Retrouvez les 8 points liés à votre vie quotidienne à Genève



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Mandatory basic-level insurance

Basic-level health insurance is mandatory.

This insurance will cover most of any medical and hospital fees in the event of illness.

The insured person will have to bear part of the cost: see the sections on Deductible and Retention fee below.

The insurance benefits offered by insurers are exactly the same and are laid down in Swiss legislation (Swiss Federal Act on Compulsory Health Care – KVG/LAMal):  Details of the benefits.

Insurers are duty-bound to agree to insure a person for the mandatory basic health-care cover regardless of that person’s age, medical record and state of health. There is no health-care questionnaire.

NB: Dental expenses and prescription glasses are not covered by the basic health-care insurance except in very rare cases.


The premiums to be paid vary according to:

- the health & sickness insurance fund

- the amount of the deductible

- the place where the insured person lives; and

- the insured person’s age (child: from 0 to 18 years; young adult: from 19 to 25 years; adult: aged 26 and above)

The compulsory health insurance system

List of health-care insurers (known as ‘caisses-maladies’) in Geneva (in French only)

Overview of premiums in force in Geneva for compulsory basic health-care insurance (in French only)

Contribution by insured person to health-care costs

Deductible: Each year, the insured person is required to bear their initial medical expenses (a minimum of CHF 300.–). The level of this annual deductible can be raised to CHF 2,500 to reduce the size of the premium to be paid.

Retention fee: Each year, the insured person must bear 10% of the cost of most of their medical expenses until that quota share reaches an accumulated total of CHF 700.–. Once that ceiling is reached for the current year, the insurer will bear 100% of medical expenses.

Special health insurance cases: cross-border workers, scholarship holders or guest staff

The Welcome Center will assist you in the procedures but does not guarantee that an exemption request will be granted. Only the health insurance department (SAM) is empowered to make an exemption decision.

Foreign students’ insurance only covers people living in Switzerland. It is therefore not possible to take out a foreign students’ insurance if you live abroad.

You have a period of three months from the day of your official arrival in Switzerland to submit the application.

You can only apply once. SAM will ask you for supporting documents each year. If the conditions for the exemption are no longer met, the exemption will be terminated and you will have to insure according to the LAMal.

For more information please visit this link (in French only)

Scholarship holders  from abroad

If you meet the following 3 conditions:

- You arrive from abroad and are domiciled in Switzerland

- You have a scholarship

- The annual amount of this scholarship is less than CHF 57'471 / year for a single person (CHF 132'184 for a couple)

- Your stay is limited in time

You can exceptionally request an exemption from the obligation to insure yourself under the LAMal and either:

- take out foreign student’s insurance


- keep your country-of-origin insurance coverage if this coverage meets at least the LAMal coverage criteria.

Contact the Welcome Center before your arrival. We will send you the procedure.

Staff on an academic stay

- You are seconded by your employer for an academic stay limited in time with our institutions and are domiciled in Switzerland

- You maintain a contractual relationship with your employer during your stay.

You can exceptionally request an exemption from the obligation to insure yourself under the LAMal and either:

- take out foreign student's insurance


- keep your country-of-origin insurance coverage if this coverage meets at least the LAMal coverage criteria.

Contact the Welcome Center before your arrival. We will help you identify the procedure.

NB: the procedures/documents differ according to the country.

Doctoral students

- You arrive from abroad and are domiciled in Switzerland

- The annual amount of your Swiss gross salary is less than CHF 57'471 / year for a single person

- Your contract is limited in time

You can exceptionally request an exemption from the obligation to insure yourself under the LAMal and either::

- take out foreign student’s insurance


- keep your country-of-origin insurance coverage if this coverage meets at least the LAMal coverage criteria.

Contact the Welcome Center before your arrival. We will send you the procedure.

