Moving House in Geneva
Make sure you carry out these essential tasks when moving house in Geneva...
There are some essential things that need to be done when moving house in Switzerland. Here are some tips and points on all that must be done and when.
The first thing when moving house within Geneva, notify the foreigners department (Service Etrangers et Confédérés) at the Office Cantonale de la Population (OCP) within 14 days of moving. If changing cantons, the OCP in Geneva must be informed of departure and the OCP in the new canton must be informed of arrival.
- Geneva OCP (in French)
At: 88 route de Chancy, 1213 Onex
Tel: +41 (0)22 546 47 95
- To find a local office elsewhere in Switzerland visit the SEM website
The following documents must be provided:
- Residence permit
- A passport photo of each person moving
- A completed change of address form, filled in with the name and birth date of all concerned, the former and new address and the date it changed
- Proof of payment
When changing cantons or leaving Switzerland the local OCP must be informed, and all taxes due should be paid to the Administration Fiscale Cantonale.
- Hotel des Finances
At: 26, Rue du Stand, 1211 Geneva
Tel: +41 (0)22 327 70 00
Electricity, gas and water
When moving it is important to check that the electricity, gas and water is turned off at the old address and that it works at the new one.
At least three working days before a change of residence contact the Services Industriels de Genève (SIG) to take a final reading and close the meters, or complete the forms provided online for this purpose.
Note: Moving in - a deposit may be required when registering for electricity, gas and water for the first time.
Telephone and Internet
Contact Swisscom, the national provider of fixed line/land line telephones. Swisscom will send a contract by post which should be signed and returned.
Swisscom will need a copy of the residence permit and a one-off payment for the line connection fee. Foreigners who do not have a C type permit will also have to pay a deposit.
The line will be connected within two or three days.
- Customer service Tel: +41 62 286 12 12
The Swisscom website has comprehensive information in English on all the products available for private use (fixed line connections, ADSL Internet) and online ordering options.
Post can be forwarded to a new Swiss address for a period of one year. This service can be requested at the local post office, or it can be arranged online. Contact Swisspost at least three working days before the move.
- For information on redirecting mail
- To find the address of the local post office and enter a postcode in the Search for Post offices box
Swisspost Customer Service line has an English-speaking service open Monday to Friday 07:30 to 18:00 and Saturday 08:00 to 13:00.
- Tel: 0848 888 888
Radio and TV connection
All households in Switzerland will have to pay a TV and radio licence fee. This money is used to subsidise the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation and a range of private regional radio and TV channels.
An annual licence fee is payable to SERAFE, the collection agency for the licence fee. Control checks can be made any time, and TV or radio users without a licence will be fined. The fee for a private household is CHF (correct 1 January 2021) All households in Switzerland are basically liable for the fee. For information on exemptions visit the SERAFE website.
- For payment options see the SERAFE website
Driving and vehicle registration
Foreigners moving to Switzerland have one year to exchange their driving licence for a Swiss one or take a Swiss driving test. If moving from one canton to another, or within Switzerland, holders of a Swiss driving licence should contact the local Road Traffic Office (Service des Automobiles et de la Navigation). The vehicle registration document must be updated with the new address.
- Geneva Road Traffic Licensing Office
At: 86, route du Veyrier, 1227 Carouge
Tel: +41 (0)22 388 30 30
- For contact information for offices visit: Driving in Switzerland
The following documents are required:
- Proof of identity
- Residence permit
- Vehicle registration document (permis de circulation)
- Driving licence
- Proof of new address
If changing cantons, the Geneva number plates must be returned and the vehicle must be reregistered in the new canton.
Tax authorities are automatically notified of a change of address by the resident's registration office. There is no need to contact them with details.
Insurance companies must be notified of a change of address. Home insurance can be transferred to a new property, but if the new home is dramatically different in size it may be necessary to have a reassessment made.
Teaching staff and the school authorities will need to prepare and transmit a child's school records. They should be notified some time in advance.
Bank and Subscriptions
Notify the bank of change of address and remember to cancel or supply change of address details for any subscriptions services.
Moving from rented accommodation
In Switzerland, the legal minimum notice for an open-ended rental contract is three months but in some contracts this can be up to six months. A rental agreement must be terminated by letter sent by registered mail (lettre recommendé or Einschreiben) and must be signed by all the tenants named on the contract. It is vital that the notice of termination reaches the landlord in good time (at least one day before the beginning of the notice period). If the tenant wishes to leave before the end of the contract he must bring three possible tenants interested in the apartment, and if one of these acquires the apartment the tenant may leave early.
The vacated property must be left completely clean. There are cleaning companies specialising in a service for people moving and it is recommended to use this service.
A rental contract will state whether the property must be redecorated before the tenant moves out.
Redecoration can include the following:
- Filling in holes
- Repairing damages to tiles or wooden floors
When moving into a rental property, inspect for any defects with the landlord and write down everything, otherwise the tenant will be charged for all these repairs and may not recuperate all of their deposit.
The Association Suisse des Locataires (ASLOCA) can advise tenants having problems.
Rental contracts list the keys given to a tenant. If any of the keys have been lost, the tenant has to pay for the locks to be changed. It's not allowed (without the landlord's permission) to simply have copies cut as the keys are numbered and recorded.