Photo: Bernd Konrad/Swiss Refugee Council

Temporary Admission of Foreigners

Temporarily admitted foreigners receive the F-Permit.

Temporarily admitted foreigners receive the F-Permit.

This document is not a residence permit but rather the confirmation that a deportation cannot be carried out for legal reasons. A foreign national is temporarily admitted to Switzerland because he or she cannot be or is not allowed to be deported for legal reasons. The requirement is that removal is

  • not permitted,
  • not reasonable, or
  • not possible.

Temporary admission is a substitute measure taken instead of deportation.

Right to stay in Switzerland

The F-Permit is issued for a period of one year in each case. This permit can be renewed. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) regularly reviews whether the requirements for temporary admission are still met. If the SEM deems the removal order to no longer be not permitted, not reasonable or not possible, it revokes the order for temporary admission and issues a definitive removal order (Art. 83 and 84 FNA). The same holds true if there are grounds arguing against the granting of temporary admission. This is the case if the person concerned:

  • has been given a long custodial sentence or has been made subject to a criminal measure,
  • is dangerous to public security and order, or
  • has contributed to making his or her removal impossible due to his or her own conduct (Art. 83 para. 7 FNA).

Request for recognition as a hardship case

Temporarily admitted persons can file a request for recognition as a hardship case with the canton to which they were assigned. The person must have resided in Switzerland for more than five years and meet further requirements related to being well-integrated, to family circumstances and to the reasonableness of return to the country of origin (Art. 84 para. 5 FNA). If the request is granted by the cantonal authorities and the SEM, the person obtains a residence permit (B-Permit).

Place of residence

Temporarily admitted persons remain in the canton to which they were already assigned as asylum seekers (Art. 85 para. 2 FNA; Art. 27 AsylA). They are free to choose their place of residence within the canton unless they receive social assistance benefits. The cantonal authorities assign a place of residence and accommodation to temporarily admitted persons dependent on social assistance (Art. 85 para. 5 FNA).

Contesting the cantonal assignment

As a rule, temporarily admitted persons can contest the assignment to a certain canton only if it puts family unity at risk.
 Changing cantons is possible only on request. The SEM makes a decision on the request after hearing the cantons concerned (Art. 85 paras. 3 and 4 FNA).

The rules for recognised refugees granted temporary admission are less strict because these individuals are theoretically free to move throughout Swiss territory under international law.

Gainful employment

Every temporarily admitted foreigner may pursue gainful employment without restriction and may change job and occupation (Art. 61 AsylG). The prerequisite for this is that the gainful activity has been declared. In the case of paid work, the declaration must be made by the employer; in the case of self-employment, the declaration must be made by the person concerned. The person must report the commencement and termination of gainful employment. The wage and working conditions customary in the place, profession and industry must be fulfilled (Art. 65 VZAE). 

Welfare and health insurance

Temporarily admitted persons unable to maintain themselves from their own resources are entitled to social benefits.  This provision does not apply if third parties are required to support them. The same provisions apply as for asylum seekers (Art. 86 para. 1 FNA; Art. 3 para. 2 AsylO 2).

Limited choice of health insurance funds, physicians and hospitals

Temporarily admitted persons must be insured against illness (Art. 3 Health Insurance Act (HIA)). However, the cantons may limit their choice of insurers and of physicians and hospitals (Art. 86 para. 2 FNA). 

Premium reductions

Temporarily admitted persons have a right to premium reductions seven years after their entry (Art. 82a para. 7 AsylA; Art. 5b AsylO 2).

Family reunification

For spouses and unmarried children under the age of 18 of temporarily admitted persons family reunion, at the earliest three years after the order for temporary admission of said persons is possible. The requirements are that they all live in the same household, the family has suitable housing, and the family does not depend on social assistance (Art. 85 para. 7 FNA). The application must be filed with the competent cantonal migration authority, which passes it on to the SEM. Certain deadlines apply to the application (Art. 74 paras. 2 and 3 Ordinance on Admission, Stay and Gainful Employment (OASGE)).

Integration measures

Temporarily admitted persons have a right to benefit from integration measures. The cantons are responsible for implementing these measures funded by the Confederation (Art. 18 Ordinance on the Integration of Foreign Nationals (OIFN), Art. 55 para. 2 FNA).

Click for further information on the integration programmes of the individual cantons (in French and German only).

Travel abroad

Basically speaking, temporarily admitted persons are not allowed to travel to their native country or country of origin. If they do, they risk losing their temporary admission status. However a trip of this kind can be allowed in exceptional cases for humanitarian reasons (Art. 9 para. 6 Ordinance on the Issuing of Travel Documents for Foreign Nationals (OITDFN), in French).

Exceptional cases

In exceptional cases, these persons can receive a travel document or a return visa for a trip lasting at most 30 days a year. Art. 7 para. 1 and 2 and Art. 9 para. 4 (OITDFN) allow this travel:

  • for humanitarian reasons, and
  • for other reasons (at the earliest three years after the granting of temporary admission).

A serious illness or the death of a close family member is deemed a humanitarian reason. Other reasons may include, for example, obligatory, cross-border school trips of the children or active participation in sport or cultural events abroad  (Art. 9 para. 1 OITDFN). The application must be filed with the cantonal authorities (Art. 14 OITDFN

Click for further information on travel documents for other foreign persons (in French and German only).