You are a cross-border worker

You are domiciled in France / Italy / Germany / Austria:

You have the choice between:

- a Swiss cross-border worker insurance which will cover your medical expenses in Switzerland and in your country of residence (global coverage in the case of a medical emergency)

- an insurance in your country of residence which will cover your medical expenses in your country of residence and under certain conditions in Switzerland.

You have 3 months from the day on which you first start your job to make your choice. This choice is irrevocable.

Procedure : click here ( in French only)

If you are domiciled in another country, it is mandatory under the LAMal to take out Swiss insurance.

Summary table by country: https://www.ge.ch/document/3770/telecharger ( in French only)

The premium of the Swiss cross-border worker insurance is fixed and individual.

If you have dependents (spouse, child(ren)) in your household you will have to take out a policy for each of them and pay a fixed premium for each of them.

Cross-border worker resident in France - French CMU option

The premium of the CMU is calculated according to the income of the 2 previous years (i.e. premium for 2018 based on income of 2016). Your policy also covers your dependents.

Complementary health insurance

In order to be entitled to additional insured benefits (extended out-patient expenses cover; hospital stay in a private or semi-private room; complementary forms of medicine; dental expenses; cost of prescription glasses; etc.), you can take out complementary health insurance cover. Each insurance company will offer different benefits. Take the time to do some price comparisons. Complementary health insurance is not compulsory and can be taken out with another insurance company.

Insurers can, however, refuse or impose restrictions on cover contracted under complementary health insurance policies depending on the age and health of the person applying to be insured.

Switching your insurance company

You can terminate your mandatory basic health insurance contract by sending a recorded-delivery termination letter to your insurer. This letter must be received by the insurer three months before the end of each half-year in a calendar year or within one month of receiving notice of a change in your premium payment.

Article 94, paragraph 2 of LAMal states: Changing to a lower deductible or to another form of insurance and switching insurer are possible at the earliest one year after taking out insurance with optional deductibles, giving 3 months’ notice before the end of a calendar year.

NB: You must have already signed up to another contract in advance and your new insurer must confirm this to your previous insurer.

Link to article in KVG/LAMAL on Switching insurance companies ( in French only)

Complementary insurance cover often extends over longer contractual periods – you will often be making a legally binding commitment for cover over several years. Make sure you check this aspect out thoroughly before signing the contract. If you are not certain of your decision, take your time as these types of complementary insurance policies can be taken out at a later stage.

Useful links

- Department of Health-Care Insurance site (Canton of Geneva; in French only)

- Ombudsman for health-care insurance (in French/German/Italian only)

Social insurance and benefit plans


In Switzerland, the pension system is based on three pillars: state pension or 1st pillar; occupational pension or 2nd pillar; and individual pension or 3rd pillar.

This system (Article 111 of the Federal Constitution) aims to maintain the insured’s standard of living at the time of retirement, in the event of disability or death, for oneself or one’s survivors. The diagram below briefly shows how the three pillars work.

In order to encourage occupational pension provision, the purchase of the statutory 2nd pillar benefits and the creation of a 3rd pillar (3a only) may be deducted from taxable income (NB: some amounts are capped).

- Check with your pension fund if you can buy additional benefits


- Contact your bank / insurance company to subscribe to a 3rd pillar

Accident Insurance

Medical costs incurred following accidents at work or accidents outside work are covered by an insurance policy taken out by your employer. If you do not have an employer or you work for fewer than 8 hours a week, you must apply to have accident cover added to your compulsory basic health-care insurance.

Do not forget to do this, especially when it comes to health insurance contracts for your children.




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Switzerland's currency : the Swiss franc ( CHF)


Currency converter

In Geneva and many Swiss cantons, the euro is readily accepted by most shops and businesses.

Beware though

-The exchange rate offered will not be very attractive;
-And change will generally be given to you in Swiss francs.

Means of payment

The main means of payment are :

- Cash

- Debit bankcards

- Credit cards (NB: some businesses do not always accept them or do not accept all cards)

- Cheques are not used as an everyday means of payment in Switzerland.

