Principal abode

A non-Swiss citizen resident in Switzerland may buy the following without the need for a permit

  • an apartment (detached family house or residential apartment) at the location of his actual place of residence
  • Building land if the construction of an apartment of this nature can begin within one year

Citizens of EU and EFTA member states who are resident in Switzerland 

  • are not deemed to constitute persons abroad

Citizens of other foreign states who are resident in Switzerland 

  • are deemed to be persons to whom the provisions concerning the principal abode are applicable
  • as a rule with a residence permit category B
  • possibly as
    • a person in the service of embassies, consulates or international organisations with a legitimation card issued by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
    • a person in the service of foreign railway, postal or customs administrations domiciled in Switzerland with an official ID

Preconditions for the acquisition of a principal abode without the need to obtain a permit

  • acquisition on the personal name of the acquirer
  • a single residential unit
  • obligation for the acquirer to occupy the property himself / prohibition on letting
  • no restrictions on the surface area
  • no restrictions on the size of the plot of land
    • limits
      • the size of the plot of land may not be so large that the acquisition of the real estate or at least of a part thereof may be considered to constitute merely a capital investment
      • the office of the land register will refer the acquirer of a plot of land larger than 3,000 m2 to the licensing authority, which will then be required to decide whether the acquisition qualifies as being exempt from the licensing requirements or is prohibited on account of being merely a capital investment
  • change of place of residence
    • No obligation to sell the apartment / free disposal
    • Entitlement to use this as a second home or holiday home
    • Right to let this to third parties
    • Right to acquire a new principal abode at the new place of residence
    • exceptions
      • if there was never the intention to occupy the apartment for a prolonged period
      • if the place of residence was changed solely in order to be able to acquire several apartments without being subject to the obligation to obtain a permit
      • ability of the competent authorities to ascertain – including retrospectively – whether this is subject to the obligation to obtain a permit and to order the rectification of the unlawful condition

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