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Swiss cross-border commuters

Definition of cross-border commuters

A frontier worker is defined as a person who commutes daily or at least once a week between the country where he lives and the country where he works. 

Requirements for EU citizens

  • Nationality of one of the EU-25 countries (Germany, Austria, etc.)
  • Residence within the EU
  • Working in Switzerland
  • Permanent or fixed-term employment contract (at least 3 months) with local pay and working conditions
  • daily or weekly return to the place of residence
  • Cross-border commuter permit
  • Health insurance

Cross-border commuter permit

Cross-border commuters in Switzerland - Foreigners' identity card G The cross-border commuter permit is valid for 5 years if the employment contract has a duration of at least one year or is more permanent. For an employment contract with a term of 3 to 12 months, the validity of the cross-border commuter permit depends on the term of the employment contract. Often the application is made by the employer, so it is best to discuss this with the new boss beforehand. The new position may also only be taken up after the cross-border commuter permit has been issued. At least 2 to 3 weeks must be allowed for processing the application.

The following is required for the request:

  • Copy of the valid passport or copy of the valid identity card
  • passport photo
  • Copy of the certificate of residence from one of the EU-25 countries

Withholding tax and salary deductions for cross-border commuters

  • 5.15 % - AHV / IV / EO Contribution (old age insurance, invalidity and income replacement scheme)
  • 1.10 % - ALV - Unemployment Insurance (Up to max. CHF 126,000 annual salary, above 0.50 %)
  • 1.30 to max. 3.00 % depending on occupational group - NBUV (Non-Occupational Accident Insurance)
  • 0.40 to 0.60 % depending on employer - KTG (Daily Sickness Allowance Insurance)
  • 3.00 to 9.00 % depending on age and employer - Pension Fund
  • 4.50 % - Withholding tax

As an example, the payroll can look as follows:
Single, 30 years, nondenominational, no children, place of employment Basel, residence Lörrach

  Contribution Share
Gross salary 5'000.00 CHF  
AHV / IV / EO contribution 257.50 CHF 5.15 %
Unemployment Insurance 55.00 CHF 1.10 %
Non-occupational Accident Insurance 72.00 CHF 1.44 %
Daily Sickness Benefit Insurance 22.50 CHF 0.45 %
Pension Fund 210.00 CHF 4.20 %
Withholding tax 225.00 CHF 4.50 %
Net salary 4'158.00 CHF  


Double Taxation Agreement

Switzerland has already negotiated a double taxation agreement with over 100 countries. The agreement stipulates that the full amount of the withholding tax deducted during payroll accounting in Switzerland will be fully credited to the tax return in the country of residence. This agreement prevents cross-border commuters from paying tax twice. The best way to find out whether there is a double taxation agreement between your country of residence and Switzerland is to contact the Swiss Confederation directly. A certificate from the employer is required for the crediting. The wage statement, which is usually enclosed with the pay slip in January, is sufficient as proof. The wage statement is submitted with the tax return in the country of residence and the withholding tax is offset in the annual wage tax adjustment.

Income tax and duties in country of residence

In addition to the taxes in Switzerland, income tax and church tax are due in the country of residence. For income tax, you will receive an advance payment notice from the tax office every 3 months (10.3./ 10.6./ 10.9./ 10.12.). Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to register your cross-border commuter activity with the tax office of your place of residence. The amount of income tax depends on the tax class and the amount of income in Switzerland. The tax rates are the regular ones as for an activity in the country of residence.


It is essential to check with the new employer in good time whether the cross-border commuter permit has been applied for, as it must be available by the time the job starts. Secondly, the "Questionnaire for taking up work as a cross-border commuter" must be completed and submitted to the tax office of your place of residence. Using the information from the questionnaire, the tax office can calculate the amount of the advance payment notices. In addition, the "Certificate of Residence for Cross-Border Commuters" is required from the same tax office. This is needed by the employer in Switzerland so that he can deduct the reduced withholding tax rate of 4.5 % from the payroll.

Child benefit

If you have children of your own and have previously received child benefit in the country of residence, you must notify the child benefit fund of your activity as a cross-border commuter. This is because the child benefit is transferred to Switzerland as a result of working in Switzerland. However, in most cases, lower child benefits are paid in Switzerland. Therefore, if one spouse works in the country of residence, it is possible to apply to the child benefit fund of the country of residence for payment of child benefit. If the spouse does not have compulsory insurance, it is still possible to apply to the foreign child benefit fund for payment of the difference. If both spouses work in Switzerland or if you are a single parent, you are not entitled to receive child benefit.

Health insurance for cross-border commuters

Health insurance is compulsory when taking up work in Switzerland. It is essential to obtain offers from health insurance companies and close any gaps in coverage through supplementary insurance. There are often special insurance models for cross-border commuters. If necessary, I can arrange good health insurance offers from my partnerships.

There is an additional insurance option for cross-border commuters from Germany, Austria, France and Italy. For this you must apply for exemption from compulsory insurance within the first 3 months by submitting an informal application to the Swiss Social Insurance Office. This gives you the opportunity to continue to have health insurance in your home country. However, care must still be guaranteed according to the guidelines of the Swiss Health Insurance Act.

Once you have taken out health insurance, you can hand in the E-106 form, which you receive from the Swiss health insurance company, to a health insurance company in the country of residence of your choice. This gives you an additional health insurance card which you must show when you receive medical treatment in your country of residence. This procedure does not incur any additional costs, but it does simplify the billing for any treatment you may need.

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