Opening a bank account

It is very important you open a bank account quickly as you will need one, for instance, to finalize your lease agreement for your future home. So, if you are planning to visit Geneva to prepare for moving here, take the opportunity to open a bank account.

You will need to present the following documents :

- Identity card or passport;

Swiss residence/work permit or certificate from the Cantonal Office for Population*.

* If you haven’t yet received your permit, contact the Welcome Center.

Which bank should you choose?

Below, we have listed the websites of the main banks and Swiss Post, but the list is far from exhaustive.

Crédit Suisse


Raiffeisen ( in French only)

Migros (in French only)



Crédit Agricole (for cross-border workers with a Crédit Agricole account in France)

Banque du Léman (for cross-border workers) (French only)

Paying your bills

Services are generally billed and paid for after they have been provided: your doctor, electrician or decorator will not demand you pay your bill immediately, but will send you an invoice to be paid within 30 days.

This invoice will have an orange or red payment slip (referred to as a ‘bulletin de versement/BVR’) attached. Use this slip to settle your bill.

If the BVR is orange, it will show a reference number (centre-right).

If the BVR is red, there will be no reference number and you will have to indicate the reason for the payment in the relevant box (top-right corner).

You can then settle this bill:

1. Using your bank’s e-banking service if you have signed up for this. 

In order to do this, you will probably have to provide the following information on the right of the small numbers on the specimen orange BVR shown above:

- the beneficiary’s account number

- the reference number of the payment

- the amount of the invoice

- sometimes the beneficiary’s name and address

2. At the Post Office counter

Take the payment slip(s) (total up the sums if you have several payments to make) to the Post Office and pay the amount due; the stamped receipt stubs will be handed back to you as proof of payment (the detachable stub on the left of the BVR). You should keep these with the invoices. This method is convenient if you haven’t opened a bank account yet or if you need to have proof of payment (stamped receipt stub).

3. By ‘paper’ order (this type of payment is usually referred to as ‘Quick’)

Place all the right-hand segments of the payment slips in an envelope. Write the total to be paid and the number of payment slips on the ‘Quick’ form (which your bank will have provided you with), sign this and send it off.

4. Over the counter at your bank

You should bear in mind that all payments made over the counter and some ‘paper’ transactions involve a fee whereas, for now, you do not have to pay to make payments using the e-banking service. A word of advice: make as many payments as you can via the Internet e-banking service.

Regular payments

When it comes to payments that have to be made regularly (rent; health-care insurance premiums; etc.), you can use one of the following options:

A standing order set up via the e-banking service, by post or over the counter at your bank: this will involve payment of a fixed sum at regular intervals.

- A direct debit instruction (known as an ‘LSV’): with this, you authorize a creditor to debit the sum of their bills directly from your account. You can object to sums debited within 30 days.

- E-bill: If the creditor and your bank are both part of the e-bill system, you can receive the invoice directly on your e-banking page, then settle it with a single click. Take a look at the e-bill website.




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Emergency numbers
Late-night and out-of-hours emergencies
Finding a doctor, dentist or a pharmacy

Finding a Doctor

- Geneva : Association des Médecins de Genève (AMGE) ( in French only) (To find doctors who accept new patients select the "Rendez-vous rapide" option in the search tool)

- Vaud : Société Vaudoise de Médecine (SVMED) ( in French only)

Finding a Dentist

- Geneva : Information on dentists practising in the Canton of Geneva (Association des Médecins-Dentistes de Genève – AMDG)

- Vaud : Information on dentists practising in the Canton of Vaud (Société Vaudoise des Médecins-Dentistes – SVMD) (in French only)

Finding a Pharmacy

- Geneva : PharmaGenève ( in French only)

- Vaud : Société Vaudoise de Pharmacie ( in French only)

Assault- Theft
Useful links

- Detailed online medical and health-care information guide for French-speaking Switzerland and the neighbouring area of France: Santé romande ( in French only)

- Care services at home : Institution Genevoise de Maintien à Domicile (IMAD) ( in French only)

The University Hospital of Geneva’s guide for patients in hospital and relatives

Site of the Association des cliniques privées de Genève (Association of Private Hospital/Clinics in Geneva; in French only)

-  CAGI’s Health & Security information page

- Virtual Medical Services: Drnow.ch - medgate_





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On foot or by bike

Geneva is a small city and distances are short. Many people get around on foot or by bike (City of Geneva website about cycling in the city).

