Guidance

Switzerland: providing services and travelling for business

Guidance for UK businesses on rules for selling services to Switzerland.

Read this page in combination with the general guidance for the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. .

The authoritative source for Swiss market regulations is the Swiss government. This guidance links to official Swiss sources wherever possible.

The UK has reached an agreement with the Swiss government which protects the rights of UK workers living in Switzerland, and of service providers with existing contracts.

Find out more about the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement.

Trade and services regulations in Switzerland

If you are a UK business providing services in Switzerland, you will need to follow Swiss regulations about:

  • getting an authorisation or licence to provide a service
  • complying with local business regulations
  • EEA nationality requirements which could prevent you from providing services in some sectors

You may benefit from the part of the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement which deals with service provision. This applies to service provision contracts that have been agreed and where implementation started before 1 January 2021.

Services Mobility Agreement

You may benefit from the Services Mobility Agreement (SMA) which allows UK professionals to provide services in Switzerland for up to 90 days without a work permit.

The SMA also establishes a working group, through which the UK and Switzerland aim to develop a comprehensive agreement on the recognition of professional qualifications for service suppliers working in each other’s markets.

Consider appointing an English-speaking lawyer in Switzerland to help you comply with specific regulations. You can also contact your local chamber of commerce for advice.

Ownership of companies registered in Switzerland

If you have a UK business, you might face restrictions on your ability to own, manage or direct a registered company in Switzerland.

For information about setting up and running a business in Switzerland, visit Switzerland Global Enterprise.

Read more about this in our guidance relating to the EEA and Switzerland.

UK legal professionals who have investments in law firms in Switzerland should contact the Swiss Bar Association for information on implications on those investments.

Business travel and entry requirements

UK business travellers and service providers may need a visa, work permit or other documentation.

Check our travel to Switzerland for work guide for detailed information on:

  • types of visa and work permits available
  • exemptions that may apply to you or the activity

The State Secretariat for Migration website has more information about:

  • visas including intra-corporate transfers
  • work and residence permits
  • supporting documentation
  • other conditions

Check which actions travellers visiting Europe need to take.

Social security payments for employees

Find out if you need to pay National Insurance in the UK or social security contributions in Switzerland.

Recognition of professional qualifications

Find out if you need to take action by reading our general guidance relating to the EEA and Switzerland.

The Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement includes specific arrangements for the recognition of professional qualifications held by Swiss nationals and UK nationals.

You can read the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement Explainer for more information.

If you need to take action to secure the recognition of your professional qualification in Switzerland, look at ENIC, the information centre for the recognition of professional qualifications.

The UK Centre for Professional Qualifications (UK CPQ) provides practical assistance and advice to:

  • professionals who qualified overseas and are interested in working in the UK
  • UK professionals seeking to practise overseas

See also the Services Mobility Agreement which aims to develop a comprehensive agreement on the recognition of professional qualifications for service suppliers working in each other’s markets.

UK statutory auditors working in Switzerland

If you are a UK statutory auditor working in Switzerland, your access to the audit profession has not changed.

The Swiss competent authority should be able to provide further information.

UK lawyers working in Switzerland

If you are a UK-qualified lawyer registered and working in Switzerland on a permanent basis, and under a UK title, you can continue to practise while you remain registered in Switzerland.

If you are not registered in Switzerland, UK-qualified lawyers have 4 years from 1 January 2021 to register or to start the application to register, to permanently work under a UK professional title, or to transfer or to start the process of transferring to a Swiss professional title.

If you are a UK-qualified lawyer who transferred to a Swiss-professional title before 1 January 2021, this transfer will be recognised while you remain registered in Switzerland.

If you are practising in Switzerland under an EU qualification and professional title, you should contact your local regulator for specific advice.

Contact the Swiss Bar Association for more information.

Data transfer and GDPR

Read guidance on using personal data in your business or other organisation to understand rules around personal data flows with Switzerland and other countries deemed adequate by the EU.

Published 19 March 2019
Last updated 11 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Trade reservations' guidance. Updated 'Recognition of professional qualifications' with new UK contact point.

  2. Updated the Business travel and entry requirements section to include a link to guidance on travelling to Switzerland for work.

  3. Updated the following sections to reflect the changes created by the UK and EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement: social security payments for employees, and data transfer and GDPR.

  4. Updated with information about the Services Mobility Agreement.

  5. Guidance for ‘Business travel and entry requirements’, ‘Social security payments for employees’ and ‘Recognition of professional qualifications’ updated.

  6. Change to title to include travelling for business

  7. Update to 'Business travel and entry requirements' section

  8. First published.