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Moving to Geneva

Switzerland, Geneva

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What you need to keep in mind when relocating to Geneva...


Switzerland has a very good educational system which includes government schools, private schools and international schools. 
  • Preschool/ Kindergarten: is available for children from 32 - 72 months.
  • Primary School: is available for children from 6 - 12 years and is free of charge in public schools
  • Lower Secondary School: School is available for children from 12-16 years.                                         
  • Upper Secondary School: from this one you can continue with doing vocational and general education.
  • Vocational School: is available for those who finished their secondary education and takes   2 - 4 years.
Higher education is available for those who have finished their vocational educational and want to specialize in their course.


Unfortunately finding a house in Geneva is very difficult. This is not only because it is one of the world’s most expensive cities (currently positioned 5th in a list of the most expensive cities in the world) but also because there is a serious shortage of room to build more accomodation. That’s why it is very important to search for a property as soon as you know you are on your way to Switzerland.. 
Some people also choose to stay in the French cities bordering Switzerland because the travel time is only 20-40 minutes to Geneva. Residencies there are easier to find and the costs of living are much more affordable. But keep in mind that depending on your nationality you may need to arrange for a French visa and residency permit.
Type of cost Price in Fr.
Monthly rent for 85 m2 (900 Sqft) furnished accommodation in EXPENSIVE area CHF 3,646
Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas ...) for 2 people in 85m2 flat CHF 196
Internet 8MB (1 month) CHF 48
Hourly rate for cleaning help CHF 25

Medical Care

Health care in Switzerland is very good and has earned a very good reputation over the years especially in Europe. Swiss healthcare is almost on top of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries.Switzerland has total of 313 hospitals which are being split in government hospitals, private hospitals and university hospitals.

The cost of medical care in Switzerland depends on your choice between private or public hospitals. If you chose to go private then your  insurance may not cover the costs of your treatment at all. Similarly if you choose to go to a public hospital you will be able to declare the cost of your treatment but maybe not. Check first with your insurer before you are admitted as this depends on the your individual insurance and the treatment you recieve.


Although Geneva is a small place, but it is one of the leading shopping cities in Europe, competing with Paris and London. Geneva is a luxurious place and is specialised in the finest thing life has to offer. This provides many job opportunities in the retail sector. Another very large job market is in the production and retail of watches, Switzerland itself is wprld reknown for its watches of immaculate quality and state of the art designs. A lot of big names in the market of watches are located in Geneva, for instance SWATCH, Omega, Piaget and many others. In addition their are jobs to be found in:
  • Consulting
  • Bank and Finance
  • IT
Finding a Job
Unemployment is generally low in Geneva and finding a job shouldn’t be too difficult. Switzerland in general is a country that does a lot of international business so expats are desired. There are even vacancy websites specialised in finding jobs for expats, for example

Bank Accounts

Everybody can open and a bank account and receive money in any currency they want. If you are a foreigner you can also open a bank account but the bank will then look into your earnings and decide how much money you need to deposit to keep your bank account. While opening a bank account you will be asked to show your passport or identity card. But be warned, if the bank suspects that your money is coming from criminal activities then will reject your request and immediately inform the police. 
List of Swiss banks


Switzerland has different visas for different purposes and visits:
Short term visa: is when you are visiting Switzerland for a family visit, friend visit and as a tourist. You can stay for maximum 90 days.
Long term visa: you will be permitted to stay longer than 90 days in Switzerland. Duration of your visa depends on the reason of your long term stay. If you as a foreigner want to work in Switzerland you must also apply for work permit which once approved comes together with your long term visa. If you are planning to get your degree in Switzerland then you will get a student visa which will be expiring once you are done with the education. Once finished with your education and you want to stay in Switzerland because you have found a job then there is also a possibility of getting a new visa which also includes work permit.

Cost of Living

Costs of living in Geneva are pretty expensive compared to other cities, of course it differs in a lot of subjects but here is an useful link where you can check the prices of common expenses Numbeo


In the schematics beneath you will find the income tax ratings in different cities of Switzerland including Geneva.
Rate Geneva
Statutory rate IFD 8,50%
Combines Tax statutory 31,99%
Effective rate IFD 6,44%
Tax effective rate ICC 17,80%
Tax combined effective rate


Cars and fuel
Gas prices are standard 1, 52 EUR for 1L of petrol and 1, 44 for 1L of diesel. Car prices are also average because they don’t have any extra taxes or something. More than 90% owns a car in Switzerland.
Driver’s license
Foreigners with foreign driver’s license can drive for 12 months with foreign license before they need to exchange it for Swiss one.  If the language of the driver’s license is recognized by the Swiss authorities (English, German, Italian or French) then you can exchange it for an International one and with that one you can drive without doing any test. 
If you were a resident of the EU before moving to Switzerland than you can exchange you driver’s license for a Swiss one within 12 months, once those 12 months have passed and you haven’t applied for a Swiss one than your license becomes invalid and you have to take the practical test again.Residents from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan and USA can exchange their driver’s license for the Swiss one by only doing the theory exam.
Public transport
Geneva Is equipped with a lot of different types of public transportation, tram; trains; busses and even taxi-boats. Tickets for any form of transportation in Geneva are available at every stop in the city.


In the schematics beneath you will find the weather standards of Geneva throughout the year.
Temperature - Precipitation - Sunshine °C | °F
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May June
Average high in °C 4 6 10 14 18 22
Average low in °C -2 -1 1 4 8 11
Av. precipitation - mm 82 83 81 66 78 91
Days with precip. 11 10 10 9 11 10
Hours of sunshine 50 76 131 161 181 212
  July Aug Sep Oct Nov JDec
Average high in °C 25 24 21 15 8 5
Average low in °C 13 13 10 7 2 -1
Av. precipitation - mm 68 80 82 78 94 88
Days with precip. 8 9 8 9 10 10
Hours of sunshine 255 225 185 114 61 42