Work out how long it will take to get somewhere on foot : Pedestrian map showing approximate timings for getting around in the City of Geneva, plus some specific city walks.

Map to help you work out how long it will take to get around Geneva on a bike (in French only)

Cycling route maps for the City of Geneva and the Canton of Geneva (in French only)

Geovelo application provides cyclists with real time guidance regarding their itineraries.

You can find secure parking for your bike near the Cornavin railway station at the : Vélostation (in French only)

Useful tip: The Canton of Geneva authorities encourages what is becoming known as ‘soft’ or ‘gentle’ mobility; it grants subsidies for the purchase of an electric bike.

You should also check to see if your employer has incentives to encourage ‘soft’ mobility.


By bus, tram, boat or taxi


The Transports Publics Genevois (TPG) public-transport network covers the City of Geneva and its surrounding areas.

TPG home page

Timetables and transport routes

Nightbus timetables for Friday and Saturdays ( in French only)

Les Mouettes Genevoises (the boats that cross the lake in Geneva and which you can travel on using TPG travelcards)

If you are employed by the University or the University Hospital, you may be entitled to a discount or compensation on your travelcards. For info, contact your HR contact person or the Welcome Center.

Useful tip: If you fly into Geneva, there is a TPG ticket machine at the airport, on the left-hand side just before the exit from the baggage reclaim area. Get a ticket there – it’s free and valid for 90 minutes (train into central Geneva and the TPG network).

By taxi


By car or motorbike

If you are coming from abroad, you’ll need to change your driving licence  (in French only) within 12 months. Most people will only need to fill in a form, take the required eye test at an optician and go in person to the "Office cantonal des véhicules" with the document listed on the form. The new Swiss driving licence will be issued immediately. Keep a copy of your original driving licence since the authorities will not give it back to you.

Please note that if you hold a driving licence issued by a country, which Switzerland has not signed an agreement on this matter with, you may need to take a theory test and / or a practical driving test for obtaining a Swiss driving licence. Please check this with the "Office cantonal des véhicules" 

Moving around Geneva by motorbike or scooter is also convenient.

Taking the car should be reserved primarily for leisure activities. Traffic in Geneva is heavy and slow-moving, especially during rush-hour. What’s more, parking is hard to find.

Before going ahead with buying a car, think about the possibility of a  Mobility car-sharing which can offer discount prices for University and University Hospital staff.

Site with the latest update on the rules of the road in Switzerland (in French/German/Italian only)

Rules about 20kph / 30kph zones in Geneva (in French only)

Motorways: If you want to drive on Swiss motorways, you will need to buy a Swiss motorway sticker each year and affix it to your windscreen. These motorway tax stickers cost CHF 40 and are sold in places like petrol-service stations, post offices and customs offices.

Parking when you're out and about

Parking in the Canton of Geneva (in French only) and the City of Geneva (in French only)

It is important to know the difference between white and blue parking zones. Parking in white zones is possible only for a limited duration and may be paid or free. Blue zones are areas where parking is free for a limited duration. Please check the following pages for the details:

- White and blue zones (in French only)

- Blue zones

Useful tip: You can buy a parking disk (the blue disk) in petrol-service stations, police stations or stores which sell vehicle accessories.

Parking spaces for people with reduced mobility: permits are issued by the Financial Department of the Geneva Police.

Most public car parks do have access for people with reduced mobility. It is possible to see them with the help of this interactive map (in French only)For more information, please check the Canton of Geneva website and the City of Geneva website.

