In general, is the foreign spouse of a foreign UN officer stationed in Geneva permitted to take employment in Switzerland? If so, is the permission automatic or must one apply for it?

I have tried to find this online, but the multiplicity of permits or "legitimation cards" is confusing.

If the spouse's nationality is relevant, please consider both the case of an EU citizen spouse and a "third country" spouse (that is, one whose country of citizenship is neither in the EU nor EFTA).

  • Is this useful: hr.un.org/sites/hr.un.org/files/…
    – mkennedy
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 19:20
  • @mkennedy very much so, thank you. If you would like to write an answer based on that document, I will accept it.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 7, 2021 at 20:29

1 Answer 1


According to Guide to Employment of Spouses of UN Secretariat Staff Members, a spouse or child (under 25) requires a "type Ci residence permit with gainful employment."

It appears that a spouse or family member enters Switzerland with an Attestation upon arrival. If a spouse or child wishes to work (not for the UN), they apply to OCPM (Cantonal Office of Population and Migration) or a similar cantonal office. OCPM will require a contract, proposed contract, or paperwork to support self-employment (such as monetary support while starting the business). If approved, the person will be issued a permit Ci.

There are a few other restrictions like the person must live with their UN employed spouse or parent and if that person leaves Switzerland or stops working for the UN, the Ci permit will be stopped.

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