10 Things To Consider When Relocating From Texas To Switzerland

10 Things To Consider When Relocating From Texas To Switzerland

As one of the safest and most stable countries in the world, Switzerland is a desirable destination for many Americans looking to make a change. This alpine country is known for its stunning mountains, high cost of living, peaceful way of life and strict policy of neutrality. It also offers a culture that is very different from that of Texas (And the United States in general). Before moving from Texas to Switzerland, familiarize yourself with these 10 important factors, and make sure you are excited about starting a new life in this exciting European country.

Close-up Of A Person's Hand Filling Visa Application Form

Visa Requirements

Whenever you take up residence in a new country, one of the first, and most important, considerations is how to get your visa. This document will allow you to legally reside in and work in your country of choice. When moving to Switzerland from Texas, you will need to obtain the appropriate visa in order to remain in the country for longer than 90 days within a 180-day period.

Long-Stay Visa

The visa you need is called a long-stay visa, national visa, or D-visa. Depending on why you are moving to Switzerland, you will need to choose from 4 different types of long-stay visas: Study Visa, Work Visa, Family Reunification Visa (If you have family living in Switzerland whom you will be joining) and Retirement Visa (If you are planning to retire to Switzerland).

Residence Permit

Once you obtain your long-stay visa, you will be allowed to enter Switzerland within a certain period of time. However, the visa itself does not allow you to remain in the country long-term. In order to legally stay in the country long-term, you will need to apply for a residence permit. In order to get this permit, you need to follow these steps:

  • Register at the local Residents Registration Office within 14 days of arriving in Switzerland.
  • Apply for the residence permit through the canton (Swiss state) where you plan to live.
  • Follow the application requirements specific to your situation.

Permanent Residence

Your residence permit will allow you to move from Texas to Switzerland for the long-term. However, if you decide to stay in Switzerland for longer than a few years, you may wish to obtain your permanent residence. As an American citizen, you will be eligible to get your permanent residence after you have lived in Switzerland for 5 years in a row.

Close up of woman hands organizing documents putting files on folder on a desk at homeTips for Moving to Switzerland

The best way to avoid obstacles when moving from Texas to Switzerland is to plan ahead and follow these important tips:

Start planning early. 

Moving to Switzerland from the Lone Star State is a huge undertaking. Do not wait until a few weeks before your move date to start the process. Instead, you may want to begin certain parts of your move AT LEAST 6 months in advance. For example, because of the competitive job market, you should start looking for a job 6 months before your move to ensure you secure a position before the big day.

Wondering how long it takes to get your visa? The process should take about 15 days, but if you encounter errors or high demand, the process could take longer, so make sure you apply early.

In addition to securing a job and a visa, you will need to address these important steps:

  • Hiring an international moving company
  • Decluttering your belongings
  • Packing for your trip
  • Arranging transportation for your vehicles
  • Buying plane tickets
  • Finding a place to live
  • Arranging for the transportation of pets
  • Finding education for your children
  • Saying goodbye to loved ones
  • Exchanging American dollars for Swiss currency
  • And more

The more time you give yourself to go through this process, the less stress you will experience, and the less likely you will be to overlook important parts of the process.

Collect the documents you need

In order to move from Texas to Switzerland, you will need to gather some required materials to prove that you are prepared to legally relocate to your new country.  Here is a list of some of the most important documents you should keep with you during your move.

  • Completed long-stay visa application
  • Four passport pictures
  • Two copies of your passport
  • Any other documents as required by the Swiss authorities

Other documents you may wish to keep with you as you relocate include the following:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Medical records
  • Diplomas and other certifications
  • Relevant financial documents

Prepare for your moving expenses.

The cost of living in Switzerland is very high, and moving can consume significant financial assets. In order to complete your move and remain financially solvent, you should plan ahead of time for your moving costs. Make sure your Swiss income will match your expenses. Prepare a workable budget. And handle these financial considerations before you relocate:

  • Housing
  • Pet transportation
  • Moving supplies
  • New furnishings
  • Flights
  • Hiring a moving company
  • Transportation in your new city
  • Converting your American currency to Swiss currency
  • Opening a Swiss bank account
  • Saving an emergency stash of money

Find a moving company to assist. 