You can make your parking payment online or by using your mobile phone:

- https://www.gepark.ch/index.html

- https://www.geneve-parking.ch/fr/voie-publique/payer-par-mobile/comment-ca-marche (in French only)

- Multipark.ch 

For more information on public car parks, click here (in French only)

Parking at home

The Fondation des Parkings (in French only) operates the parking spaces and most of the car parks in the Canton. You can find the location of these car parks and the special blue parking areas using the interactive map (in French only).

If you do not have a reserved parking space in your building, you will have to order a special blue ‘macaron’ parking permit (in French only) (valid for one year) to enable you to park your car without time restrictions close to your home in the designated blue parking spaces. It is also possible to rent a parking space in car parks for local residents.

List (in French only) of car parks for local residents run by the Fondation des parkings

List (in French only) of parking spaces that can be rented from the City of Geneva authorities

Some car parks are full, with a waiting-list of several months or even years.

If you live in the neighbouring area of France or the Canton of Vaud, you can use the ‘Park-and-Ride’ option, by parking your car in a car park on the outskirts and having a public-transport travelcard for Geneva. Information (in French only) on the Parking Relais (Park-and-Ride) (P+R) scheme. Some car parks also offer a Park + Bicycle option or a combined Park, Ride + Bicycle option (in French only).

What to do if your car has gone missing: contact the police (link to map of police stations in Geneva) (in French only) to report your car has been stolen.

Beware though: a car that has gone missing may have been badly or illegally parked and taken away to the pound. You will need to collect it as quickly as possible to keep costs down (the car pound is open round the clock). Contact a police station (in French only) which can give you information.

Useful links

- General information on mobility in the Canton of Geneva and the City of Geneva




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Deciding whether or not to bring your car to Switzerland

Before deciding to bring your car to Switzerland, you need to be sure it is worth doing so.

An old, rusty and poorly maintained vehicle may not pass the roadworthiness inspection test, and it can be costly to have cars repaired in Switzerland. You will also need to check the type and model of your car is marketed in Switzerland and complies with the Swiss requirements.

You must have owned your vehicle for over 6 months on the date you move to Switzerland. If not, you will be required to pay excise duties when you cross the border.

Importing a car into Switzerland

Deciding whether to register your car in Switzerland or not

Some categories of people on temporary stays (maximum of two years renewable in certain circumstances) are permitted to retain their vehicle’s original registration when living in Switzerland (this needs to be declared to customs using Form 15.30 – fee of CHF 25.00).

Others must register their vehicle in Switzerland in the year following their arrival in the country.

You should wait until you have received your work/residence permit before embarking on this process.

In the interim, you must make sure that the third-party liability insurance on your vehicle is valid and recognized in Switzerland. If this is not the case, you will need to take out a specific insurance policy, known as ‘frontier insurance’ at a customs office when the vehicle is first brought into Switzerland: nbi-ngf.ch

Registering your vehicle in Geneva

1. Book your vehicle into a garage for

An anti-pollution check – this is compulsory unless your vehicle is fitted with an on-board diagnostic system (OBD) and complies as a minimum with the Euro 3 EU emissions standard (for vehicles with petrol or gas engines) or Euro 4 (diesel engines); for further information, log on to the Touring Club Suisse (TCS) website (information in French/German/Italian only).

Preparing the vehicle to pass the compulsory roadworthiness inspection: optional work, but recommended.

2. Booking your car with the Cantonal Office for Vehicles for the compulsory roadworthiness inspection

- Online apponintment

Some garages will offer to do this for you (for a fee).

3. Contact an insurance company to arrange motor insurance

Log on to the Comparis comparison site to get some idea of prices in Geneva.

4. Putting your vehicle through the roadworthiness inspection

Take along Form 13.20 given to you by the customs office, the anti-pollution control report and the original registration papers for your vehicle.

