Once you have moved to the Canton of Zurich, you must register with several authorities and offices. Various information centres provide information and advice to new residents.
When you arrive
Once you have arrived in the Canton of Zurich, you will have to organise your new life. You need to address the following issues within the first few days or weeks after your arrival:
Registration with your new community of residence
If you move to a community in the Canton of Zurich, you must register your arrival within 14 days of arriving at your new home. Within these 14 days, you must also apply for a residence permit («Aufenthaltsbewilligung») if you have not done so before. Your registration office («Einwohnermeldeamt») will tell you about all the necessary documents and the related registration fees.
Compulsory health insurance
To register at your new place of residence, you must provide proof that you are insured with a health insurance company. You have three months to sign a health insurance contract. If you cannot provide proof of health insurance («Krankenversicherung») when you register at your new place of residence, you must present a copy of your health insurance policy within three months.
In Switzerland, all children between the age of 4 and 15 are required to attend school. To enrol your children in kindergarten or school, please contact the local authority or the head of the local school in your place of residence.
Information and advice
Communities in the Canton of Zurich often welcome their new residents at special events. You will be informed if your new community is organising a social event for newcomers.
If you need further information or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the local authority of your place of residence. In many communities, special integration officers («Integrationsbeauftragte») will be happy to help new residents with problems or questions. There are also various information centres that specialise in particular issues. Some of these information centres offer services in various languages. Please scroll down to find a list of important contacts and information centres in the Canton of Zurich.
Public offices are usually open from Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. - 12 noon and from 1.30 p.m. - 5 p.m. Please check the exact opening hours before you visit any office in person and note that some offices will ask you to make an appointment in advance. You may have to expect waiting times.
Almost all shops are open from Monday to Saturday during the day. On Sundays, most of the shops are closed. The Canton of Zurich has several public holidays («gesetzliche Feiertage») when most shops are closed.
Mobile phone communication
In Switzerland, there are three major mobile communication providers, each with their own network: Salt, Sunrise and Swisscom. However, there are other mobile operators and costs vary greatly. It is always a good idea to compare services and costs.
Migration-related Information and advice centres
phone +41 44 412 84 00
Infodona offers advisory services free of charge concerning the following topics:
living in Zurich, marriage and family life, legal issues, finances, work, and health. The advice centre for migrants domiciled in the city of Zurich provides information in the following 16 languages:
Albanian, Arabic, Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Kurdish (Sorani), Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Slovak, Tamil, Turkish and Turkmen (Iraq).
Information for Migrants in Winterthur and the Surrounding Area:
phone +41 52 267 36 93
Talk to native speakers of your language and get information on topics related to migration and integration. The advisory services are free of charge for residents of Winterthur and the surrounding area and are offered in the following languages:
Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, English, Italian, Kurdish, Macedonian, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish, Tigrinya, and Turkish.
Welcome Desk - City of Zurich Integration Office:
phone +41 44 412 37 37
The City of Zurich Integration Office provides advisory services free of charge on topics related to migration and integration in the following languages:
English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. This service is offered to residents of the city of Zurich
phone +41 44 291 00 15
This counselling centre provides legal advice related to migration and integration issues (e.g. right of residence, family reunification, work permit, visa, naturalization, etc.). Specially trained lawyers offer professional legal advice about issues related to immigration. An hourly fee of CHF 50 is charged. Legal advice is offered in the following languages:
German, English, French, Kurdish, Spanish, and Turkish.
phone +41 44 415 62 26
The Zurich Drop-In Centre for Issues Related to Racism, ZüRAS (Zürcher Anlaufstelle für Rassismus), offers support to individuals experiencing discrimination or racism at work, in their neighbourhood or in their free time because of their origin, skin colour or religion. Its services are free of charge for people living in the Canton of Zurich and are offered in the following nine languages:
English, French, German, Italian, Hungarian, Persian, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish (and other languages if necessary).
SOS counselling by the Swiss Red Cross (SRK):
phone +41 44 360 28 53
Experienced social workers provide counselling to persons facing challenging situations and who are in urgent need for help, irrespective of their origin or residence status. This offer is aimed at persons who live in the Canton of Zurich. The counselling service is free of charge and is offered in the following languages:
German, French, English, Italian, and Spanish.
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