You are leaving Switzerland to live in France or you arrive in neighboring France to get closer to my new job in Switzerland : you become a cross-border worker or cross-order commuter (aka “frontalier”) holding a work permit of type “G”.
New cross-border worker
Wherever you come from (Switzerland, France or abroad), you should follow defined steps to avoid making any mistake in your choice.
Whether this is your decision to reduce your expenses by leaving Switzerland, whether you are transferred by your employer to Switzerland, or whether you have applied to a job in Switzerland, your decisions will be based on your budget.
Once you know your net salary (around 84% of your gross salary), you need to understand what will be the impact in the housing, food, insurance, taxes budget of your being a new cross-border worker (aka “frontalier”).
|Changes in the budget of a new cross-border worker|
|Budget items||Cross-border worker coming from Switzerland|
changing country of residence and becoming a cross-border worker
|Cross-border worker coming from France or from abroad
settling in neighboring France
|Same salary||Salary increase|
|Lower rent||Rent identical to that of a large French city (Paris, Nice, etc.)|
|Compulsory basic health insurance in Switzerland||++||--
|Cheaper compulsory basic health insurance for identical coverage||Compulsory health insurance paid individually|
|Crossing the border adds a constraint to transport||Long commuting is frequent in major European cities|
|Real estate purchase and repurchase 2nd pillar||Real estate purchase and repurchase 2nd pilla|
To prepare for your arrival, you need to find accommodation.
If you come from Switzerland, you have the possibility to buy your accommodation in France. The price of real estate in France and mortgage conditions of French banks make home ownership in France easier. Proportion of homeowners is much higher in France than in Switzerland. For additional information, please refer to paragraph “Buying your accommodation in France”.
If you come from France or abroad, you will probably be looking for a rental.
The closer to the swiss border you are, the higher the housing rental or buying prices (because of the commuting).
In neighboring France, it takes between € 4,000 and € 5,000 per m2 for Haute-Savoie and Ain, € 2,100 per m2 in the Jura and 2,500 m2 for the lower Rhine.
Rented accommodation is expensive for the newcomer. From the point of view of the new cross-border worker arriving from Switzerland, it is much cheaper!
In recent years, major infrastructure investments have improved the commuting of cross-border workers such as tramway lines to Basel, train lines linking France and Switzerland (Léman Express), car-sharing initiatives, and bicycle paths.
However, public transport remains underdeveloped between France and Switzerland and, therefore, you will often have to take your car to go to work. In the years to come, it may become more and more difficult to use your car to come to work in Switzerland ; constraints are piling up and tolls and restricted traffic areas are under analysis. Despite the development of remote working, transport will be a major issue for cross-border workers.
To choose the right place to live in neighboring France, you have to take into account today’s transport constraints and anticipate those of tomorrow.
Travelling by car
If you can’t use public transport to go to work, you need to be aware that you will somehow have to go through border posts which are real bottlenecks with traffic jams and long waiting times.Having staggered timetables can be a solution.
These crossing points are often connected with a Swiss motorway. To use the Swiss motorways, you must purchase an annual motorway tax sticker (aka “vignette”), costing 40 swiss francs, available at customs posts, at the swiss Post Office, at the swiss gas station or at a tobacconist’s shop; this sticker allows you to drive on all Swiss motorways from January 1 to January 31 of the following year.
The weather is not good in winter; it is strongly recommended to get into the habit of putting snow tires on your car and to learn the basics of winter driving.
The natural borders between Switzerland and France often have roads that follow the ridge lines and gorges; be careful when driving if you arrive from the city!
Long commuting time and quality of life
When you become a cross-border worker (aka G swiss work permit holder), the length of your commuting time will impact your quality of life.
If you live in Mulhouse and work in Basel City, it will take you an hour to go to work.
If you work in Geneva, the journey from Divonne will take you about thirty minutes, forty minutes from Annemasse, and one hour from Annecy or Cluses.
The french motorway fares are expensive on the itinerary Haute Savoie area – Geneva. It is advisable to opt for a Liane subscription, allowing a 25% reduction.
If you are working in Lausanne and are living in Thonon-les-Bains or Evian, the boat shuttle (CGN navibus) is recommended for a monthly fee of around 280 swiss francs (50 minutes journey).
Not being late for work or not being late to pick up the children from school is the start of a good quality of life.
Next steps for cross-border workers
After choosing the place where you want to live, you need to proceed with the administrative declarations and procedures.
Next step will be the steps of major choices of the cross-border worker such as the exchange-rate that applies to your salary, the compulsory insurances, the retirement and the purchase of your main residence.
You are supported in your arrival as a cross-border worker.