5. Registering your vehicle

To get the registration plates, you will need to present the following documents:

the completed registration form (in French only)

- all the relevant customs forms (18.44 and 13.20)

- your certificate of motor insurance

- the vehicle’s original registration papers

- your residence/work permit

- your identity papers

Links to the websites concerning the official procedure of importing cars

Rough idea of costs

- Anti-pollution check: between CHF 40.00 and CHF 80.00 (depending on the garage)

- Official roadworthiness inspection: CHF 70.00

- Vehicle registration: CHF 135.00

- Annual vehicle road tax (depending on the engine size of the vehicle from CHF 179 a year for a car): full details of the tax scale (in French only).

For those vehicles put on the road after 1st January 2010, the annual vehicle road tax applies a bonus/penalty charge based on the relevant CO2 emissions.

Motor vehicle insurance

Click on this link for a brief outline of compulsory motor insurance and visit comparis.ch for more information and for a comparison of premiums.

Premiums will vary depending on the vehicle’s engine size, price and age, as well as the driver’s driving record. Do not forget to ask your existing motor insurer to provide you with proof of any no-claims bonus and/or lack of any claims made, as this will be useful in negotiating any discounted premium rate from future insurers.

Some insurance companies adjust their premium rates depending on the applicant’s nationality. Do not hesitate to do price comparisons.

If you are planning to transport passengers in your vehicle who are not covered by Swiss or European accident insurance, you will need to think about taking out ‘passenger insurance’.

Some insurers will also offer the option of breakdown insurance. In Switzerland, many vehicle owners prefer to join the TCS or ATE motorist organisations for their breakdown cover (both sites are in French/German/Italian only). You need to do the comparisons to find what is best for you.

Bike Insurance

If you ride a bike, you must be covered by third-party liability insurance (see section on third-party liability and household insurance) for any damage you might cause to others (damage to property, injury to persons, plus any associated loss of earnings or income).

Theft of your bike or the cost of repairing it following an accident or other expenses will be covered by the insurance of the party at fault, if there is one, or by your own household insurance (NB: make sure you check the extent of your cover when you sign the contract).

Driving licence

If you are coming to Switzerland from abroad, you will have one year to change your driving licence. You should wait until you have received your work/residence permit before embarking on this process.

In Geneva, you will have to present yourself in person to the Cantonal Office of Vehicles (in French only) with the following documents:

Form for exchanging your foreign driving licence (in French only)

-  Your original foreign driving licence to be exchanged

- Certificate from an accredited optician (list of accredited opticians) (in French only) ; there is a standard fee for this eye-check of CHF 20

- 1 passport-size colour photo – full face with head uncovered

- Identity papers and residence permit

- CHF 150 or more depending on the type of driving licence

Keep a copy of your driving licence before handing it over to the Cantonal Office for Vehicles.

Driving licence exchange process is not automatic and may change according to certain criteria (in French only) including the origin of your current licence. Please don't forget to check this (as early as possible) with the relevant cantonal authorities.





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Telephone, radio & internet

Compare the rates of the telephone operators and Internet access providers on Comparis.

A radio and television fee is charged per household. Please visit SERAFE for more information.

List of operators in Switzerland




upc cablecom

NAXOO ( in French only)

VTX ( in French only) 

Be careful: when taking out a mobile phone subscription, a copy of the residence permit is required or a certificate of residence. In the early days, it may therefore be better to take a prepaid phone.

Phone Directory


Useful links




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How will you be taxed?

The following website provides a useful insight into the Swiss tax system: www.ch.ch

There are several different tax arrangements in operation in Geneva depending on:

- the category of your residence/work permit

- where you live

- what work or business you do and/or your assets

Withholding tax for:

-  A holder of any work/residence permit that is not a C-category permit;

- A cross-border worker, irrespective of your nationality (e.g. those living in France, but working in Geneva).

