Regardless of the citizen’s nationality, the C permit or settlement permit gives foreign nationals almost the same rights as Swiss citizens (equal treatment), especially in the scope of work. Thus on the Swiss employment market, holders of a C permit are not subject to an authorisation procedure to exercise gainful employment whether as an employee or self-employed. Holders of this permit are free to select any employer and their place of residence (professional and geographical mobility).
Citizens of the EU-17, with the exception of Cyprus and Malta, and those from the EFTA countries receive a settlement permit after a regular and uninterrupted stay of 5 years. The C permit may also be issued after 5 years to citizens of the United States, Canada, Monaco, the Vatican, San Marino and Andorra who are subject to a special regulation.
For citizens of Cyprus, Malta, the EU-8, EU-2, Croatia and third countries, the regular and uninterrupted stay must be 10 years long (general rule) in order to obtain the settlement permit. However, the 10 year time-scale for obtaining a C permit may be reduced to 5 years if the person is married to a Swiss national or a C permit holder, if the person is considered as “well-integrated” or if the person is recognised as a refugee.
A settlement permit is issued for an unlimited duration and is checked every 5 years.