I am working in Germany and have a blue card. The blue card will expire in one year.

I am moving out to Switzerland (with a valid passport and authorized work permit next month) for work and I think I will have only a Schengen visa there and no Blue card.

My passport is going to expire after one year. I can't renew my passport until two years (one year after the expiration of Schengen visa) from my embassy. That is because males can't renew their passports, from my embassy, until the final exemption from the military service which will be after two years for me.

I have a couple of questions:

  1. Is that's a problem to wait in Switzerland for renewing the passport after one year of its expiration date? That's considered only as a delay, right?
  2. Is there is anyone in Switzerland to notify to move that forward and maybe help me out?
  • You will need a work/residence permit in Switzerland. You will need a valid passport to obtain it. When are you planning to move to Switzerland (relative to the expiration of your passport)? How long do you plan to stay there?
    – phoog
    Mar 9, 2022 at 23:09
  • I updated the post with this info. I will be moving with a valid passport and a work permit next month.
    – dexer
    Mar 9, 2022 at 23:22
  • Let me rephrase the first sentence of the previous comment: you will need a work permit issued by the canton where you will be living and working. I don't believe that it is possible to obtain this before you arrive in Switzerland.
    – phoog
    Mar 9, 2022 at 23:27
  • 1
    You have a blue card issued by Germany. That document doesn't permit you to work in Switzerland. You will need a new work permit before you can work in Switzerland. I don't know whether the Swiss permit will expire with your passport, but I suspect that it will. I don't think you will simply be able to wait for an entire year before renewing it, but I don't know for sure.
    – phoog
    Mar 10, 2022 at 6:08
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    That's not the only question you should be asking. As explained by @phoog, the document you described (an EU blue card issued by Germany) does not give you the right to move to Switzerland and work there legally. You need to figure out how to get a Swiss work permit (which one, whether you qualify, how to apply for it, etc.) Once you figure that out, you can worry about maintaining that status. Right now, we don't even know which status you would have in Switzerland.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 10, 2022 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


As mentioned in comments, you will need to apply for and receive a Swiss work permit (issued by the canton but governed by federal law) before you can work in Switzerland.

There is indeed a requirement to have a valid passport at all times, found at Article 89 of the Federal Act on Foreign Nationals and Integration:

Foreign nationals must be in possession of a valid identity document recognised in terms of Article 13 paragraph 1 during their stay in Switzerland.

Article 13(1) is the article that requires the presentation of a passport when applying for the residence/work permit. For context, here are articles 11 through 13 in their entirety:

Art. 11 Permit requirement for period of stay with gainful employment

1 Foreign nationals who wish to work in Switzerland require a permit irrespective of the period of stay. They must apply to the competent authority at the planned place of employment for this permit.

2 Gainful employment is any salaried or self-employed activity that is normally carried out for payment, irrespective of whether payment is made.

3 In the case of salaried employment, the application for a permit must be submitted by the employer.

Art. 12 Registration requirement

1 Foreign nationals who require a short stay, residence or settlement permit, must register with the competent authority at their place of residence in Switzerland before the expiry of the period of stay not requiring a permit or before they take up employment.

2 Foreign nationals must register with the competent authority at the new place of residence if they move to another commune or to another canton.

3 The Federal Council shall determine the time limits for registration.

Art. 13 Permit and registration procedures

1 Foreign nationals must produce a valid identity document at the time of registration. The Federal Council shall determine the exceptions and the recognised identity documents.

2 The competent authority may require an extract from the register of convictions in the applicant's country of origin or native country as well as further documents that are necessary for the procedure.

3 Registration may only be carried out if all the documents indicated by the competent authority as necessary for granting the permit are provided.

I don't know whether any exceptions exist for people in your situation. You may be able to find out at the cantonal immigration office. A list of these is available on the federal website.

If you can apply successfully for asylum then you can get a refugee travel document under Article 59, but you would need to have a better reason for avoiding military service than simply not wanting to do it.

  • I believe the (German) Swiss term for this Schriftenlose. Mar 10, 2022 at 15:08
  • From the citation it sounds like the passport must be valid at registration time, but may expire later. I'm not sure if the Swiss canton will tie the registration document validity to the passport validity like the Germans did, but it is very likely.
    – littleadv
    Mar 10, 2022 at 16:46
  • @littleadv "but may expire later": what about "during their stay in Switzerland"? Even if the permit doesn't expire with the passport, article 89 says that you have to have a valid passport.
    – phoog
    Mar 10, 2022 at 21:43
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    @littleadv I believe that 13(1) specifies the identity documents that must be submitted in order to apply for the residence permit, but now that I look at it again I am not so sure. I'll see if I can find the list of acceptable documents somewhere.
    – phoog
    Mar 10, 2022 at 21:50
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    13(1) requirements are in art. 8 OASA, which requires a document that can guarantee the return of the holder to a place where they have right of abode (i.e. passports, RTDs, certain alien passports, etc. not cantonal permits). Exceptions do apply if the acquisition of such document is impossible or poses an undue burden, but it will likely involve a long battle of justifications and explanations with communal/cantonal/federal/foreign authorities for non-refugees.
    – xngtng
    Mar 13, 2022 at 19:41

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