Any person from abroad who wishes to legally practise sex work must obtain work permit L, B, C or G. European nationals need to make an online declaration (IMES – Swiss Federal Office of Immigration, Integration and Emigration).
European nationals can apply for authorisation to carry out sex work. Citizens of non-European countries cannot apply for a residence permit in order to engage in sex work, but they may do so legally if already in possession of permit B or C.
European nationals (EU 25 and EFTA countries) may work in Switzerland for a period of 90 days per calendar year (1 Jan to 31 Dec) without residing in the country by making a declaration to the Federal Department of Justice and Police. They must register online at the following address before beginning or resuming their activity:
Workers must keep a copy of this online declaration with them at all times.
Short-term residence permit (permit L):
European nationals who wish to move to Switzerland to work for a period of no more than 365 days may apply for permit L. If you work in organised premises (brothels), you will receive employee permit L, whereas if you work from home or on the streets, you will receive self-employed permit L.
Long-term residence permit (permit B)
European nationals who wish to reside in Switzerland and practise sex work in the country for more than 365 days may apply for permit B. If you work in organised premises you will receive employee permit B, whereas if you work from home or on the streets, you will receive self-employed permit B. In order to obtain permit B for work in organised premises, you must demonstrate your intention to remain in Switzerland for more than one year and that the operator of your place of work intends to allow you to work there for longer than a year.
Permanent settlement (permit C)
Permit C, which allows permanent residency, is in principle issued following an application from a person who has lived in Switzerland for 10 years with permit B or L (most EU/EFTA countries), or five years for citizens of certain other European countries.
Cross-border work permit (permit G)
European citizens currently living in Europe who wish to work in Switzerland while continuing to live in their country of residence may apply for permit G.
In Geneva, applications for permits must be submitted to the Office Cantonal de la Population. You must complete:
- Form M to obtain a residence permit if you wish to live in the canton of Geneva (permit L or B)
- Form F to obtain a cross-border work permit if you wish to work in Geneva while continuing to return to your home country regularly and remain resident there (permit G)
All supporting documents requested on the reverse of these forms must be enclosed with the application.