Property For Members

90/180 rule: Can second-home owners extend their stay in Switzerland?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
90/180 rule: Can second-home owners extend their stay in Switzerland?
UK citizens can stay in their Swiss holiday homes for a limited time. Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash

A number of British people who own a holiday residence in Switzerland would like to remain here longer than legally allowed. Is this possible and if so, how?


When the United Kingdom was still part of the European Union, British people who owned second residences in Switzerland could come and go as they wished and stay here without restrictions.

But since Brexit, UK citizens are regarded as third-country nationals who have fewer rights than their EU counterparts.

There are, however, some nuances.

If you are a UK person who was already a legal resident in Switzerland before December 31st, 2020, you have retained your free movement rights under the UK-Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement.

This means nothing changes for you for the time being, and if you own a holiday home in Switzerland, there are no limits on how often you can use it.

The same applies to British people who live either in the UK or elsewhere but also have a Swiss or EU nationality.


However, if you reside permanently in the UK with only a British passport, then your options for staying in your secondary Swiss residence since Brexit are limited: you are only able to spend time in Switzerland under the 90/180 rule. 

What exactly does this mean?

  • This rule, valid for all third-country nationals, means that you can spend a maximum of 90 days in Switzerland (or any EU country) out of 180 consecutive days.
  • The rule allows for 90 days in every 180, so in total in the course of a year you can spend 180 days in Switzerland, just not all in one go.
  • It is a rolling clock, so the 90 days are always counted from the previous 180 days, not from the start of the year.
  • The clock only stops once you leave the EU and head to a non-EU country (which now includes the UK).

If you are not sure how to count your days, this online calculator will help.

READ MORE: Reader question: Does owning a second home in Switzerland give me the right to live there?


Are there legal ways to spend more time in your second home in Switzerland?

There are two, neither of them easy.

If you are over the age of 55, retired, and rich, you can apply for a Swiss residency permit. To do that you must show proof that you are financially self-sufficient. You must also have a link to Switzerland —  family, property, business, or financial investment. 

What does “rich” and “financially self-sufficient” mean? Like everything else in Switzerland, it depends on the canton.

You can find out more about it here:

Golden visas: Everything you need to know about ‘buying’ Swiss residency

If you are still employed, the only way to extend the 90/180 rule, according to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), is applying for a Swiss work /residency permit, which is not simple because third-country nationals are subjected to tougher regulations.

In a nutshell, “if you come from a non EU/EFTA state and would like to work in Switzerland, you may only do so if you are highly qualified, i.e. if you are a manager, specialist or other skilled professional”, according to SEM.

 “This means, essentially, that you should have a degree from a university or an institution of higher education, as well as a number of years of professional work experience”.

The good news is that the Federal Council decided to allow Swiss companies to continue to recruit specialised employees from the United Kingdom, setting a separate quota for British workers — 3,500 work authorisations are reserved especially for UK nationals.

This is what’s involved in the process:

EXPLAINED: What are your chances of getting a job in Switzerland from abroad?




Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also