New cross-border worker in Switzerland
Would you like to become a cross-border worker in Switzerland? Cross-border worker status has many advantages. It provides good purchasing power thanks to the high salary in Switzerland, while living in France where the cost of living is lower.
Being a cross-border worker in Switzerland also means benefiting from the excellence of the Swiss health system while paying much lower health insurance premiums than Swiss residents.
The challenge of becoming a cross-border worker in Switzerland is also an obstacle course. Administrative procedures, journeys that can be exhausting, complex cross-border tax rules, health insurance obligations that can have serious repercussions if not fulfilled.
A clear understanding of the requirements for cross-border worker status in Switzerland will enable you to take advantage of the benefits, make the right decisions and meet the challenges of this life change.
Administrative procedures for cross-border workers
To become a cross-border worker in Switzerland, you must first be offered a job with a Swiss company. You can also be a self-employed cross-border worker, if you have a business address in Switzerland.
To make your economic forecasts, be certain of the salary you will receive in Switzerland. To calculate the social security contributions to be deducted from your Swiss salary, you can use our net salary calculator. This will allow you to know the real amount you will have at your disposal at the end of each month.
You will then need to obtain your ‘G’ permit – the permit for cross-border workers in Switzerland. To obtain it, you must apply to the Cantonal office for Population and Migration in the canton where you will work. If you are a cross-border worker, your employer does this.
For the first three months, you will have to send the ‘S1 form’ and the ‘choice of health insurance system form’ to the Swiss and French authorities (see ‘latecomer cross-border worker’ and ‘S1 form’).
Accommodation and transport for cross-border workers
If you are a Swiss citizen and are moving across the border, you will find that buying your home is easier in France than in Switzerland.
On the contrary, if you are French and want to move closer to the French-Swiss border to avoid long journeys, you are probably looking to rent. Bear in mind that the closer you are to the border, the higher the prices.
You should know that it is becoming increasingly difficult to travel to work by car. For ecological and demographic reasons, this trend will become even more pronounced in the coming years. Find out about public transport links when choosing your future home.
A possible solution to avoid long commutes is to work remotely.
Remote working for cross-border workers
From 1 January 2023, cross-border workers can work remotely up to 40% of their working time (~2 days per week) from France, without this having any impact on their taxation.
As regards social security contributions, the current agreements allow cross-border workers to work more than 25% of their time on French territory without being automatically covered by French social security. However, these agreements will have to be renegotiated before 30 June 2023.
Our cross-border ‘remote working calculator’ is quick and easy to use. It allows you to determine how many days per year a Swiss cross-border worker can work remotely from France.
Do not hesitate to use it to organise your remote working time in the best possible way.
A bank account in Switzerland and in France
You will need to open a bank account in Switzerland. To open an account in Switzerland, you will need an identity document, proof of residence and your employment contract.
Remember that as a cross-border worker, you must also keep a bank account in France.
You are a new cross-border worker and you want to know more? Visit the ‘New Cross-border worker in Switzerland’ page.
Change of situation
The family and professional situation of cross-border workers can change. The birth of a child, marriage, divorce… These events have not only an impact on your personal life but also on your administrative situation. Therefore, it is important to be familiar with the regulations governing these situations in order to anticipate the consequences of these changes.
For example, if your family situation changes, you will certainly have to change your insurance cover. Take the case of a cross-border worker couple that has a baby. How do you make sure the child is covered?
A child residing in France with a parent affiliated to the French insurance scheme will be compulsorily registered with the Social Security of the country of residence (France). Whereas a child residing in France with parents affiliated to the Swiss scheme will be directly affiliated to the Swiss scheme, with his or her parents.
Many other events can change the life of a cross-border worker. A marriage, a new employment contract, redundancy, retirement…
To prepare for these events, visit the ‘Life as a cross-border worker’ page.
Cross-border worker – submitting tax returns
Switzerland is a federal state. Each canton has its own rules for collecting tax from cross-border workers.
It is the Canton where you work that determines whether you have to pay your taxes on income earned in Switzerland to Switzerland or to France.
To find out more about cross-border workers’ tax returns, visit our ‘Cross-border workers – my tax return’ page.
Health insurance for cross-border workers in Switzerland
Choosing health insurance for cross-border workers
From your first day of work in Switzerland, you will no longer be insured by the social security system in your country of residence. You are therefore obliged to take out new health insurance. It is for you to take the initiative in this matter.
Choose the CMU or the LAMal?
As a cross-border worker, you have 3 months to choose your health insurance. This is known as the right of option. There are two possibilities.
- The Swiss scheme: LAMal cross-border worker.
