Stay Connected - Internet Communications in Switzerland

Switzerland has strong competition in the telecommunications space. Swiss and International service providers offer residents a fair amount of choice when it comes to Internet and mobile phone packages.

In terms of mobile operators, the three major service providers are Swisscom, Sunrise and Orange. All offer a variety of packages available, as both long-term contracts and pre-pay services. While tariff prices are competitive, some may find that less glamorous providers, such as Migros, offer better deals for those who don’t heavily rely on their mobile.

Network coverage is pretty decent across all three providers, however I’ve found that Swisscom seem to have a slight edge here, especially if you’re going up into the mountains!  Roll out of 4G capability happened early and fast so now most developed areas are within reach of blazing fast mobile data.

When it comes to the Internet, as well as the same three providers mentioned above, there are a few local options available that will be different depending on your area. In some cases, local providers can offer better speeds at lower prices than the main three. This is what we found vs Swisscom for our own TV, Internet and fixed-telephone service.

 

 

Swiss Internet speeds are very good when compared to the global average, but there are still some remoter regions that will struggle to find an affordable and fast connection.

To give an idea of pricing, we currently pay 68-75CHF per month for 50Mbit down/5Mbit up. This is faster than Swisscom could provide, as they only offered us 20Mbit down/2Mbit up for around the same price.

Most of the better plans are unlimited in terms of the amount of data you can download/upload per month. There are very few Swiss ISPs throttle speeds on bandwidth-heavy websites during peak times. This should be mentioned during the sign-up process, but if you’re not sure then ask!

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How to Relocate your Pets to Switzerland

Bringing pets with you when you move countries can be a big worry. What will it cost? Will they cope with the stress? What do I need to do before moving them? Here we’ll cover all of preparations and procedures required to bring your furry friends to Switzerland.

A microchip is mandatory, as the microchip ID number is the only acceptable form of identification for your pet. It should be to ISO Standard 784/Annex A to ISO Standard 785.

Next, it’s important to ensure that your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date – first, for dogs:

  • Rabies – Within the last year or a minimum of 4 weeks before departure.
  • Parvo, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis and Distemper (available as a group vaccination called DHLPP).

The recommendation for cats is as follows:

  • Rabies – Within the last year or a minimum of 4 weeks before departure.
  • Calicivirus, Panleukopenia and Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis which are again part of a group vaccination called FVRCP.

 

 

Next on the list is an EU Vet Health Certificate (form EC#998) and a USDA endorsement on the following records: rabies certificate, the EU Vet Health Certificate mentioned previously and it is recommended to get your Microchip Implantation Record endorsed as well.

Finally, you will need an International Health Certificate for your pet. These should be available at your vet’s office and must be filled in by your vet within 0 days of travel. An additional USDA endorsement may be required for this document.

All of the original documents mentioned above must travel with your pets. If the owner is not on the same flight as the pet, a note from the pet owner’s employer confirming relocation, a copy of the owner’s passport and the owner’s flight itinerary must also be provided.

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Embassies in Switzerland

Moving to Switzerland? If you’re coming from the U.S., you’ll need to go through several procedures before you can take up residence.

The most important point here is that you must already have employment lined up before you enter the country. Please be aware that anyone who finds work while visiting as a tourist will need to leave Switzerland and negotiate from the USA.

US Citizens relocating to Switzerland will need to ensure that their passport is valid, that it expires no sooner than three months before the intended departure date and that it has been issued within the last 10 years.

You’ll need to apply for long-term national visa (type D), as well as a residence permit and this can be done through the Swiss Embassy in the U.S. Permits for US citizens are reviewed on a per-case basis and will require proof of employment, usually your work contract.

Already in Switzerland? Embassies can assist in a number of ways in cases of emergency or if you need to renew your passport. There are three US Consulate buildings in Switzerland – the main Embassy in Bern and a Consulate Agency each in Zurich and Geneva. Emergency passports and visa extension pages can only be obtained at the Embassy in Bern.

All three offices are able to assist in other matters such as; voter registration, assisting with communication during emergencies, dealing with the logistics of repatriating remains and ensuring that you are receiving basic necessities if you are arrested or institutionalized.

While embassies will look to support you wherever they can, they cannot provide legal advice, a lawyer (although they may provide contact info) or financial support. If you become destitute in Switzerland, they can assist in getting you back the U.S.

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A Renter's Guide to Zurich

Renting in Switzerland can be a complicated affair for those coming into the country. We’ll quickly look at the basics to help get you started in your search for rented accommodation in Zürich.

Zürich is one of the hot spots for working expats in Switzerland. The city also happens to be one of the most expensive in the world! The average monthly rent for a one-bedroomed apartment in the city centre is a budget-busting ,770CHF per month! Rent in neighboring towns and cities is somewhat lower. In Winterthur the average one-bedroom apartment drops to ,525CHF per month.

