The spouse of a diplomat posted to Switzerland normally receives a carte de légitimation, a document that shows that the bearer is entitled to be in Switzerland and possibly enjoys some degree of immunity. If the spouse wants to work, it is possible to exchange this document for a type Ci residence permit.

However, if the spouse is a citizen of the European Union or of a country belonging to the European Free Trade Area, the spouse may instead opt to receive a type B residence permit (see, for example, this page from CERN and the Swiss government's page of relevant documents to which it links).

For a spouse who will be working, what are the practical implications of this choice? Are there any advantages to having a Ci card instead of a B permit, or vice versa? Does the answer change depending on whether the employer is in Switzerland or outside of Switzerland?

1 Answer 1


Not meant to be a complete answer but is probably longer than what the comment section allows.

One small consideration is that time spending on Ci does not count towards the requirement to obtain a permanent residence permit (type C) and therefore may affect the time needed to acquire citizenship. Only time spent on B or L permits for non-temporary purposes (excluding studies, internship etc., except in some particular circumstances) counts for the period (five or ten years depending on the nationality and circumstances) required to obtain an permanent residence permit.

Additionally, as your link says, some privileges or immunities are indeed lost, e.g. dog taxes, obligation to be a firefighter or pay a corresponding tax/fee.

The practical extent of these implications are limited and also depend on the canton and commune of residence. For example, if the couple live in the same household, the dog will still get exemption based on the diplomat spouse's entitlement, as are many other entitlements where the relation with the diplomat alone suffices.

Regarding fire taxes, many cantons (including Geneva and Vaud) have already abolished the fire service obligation and instead substituted a mandatory fire insurance or tax, which are not exempted as taxes for particular services rendered.

The situation with respect to health insurance is more complex and additionally there are particular rules that apply to family members of staffs of permanent missions of an EU country.

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