- The French scheme: CMU cross-border worker.
This choice must be carefully considered. It requires a long-term view, as your decision is irrevocable.
The LAMal allows cross-border workers to receive treatment in Switzerland and France, whereas the CMU for cross-border workers only allows treatment in France.
If after three months the cross-border worker has not exercised their right of option, the CPAM (French health insurance office) will refuse to insure the cross-border worker under the Social Security system. The cross-border worker is then considered a latecomer.
Please consult our ‘cross-border worker’s health insurance’ page to find out how to apply for cross-border worker health insurance.
Cross-border workers who are ‘latecomers’
Latecomers run many risks:
- The cantonal authority will affiliate you to a Swiss health insurance fund on the basis of a random draw. You may end up with an insurance company that charges exorbitant rates for cross-border workers, with no way of going back.
- You will have to pay an additional penalty corresponding to your delay in joining.
- During the entire period of delay, you have no health insurance. If you are hospitalised in Switzerland, the costs can quickly become unsustainable.
If you are in this situation, contact us immediately to regularise your situation.
The LAMal cross-border worker
The LAMal is the basic, compulsory insurance in Switzerland. While in France social security is a state institution, the Swiss health system is mixed. It is composed of competing private health insurance funds. The whole system is governed by a set of laws voted by the people.
It should also be noted that cross-border workers may change their health insurance fund each year.
Differences between LAMal cross-border workers and residents
LAMal insurance for cross-border workers is not the same as LAMal insurance for Swiss residents. Cross-border workers only have access to a deductible of CHF 300. On the contrary, the premiums for cross-border workers are much cheaper than those for residents, while the health coverage in Switzerland is identical.
For treatment in Switzerland, above CHF 300 per year, you will be reimbursed at 90% up to a maximum of CHF 700 of treatment costs per year. Beyond that, you will be reimbursed at 100%.
For treatment in France, with LAMal you present your Carte Vitale and the CPAM reimburses you according to the social security rates.
Supplementary insurance for LAMal cross-border workers
LAMal insurance can be improved by additional health cover. This can be a mutual insurance company to improve coverage in France or a supplementary insurance to improve coverage in Switzerland and France.
Knowing the advantages of the LAMal allows you to make the best choices in terms of health coverage. Visit our ‘LAMal insurance for cross-border workers’ page to find out all about the Swiss health insurance scheme for cross-border workers.
S1 form – informing administrations of your choice of health insurance
Once you have taken out health insurance, having chosen the Swiss insurance scheme, you must inform the authorities. This is done using the S1 form.
The S1 form, previously known as E106, is a certificate from your Swiss insurer. It certifies that you are insured in Switzerland and that you are not in an irregular situation.
To obtain this form, you must finalise your affiliation to a Swiss health insurance fund. The latter will then send you the document, which you can fill in and send to the Swiss and French administrations to inform them of your choice. In France you must send it to the CPAM. This will then enable you to obtain your Carte Vitale for treatment in France. In Switzerland, you must send it to the competent institution in your canton of work.
Visit our ‘S1 Form’ page to see the details of all these steps and make sure you have validated your choice.
Paying your premiums, getting reimbursed for health costs
Once you have joined the LAMal or the CMU health insurance fund, you will have to pay monthly premiums and you will be reimbursed for your health costs.
If you have chosen LAMal, you must pay your premiums in advance each month.
Premiums vary between health insurance companies.
Depending on your situation, reimbursements can take several forms:
- If your treatment takes place in France, you will be reimbursed via your Carte Vitale. However it is your Swiss insurer that finally pays your health costs.
- If your treatment is in Switzerland, with a ‘Tiers Payant’ health insurer, your health bills will be paid directly by the insurer via your health card. Note that it is sometimes necessary to advance some payments.
- If your treatment is in Switzerland and you are affiliated to a ‘Tiers Garant’ health insurer (Assura), you must pay for your health care services before being reimbursed by the insurance company.
If you have chosen the CMU, your contribution will be quarterly. It is defined on the basis of your annual declaration to the CNTFS (national organisation concerning cross-border workers health cover).
Your reimbursements in France from the CMU are made via the Carte Vitale with third-party payment (Tiers Payant).
To clarify these procedures and to understand how your contributions and reimbursements work, visit our page ‘Cross-border worker health insurance contracts’.
Questions / Responses
What documents do I need to join the LAMal? How long does Social Security coverage last when I start working in Switzerland? How do I contact the cantonal services?
To answer all the questions most frequently asked by cross-border workers, visit our ‘LAMal cross-border worker – questions / responses’ page.