When the permit expires, the federal authorities send a “Notice of end of validity” to your municipality of residence or to you directly. You must then submit a renewal application to your commune of residence, which will forward it to the competent cantonal service (Service de la Population, SPOP). Your situation and your degree of integration are examined, in particular your financial autonomy.
It may happen that the new permit is not immediately issued, because the volumes of applications to be processed are very large. In this case, the cantonal migration authorities will of course not question your stay until the application has been processed. If you are travelling abroad, you must first apply at the counter of the Service de la Population for a “return visa” in order to be able to return to Switzerland in the absence of the new permit.
Transformation of B permit into C permit
The settlement permit (C permit) offers a more stable status than the residence permit (B permit). After a period of 5 to 10 years, depending on the nationality and the reason for the stay, it is possible for a B-permit holder person to apply for a C permit.
Apart from nationals of certain countries* which have specific agreements with Switzerland, it is necessary to have a language level certificate to obtain a C permit.
*Germany, Austria, Belgium, Danemark, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Netherlands and Portugal.
From May 1st, 2023: Nationals of non-French speaking European countries who have a settlement agreement with Switzerland must provide a language certificate when applying for a settlement permit (C permit). The countries concerned are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
People without residence permit
Swiss legislation provides under certain conditions the possibility for a person living in Switzerland without a residence permit to be regularised if their integration is successful and if the duration of their stay is significant and sufficiently proven. In concrete terms, the application is sent to the Canton (Service de la Population - SPOP), which decides whether to forward it to the federal authorities. The regularisation is only effective once approved by the Confederation.