Moving from Texas to Switzerland will require the assistance of a professional international mover. This professional can help you navigate the many logistics involved in an international relocation with less stress and fewer delays. Just make sure the company you hire can offer both reasonable prices and years of proven expertise in international relocations.

Aerial sunset panorama on the downtown of Zurich, Switzerland

Best Places To Live In Switzerland

From the Alps to Lake Lucerne, Switzerland is renowned for its natural beauty and high quality of life. For expats like yourself, there are three areas of the country that are known for their expat communities and comfortable way of life.


Filled with an international population, Zurich is the country’s largest city. It boasts a friendly, small-town feel and an endless array of activities and opportunities to help you get your life in Switzerland started.


The ideal place to live if you want to enjoy breathtaking views of the Alps, Geneva also offers ski resorts, abundant job opportunities, and a focus on banking.


Switzerland’s capital is also marked by a beautiful river and desirable walkability. As a result, Bern makes for a family-friendly and accessible place to set up your new life.

Housing in Switzerland

Housing in Switzerland is nothing like housing in the United States. Defined by small homes occupied by small appliances, they demand that you adjust to a new way of thinking about what constitutes enough space.

In addition, you may need to give up any dreams of home ownership in the country. Real estate is very limited, and housing prices are astronomically high (Averaging 1,190,00 Swiss francs). Instead, plan to rent for the long-term in your new country, and make sure to downsize the amount of things you bring with you from Texas so you can fit everything into your new home.

Climate in Switzerland

The dry Texas landscape, and the consistently hot temperatures, will be a thing of the past when you move to Switzerland. This alpine land offers many opportunities to enjoy snow, which is abundant in the Alps and frequent in the coldest winter months elsewhere.

The country also offers a much more temperate climate. Average winter temperatures are often in the 40s, while summer temperatures rarely get above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, you can learn how to enjoy a wide variety of winter sports while comfortably engaging in outdoor activities even at the height of summer.

A businessman holds a wallet filled with Swiss francs in his hands. Swiss economy, finance and business

Exchange Rate in Switzerland

Before moving from Texas to Switzerland, you should take the time to understand the currency. Switzerland uses the Swiss franc, which has an exchange rate similar to that of the American dollar. However, the franc is a little bit stronger than the American dollar, plus you will need to plan for exchange fees. As a result, calculate what you need to save to exchange your money for enough to live on in Switzerland while you get settled.

Cost of Living Switzerland

Switzerland is an expensive place to live. From rent to daycare, groceries to transportation, you can expect to spend significantly more to maintain the same standard of living that you enjoyed in Texas. Some estimates place an acceptable income at about 10,000 Swiss francs per month. You may need to plan to cut back on some of the things you enjoy in Texas, such as eating out, in order to make ends meet in your new home.

Work/Life Balance in Switzerland

When you move from Texas to Switzerland, you may be pleased to find that the country focuses on work/life balance. Most places in Switzerland close on Sundays, allowing you to have an uninterrupted day off at least once a week. Many Swiss use this opportunity to enjoy time with family and time outdoors.

Closeup the silver ballpoint modern pen on insurance contract with planning in background.

Swiss Health Insurance

Switzerland has a private-pay insurance system, but it is considered universal in that all residents must obtain insurance, and insurance companies cannot deny insurance to anyone. Ranked 20th in the world by the World Health Organization, this system offers good coverage, short wait times and quality healthcare. You should be aware of these aspects of the Swiss healthcare system:

  • No free healthcare services.
  • Insurance providers are private and non-profit.
  • Government regulation ensures reasonable costs for all.
  • Healthcare quality is exceptional.
  • You may have to pay a deductible per person every year.
  • Healthcare coverage is identical from provider to provider.
  • Private supplemental insurance is available.

Swiss Language

Switzerland is fairly unique in the fact that it has four official languages. These are as follows: German, French, Italian and Romansh. Many people in Switzerland also speak English, but if you want to fit in and engage more comfortably with the culture, you should try to learn at least one of these languages. Because so many Swiss speak multiple languages, this ability is a valued part of their culture and embracing different languages should be an important part of your integration into the country.

If you are moving from Texas to Switzerland, you have the adventure of a lifetime ahead of you. Just make sure your move is not part of the excitement. With Ward North American, you can enjoy a stress-free, streamlined move with our highly-trained teams and network of resources. And that can make your relocation easier than you imagined. Contact us today and let’s talk.