Tax calculated on the basis of your tax return :

- a Swiss national or person holding a C permit and living in Geneva

- a married person or civil partner with a Swiss national or a person holding a C permit and living in Geneva

- someone who does not necessarily live in Geneva, but earns income from business or self-employment there or is a property owner in Geneva

- someone who does not necessarily live in Geneva, but is gainfully employed there, earns at least 90% of their income from this source and wants to be taxed under ‘quasi-resident’ status arrangements (see point 2 below)

Withholding tax

­­­­­­­­When you start your new job, whenever there is a change in your circumstances and at the end of each calendar year, your employer will ask you to fill out the tax declaration form for levying withholding tax (in French only) to calculate the rate of tax to be applied (in French only).

You can complete this form online and give your employer a print-out of the form.

The tax brackets applied take due account of certain deductions and allowances. Your employer will deduct the tax liable from your salary and pay it to the Tax Authority. It is a provision.

The final amount of your tax will be calculated the following year.

At the end of the year, your employer will give you a statement of tax paid (‘attestation quittance’) giving you a breakdown of the tax deducted over the year. Send this statement to the Tax Authority.


1. You have a claim to have further tax allowances or deductions taken into consideration or other income to be declared (in French only).

At the start of the next year, you will need to send the following documents to the Tax Authority:

- salary certificate (given to you by your employer)

- your end-of-year statement of tax paid (given to you by your employer)*

* (these two documents are sometimes combined into one)

- form to apply for an adjustment to withholding tax deducted (in French only)

-further documentation to support your claim

2. If you prefer to request that actual expenses be deducted instead of the standard sums integrated into the rates of withholding tax and provided you fulfil the criteria for ‘quasi-resident’ status (at least 90% of income from Swiss sources), you can apply to be taxed on the basis of a statement of your income and assets/wealth. In this case, you will need to complete a tax return.

At the start of the following year, you will need to send the following documents to the Tax Authority:

-salary certificate (given to you by your employer)

-your end-of-year statement of tax paid (given to you by your employer)

-a completed form declaring your income and assets (in French only)

-further documentation to support your claim

NB: If you are living in another Swiss canton, your tax return needs to be filed with the authorities in the canton you are living in.

Those living in France are required to fill out and file an income tax return in France.

Personal Tax

Taxpayers liable for withholding tax who live in Geneva have to pay directly to the Tax Authority what is referred to as the ‘taxe personnelle’  (page in French only; a type of flat-rate tax on households). This tax amounts to CHF 25 a year per taxpaying household.

Tax calculated on the basis of your tax return

When you arrive, the Tax Authority will ask you to provide an estimate of your annual income.

You will receive a bill for monthly instalment payments due by the 10th day of each month between March and December.

At the start of the following year (January), you will receive a tax return for you to declare your income and assets/wealth for the past financial year (link to completing your tax return online). This return will need to be completed and sent back to the Tax Authority by the deadline of 31st March. The return can be filled out online.

The Tax Authority will provide you with a guide to filling out your tax return, but further useful information can be found on certain sites:

- How to complete your tax return (www.ch.ch)

- GeTax (Genevan authorities’ help pages; in French only)

You can ask for a later deadline for filing your return by telephone (verbal guide), post or by Internet.

During the first year of your stay in Switzerland or in the event of special personal circumstances, it might be advisable to arrange for a tax accountant or adviser to help you fill out your tax return.

Calculate the amount of tax to be paid

You can find some online tax calculators on this website: www.ch.ch

For a quick but very rough estimate of your tax, you can use the scale for withholding tax.

Under the income column, identify the line corresponding to the future gross annual income of the tax household, then go to the column corresponding to the status of your family. For families where both spouses work, choose nevertheless the column indicating that only one spouse works and you will find a rate that will give you a general idea. Be careful, however, this method remains approximate. A fiduciary can provide you with a more accurate calculation.

Reduce your tax bill

You are advised to seek help from competent professionals or the Tax Authority to optimally manage your assets and in particular to reduce the amount of your tax.

In Switzerland, people are encouraged to save for their retirement by means of tax breaks.

