we RE, we still need to wait 3 years before we can get pillar 2a out without losing the tax benefit?

x---- [strike]I’d do that. I’m no specialist of C permits but my understanding is that, as long as you are not reliant on welfare to sustain yourself or your family and you are compliant with your obligations, it can’t be revoked. The project is probably feasible but there are probably mandatory steps and announcements that could have consequences if missed.

The resident’s registration office of your town should be able to inform you on whether or not you can do it and, if you can, what mandatory steps you must take to insure you keep your permit and don’t face legal/tax consequences. As long as you can prove that you have the means to sustain yourself in retirement, they’ll probably be happy to ensure that you can keep paying your taxes in Switzerland while travelling aborad.[/strike] —x

Scratch that, since there’s going from a B permit to a C permit involved in the process, less than 3 years before going into early retirement, I’d seek legal advice first. Providing false information to get a permit is one of the conditions that allows for it to be revoked and getting a C permit may be linked with employment (or not, there again, I’m not a specialist).

Google «Weltenbummler Steuern», «Weltenbummler AHV» and so on. I found this:

It should be noted that the article is from 2003. Back in the days when Swiss banks didn’t report accounts to foreign tax authorities, when banks (still) cared very little for taxes but left taxation to the account holder.

I am skeptical about how well the claim “Oh, I don’t have a residency anymore” would fly with banks and brokers - especially foreign ones.

1 Like

Don’t listen to anyone here.
Go get professional help.
Don’t think that since you pay taxes you won’t get any trouble at all. If you don’t have an address but a friend might get your post, you might get into trouble.
Your permit might change while traveling or not having a job.

Also I believe some of the links might refer to swiss people only.


Not earning money means you still need to pay for ahv. They determine the amount based on your wealth.

Also some cantons are quite strict regarding keeping a c license while being abroad for longer.