Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Switzerland - Habitual residence

What is habitual residence?

In practice, the term 'habitual residence' means the country in which you habitually live and where you have your centre of interest.

The European Commission sets out a certain number of criteria to help social security bodies determine which country should be considered as a person's place of habitual residence.

The following are specifically taken into consideration:

  • family status and family ties;
  • duration and continuity of presence in the Member State concerned;
  • employment situation (in particular the place where such activity is habitually pursued, the stability of the activity and the duration of the employment contract);
  • exercise of a non-remunerated activity;
  • in the case of students, the source of their income;
  • how permanent a person's housing situation is;
  • the Member State where the person pays taxes.

Certain social security benefits may be based on habitual residence, in particular the so-called 'non-contributory' benefits.

For further information, refer to the European Commission guide on determining habitual residence for social security.

Jargon busters

  • Non-contributory benefits: social benefits paid to insured persons without having to satisfy contribution conditions, such as certain minimum social benefits.

Know your rights

European Commission publications:

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