The contract is King. Study it thoroughly before signing. It will contain everything about the apartment and the agreement between the landlord and tenant - right down to the rules of the block or house you’re sharing with your neighbours.

 

 

Remember that the Swiss are detail-orientated and they will expect the contract to be followed to the letter. A landlord, as well as your neighbours, may well get very agitated if you do not. This particularly applies to specifications about noise!

Although it can be costly, it may well be a good idea for an expat to join the local tenant’s association (Mieterverband), who may be able to offer advice and representation in case of a dispute with your landlord. Most towns and cities have one.

When you’ve agreed to rent an apartment or house, you’ll be asked to put down a deposit. This is usually equal to three months of rent, and it is sequestered in a special account that can’t be accessed by you or the landlord until you move out. At this point, you’ll be refunded the Kaution, plus interest but minus any funds the landlord requires for repairs.

 

 

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Where to Holiday in Switzerland

Switzerland boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. This is one characteristic that likely assisted the country in receiving a high quality of life rating. When it comes to holidaying in Switzerland the choices are far from few and all are absolutely stunning. Here are some suggestions to consider when you plan your Swiss holiday.  

 

Zermatt 

This cute tourist town is located at the foothills of the towering Matterhorn. It is a lovely place to visit for one of the best views of Switzerland’s most famous mountain. You can visit in summer or winter to take advantage of some of the best hiking or skiing in the country.

 

Lucerne

The beautiful lakeside city of Lucerne is located in central Switzerland and is surrounded by the mountain ranges of Pilatus, Stanserhorn and Rigi. Here you’ll also find some of the best souvenir shops and any type of watch you can imagine.

 

Grindelwald

If you are seeking one the best views of Switzerland’s mountains, then why not jump on board the highest railway station in Europe, “Top of Europe?” This is located high in the Grindelwald region. Home to the Eiger and Wetterhorn mountains, the views in this area are second to none. Challenge yourself to the famous Eiger north face climb or choose from one of the many hiking trails in summer. In winter you can ski in the world-renowned Jungfrau region. 

 

Montreux Riviera

Located on the bay of lake Geneva, this gorgeous town is home to the famous Montreux Jazz festival in summer. Surrounded by the white-capped Alps, the Montreux is absolutely breathtaking. Taste your way around the surrounding vineyards or relax at the Montreux Palace Spa for a day.

 

Geneva

The beauty and humanitarian feel of Geneva is one of the reasons most people visit this Swiss city. Home to some of worlds most well known humanitarian organisations and a 40ft water fountain in Lake Geneva, this city is truly unique. The French-speaking city is packed with quintessential Swiss characteristics. Boasting quays, parks and some of the best shopping in the world.   [...]

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Top Relocation Destinations in Switzerland

There is no denying that Switzerland is an exceptionally attractive country to relocate to. Although the cost of living is one of the highest in the world, there are many benefits to go along with it. With hardly any crime, world-class healthcare and education systems and some of the best ski resorts in the world, the Swiss have got it made.

The Mercer quality of life survey ranked both Geneva and Zurich in the top ten best places to live, out of over 200 locations. There is no reason to doubt that either of these cities will suffice when looking at where to relocate, but there are a few other options for expats to consider as well.

 

Berne

If you are seeking a place in with political atmosphere and linguistic diversity, then Berne may be your place. This city is the capital of Switzerland and located between the French and German districts of the country. With the plateaus to the west and mountains in the east, the city is listed as a world heritage site.

 

 

Zurich  

Of course with a high quality of life rating, comes popularity among expats and travellers alike. It is not hard to see why the city of Zurich has been granted this title, as it is safe, has multi-lingual schools, it is centrally located and it is the largest city in the country. Public transport makes it very easy to reach the city that is only an hour away from most other major cities. Or you can easily pop over to the Alps for a weekend on the slopes in only a couple hours from Zurich.  

 

Basel

Another destination that is a great option for expats, who want an easily accessible city, is Basel. With a population of less than 200,000, the north western city is a main corridor to France and Germany. Basel is also home of Switzerland’s major seaport and can be accessed by boat. This multicultural city is a very popular expat community, with over 30% of its residents from other countries.  

 

Geneva

The beauty and humanitarian feel of Geneva is one of the reasons most people visit this Swiss city. Home to some of worlds most well known humanitarian organisations and a 40ft water fountain in Lake Geneva, this city is truly unique. The French-speaking city is packed with quintessential Swiss characteristics. Boasting quays, parks and some of the best shopping in the world. It is the cities multicultural and diplomatic popularity that has awarded it the highest cost of living in Switzerland.    [...]

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