Leaving Switzerland

Once you’ve made the decision to leave Switzerland it’s time to start getting your ducks in a row. There is a little bit more red tape to deal with but it’s possibly the most easiest of all. First things first, once you’ve made your final decision start planning! This is the golden rule as far as I’m concerned. Once we decided that we were leaving, we started making our lists straight away. Granted I am a planner and a lover of lists, but it certainly has made everything less stressful for us by having done this. To make it easier for you here are the main points you need to consider when organising your departure from Switzerland.

Rental Contract

The biggest obstacle in your way is your rental contract. The standard contract in Switzerland allows you to only move out of your apartment three times in the year (normally this is at the end of March, June and September, with your notice given three months previously). This is the ideal way to end your rental agreement as it means that you have a hassle free life for your few remaining months. You must send a letter by registered post before the end of month, i.e. if you wish to move out in September you must ensure the letter arrives before the end of May.

If however, you want to leave before this time, all is not lost. You must find a replacement for your apartment, which means advertising it online etc. As long as the tenant meets the requirements for your landlord you will be in the clear. It’s good to know that if you provide your landlord with 3-4 possibly tenants, who have a clear history and that the rent is approx one third of their salary, legally the landlord cannot refuse them. If you have any issues it is worth contacting the Mieterverband, who are the local tenants association in Lucerne.

Set a Date

Once you’ve sorted your moving out date, then you can set the date for your departure. Having a clear idea of when you intend to leave the country will make things a lot easier when it comes to giving your notices.

Professional Cleaning

Organise for a cleaning company to come to your apartment for the final clean. You can do it yourself, but the standards that the landlords look for here are very high. If your not familiar with this you will have done a lot of work only to be handed an orange slip with the figure for the cleaning from your landlord. Ideally if you can get a company to do the cleaning and the handover, again, this will make it easier on yourself. You might not think its a lot but the final days can be the most stressful, so give yourself one less thing to do.

Paperwork & Notice Periods

You must return your permit to your local Gemeinde office no earlier then 4 weeks before your departure. They will send your permit to immigration with a letter called the Einwohnerkontrolle. You will also receive a copy of this letter, which you need for cancelling most of your insurances etc. Stadt Luzern charge CHF 12 for this letter. You will need to state the date you are leaving Switzerland and where you are moving your residency too. (Note: If you decide to leave the 3rd November, you would be better off to say that you are leaving the 31st October, otherwise you will have to pay your insurances until the end of November) 

Below you will see a table covering most of the important things that you need to cancel. As I said already I like lists, so this is a copy of our own one. Check with your own bank, internet and phone providers etc to make sure that you know their policies for cancellation. However, it is mostly standardised across the board in this regard.

Employment contracts vary depending on the sector you work in and how long you’ve been in your current position. You can either speak with your HR department or check your contract to see what the required notice period is.


Depending on what you decide to keep and dump, the shipping costs will vary. If you are looking at transferring a lot of things in Europe, particularly UK & Ireland then a great local solution is White Van Man. Internationally, it is a case of finding what suits you best. Prices vary depending on destination, quantity etc so make sure to shop around. Personally for us we decided to sell most of our stuff so it was a case of a couple of flights home and posting big boxes. The cheapest and most efficient way to do this is with Die Post. You can send boxes up to 30kg weight depending on the destination and the prices are reasonable too. For a 30kg box to be sent to Ireland by Post Pac International Economy (which is the cheapest option they have) it cost us CHF 105 and they all arrived within 6 working days.

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