Pratical life

Useful tips for your daily life

Public transport, bank accounts, telecommunications. Here are some essential steps to take when first arriving in Switzerland, so your daily life is as comfortable as possible.

Mobility in the region

Persons with a foreign driving license have a period of 12 months upon arrival to exchange their foreign license with a Swiss one. Depending on your country of origin, a practical and/or written examination may be required.

Please note that to travel on Swiss motorways you must buy an annual permit (CHF 40) that you place in your windshield. It is available at kiosks or the post office.

 

The Swiss railway system

The Swiss federal railways (CFF) offer subscriptions, like the general subscription (AG). This allows you to travel throughout Switzerland on all public transport (trains, buses, boats, etc.). The half-fare travel subscription allows you to buy travel tickets for a reduced fee.

Some communes offer their residents, at good prices, day passes: these are reserved by phone, at a cashier or on the commune website. The CFF also offers, depending on the timetable, discounted tickets.

 

Travelling through the Vaud's region

Mobilis is the unique travel service valid for the entire canton of Vaud and its communes. It allows you to travel on all means of public transport in whatever combination suits you. Click here for the price and conditions.

 

Soft mobility

Finally, a bike is a practical and ecological way to get about. Some cities offer the possibility to rent bikes. Wearing a helmet is not mandatory but is strongly recommended.

Financial questions

Opening up a bank account or a Post Office account will allow you to get your salary paid into this account, you can pay bills directly from your account and apply for credit. Generally, all adults are free to open a bank account in Switzerland, by presenting an official identity document. They may also request a residence permit or a residence attestation.

You can send money abroad at the bank, the Post Office or a money transfer company (Moneygram, Western Union etc.). Here are the advantages of the different options:

 

By bank

This way of payment is more secure, but it requires both persons to have a bank account. You can either send it by going to the cashier, by telephone or internet. Sending via the internet is a cheaper option.

 

By the Post Office

The Post Office have the same offers as the bank with one additional option: the recipient does not need to have an account and can withdraw the money at a counter.

 

By a transfer company

The advantage of this solution is that it is quick but can be more expensive. The money can be deposited in cash at a counter and withdrawn at another counter around the world.

 

Managing your budget

A hotline is available if you need to discuss your current budget or debts. Call 0840 43 21 00.

Courses on budgeting are available for groups or individuals, put in place by CARITAS Vaud, CORREF and the romande federation of consummation (FRC). More information can be found on the State's website.

Telecommunications

In Switzerland, anyone who has a device to listen to the radio, watch the television or that can connect to the internet is required to register and pay a fee to the Billag organisation.