Second homes

A non-Swiss citizen resident abroad may be granted permission to acquire a second home at the place where he maintains unusually close relations that are worthy of protection; these are deemed to constitute:

  • regular relationships that the acquirer is obliged to maintain in order to safeguard overwhelming business, scientific or cultural interests

The following do not establish relations that are worthy of protection:

  • Relative or in-law of persons in Switzerland
  • holiday stays
  • stay at a health spa
  • stay for study purposes
  • other temporary stays

The following cantons have introduced this reason for a permit:

  • Appenzell Ausserrhoden
  • Basel-Stadt
  • Freibourg
  • Grisons
  • Jura
  • Lucerne
  • Neuchâtel
  • St. Gallen
  • Solothurn
  • Ticino
  • Uri
  • Waadt
  • Valais
  • Zurich.

In respect of a second home of this nature, the rules are as follows:

  • prohibition on letting to third parties
  • obligation to sell within two years if the buyer does not use this as such
  • Only natural persons may acquire second homes, and may only acquire these in their own name.

There are restrictions on the size of the real estate plot and on the net residential surface area. 

If the buyer, his spouse, his registered partner or a child aged less than 18 already own a second home or holiday apartment or a residential unit in an apartment hotel in Switzerland, then the permit may be issued only subject to the condition that the first home is sold before the new acquisition transaction is recorded in the land register. 

The acquisition of a second home by an EU or EFTA international commuter in the region of his place of work is not subject to the obligation to obtain a permit.