For example, the repurchase of statutory ‘2nd pillar’ pension contributions and the payments into the voluntary ‘3rd pillar’ (3a only) pension contributions may be deducted from your taxable income (although there are some ceilings on this tax relief).

- You should check with your pension fund whether you can pay contributions to buy in additional benefits


- You should contact your bank/insurance company to sign up for a ‘3rd pillar’ pension scheme.

Useful links

- Cantonal tax administration for Geneva : Geneva ( in French only)

- Cantonal tax administration for Vaud : Vaud ( in French only)

French tax authorities




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Opening hours

Shops are generally open from 8-9 a.m. until 6-7 p.m., and are shut on Sundays. Some stores have late-night opening until 9 p.m. on Thursdays.

Cost of living / Personal budget

Geneva regularly ranks among the 10 most expensive cities in the world.

You will find under these links some additional information:



- https://ceoworld.biz/2020/02/03/most-expensive-countries-in-the-world-to-live-in-2020/

Personal budget templates in Switzerland

http://www.budgetberatung.ch/Budget-pour-famille.75+M52087573ab0.0.html ( in French, Italian or German)

Caution: these models are based on Swiss averages, Geneva is more expensive especially for housing, as shown in the article below:

- Comparis

My salary


Grocery shopping

The main Swiss supermarket chains are  CoopMigros and Denner.

NB: Migros does not sell cigarettes or alcohol.

You will also find higher-end products at Globus or Manor Food.

The two main hard-discounters also operate in Switzerland: Aldi & Lidl.

Home delivery

- Le Shop by Migros

- Coop at home

- Local products:

Genève Terroir, Magic Tomato, Le Nid (in French only), Ticsa (in French only), Potagers de Gaïa (in French only)


- Markets Calendar : Geneva boasts many all-year-round markets. You will find there delicious fruit and vegetables, tasty cheeses and very appetizing charcuterie.

- The Halle de Rive is a covered market in the city centre

Making purchases in France

Caution : the Customs allow imports, but the quantities are limited. You will find further information on the the Swiss Confederation..

Shopping malls

La Praille( in French only)


Meyrin (in French only)

Centre commercial de Lancy ( in French only)

- Outlet Aubonne



These are Geneva’s most popular shopping streets. Starting at rue de Rive, running along rue de la Croix d’Or and rue du Marché and finishing at rue de la Confédération, you will be able to find shops and stores selling all sorts of things to suit all wallets and tastes: clothing for women, men and children, beauty/cosmetics products, leather goods.


The street of luxury goods stores in Geneva. On this street, you will find a glittering array of jewellery, watch and haute couture boutiques.

You can find more information on the Geneva Tourism website.

Furniture and DIY


- Ikea ( in French only)

- toptip ( in French only)

- Micasa ( in French only)

- Pfister ( in French only)

- Grange 

- Artopia ( in French only)

- Fly ( in French only)

- Teo Jakob ( in French only)

Domestic appliances

- Fust ( in French only)

- Mediamarkt (in French only)

Second-hand Fourniture

If you need to buy furniture and appliances and are on a tight budget, you could also try the various charity shops. Many people spend only a limited time in Geneva and you can often find almost-new second-hand products at ridiculously low prices:

-Centre social protestant
-Armée du salut
-Marché aux puces de Plainpalais

Or browse these specialized sites (not an exhaustive list though):
- http://www.tutti.ch/fr ( in french only)
www.fr.ricardo.ch ( In French only)


- Migros do it+garden ( in French only)

- Coop Brico+Loisirs ( in French only)

- Eugène Baud (in French only)

- Jumbo (in French only)




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Switzerland's political system

Swiss politics

- Politics in Switzerland : The Federal Administration website provides a detailed explanation of the Swiss political system.

- The ch.ch website also presents a description of how elections and referendums are conducted in Switzerland.


politics in geneva

List of political parties represented on Geneva’s Grand Conseil (in French only)

Public Holidays
Cleanliness, respect for public places and public facilities, waste recovery