Moving to Geneva

Last updated: April 9, 2020

Moving to Geneva offers expats many benefits, such as high quality of life and excellent health and working conditions, but what are the key features should you know before moving there? On this page we will tell you all the relevant information you need to know about your removal to Geneva, from moving costs to requesting free removal quotes. Below is an overview of what we will discuss:

moving to Geneva

Emigrating to Geneva

Geneva is Switzerland’s most global city and moving there is usually a pleasant experience for many expats. The official language is French, but expats are just as likely to hear its multilingual locals speaking English, Spanish or German. Although not known for its party lifestyle, there is still plenty to do in Geneva if you’re wanting to grab a drink or 2; Plaine de Plainpalais is a popular with younger crowds and Place du Bourg de Four, near Geneva’s old Town Hall is also popular for a party. If you’re a food lover you will be spoilt for choice, with the city being home to more than 1,000 restaurants.

Visa in Geneva?

A visa is not necessary when entering Geneva due to being a member of the European Union. As long as you stay for less than 3 months without any economic activity, all that is required is a valid passport. After this period it is necessary to register to legalise your situation.

What will it cost you moving to Geneva

Your move to Geneva will vary in terms of cost due to a variety of features. The most important being the size of your household. Other features include:

  • Type of removal transport
  • Insurance
  • Additional services
  • Time of year

We have constructed an overview of the estimate cost of moving to Geneva, bear in mind this is excluding insurances, taxes and customs fees & duties. For a more accurate estimate of your move, fill out our free removal quote form. This will only take you a few minutes and you can save up to 40% on your removal to Geneva.

Household sizeCost
1 bed£1,950 – £2,600
2 bed£2,350 – £3,200
3 bed£3,150 – £4,200
4 bed£4,050 – £5,500
5 bed£5,150 – £6,900
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Checklist

  • Residence permit – If you are wanting to stay for longer than 3 months or work in Geneva you will need a residence permit. The following are the most common:
    • Type B (Initial Residence Permits)
    • Type L (Short-Term Residence Permits)
  • Paperwork – Make sure all documents of importance are up to date and photocopied
  • Healthcare – Any person living in Switzerland must take out basic medical insurance (Grundversicherung) this must be done within three months of the date of your move. The positives of Swizz health insurance is it is known for being one of the best in the world.
  • Finance – Getting a bank account should be one of your top priorities if you’re wanting to avoid unnecessary transferal and withdrawal fees. If you are wanting to transfer money abroad you should check out our other page on the experts to transfer money abroad. The top banks in Geneva are:
  • Recognition of diplomas – It is important to check you if your diplomas are recognised in Geneva as they may need to be exchanged.
  • Taxes – Contacting the tax authorities before departure is important. They can help sort out your tax situation.
  • Notify change of address – Mail should be redirected to your new address so you don’t miss out any important mail.
  • Driving licence – You can drive in Switzerland using a foreign driver’s licence for one year. After this you can exchange your foreign driver’s licence for a Swiss equivalent without having to take a test, as long as it is exchanged within 12 months of taking up residence in Switzerland.

Working in Geneva

Geneva is one of leading financial centres in the world and those with experience in banking, finance and international trade will find good opportunities here. The Swiss unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the world and their economy continues to stay stable. Switzerland continues to attract foreign companies, due to a variety of features, from the low taxes to high salaries.

Finding a job in Geneva

Most expats working in Geneva are recruited into high level positions. Usually from headhunting or transferals from other offices. While it is not always necessary, it will give you an advantage over other if you are able to speak French. The work culture within the city is very focused and task orientated, it is also important to bear in mind that the Swiss are known for being punctual.

The best way to look for jobs are through online websites, newspapers, company websites and networking with other expats to make connections. Common online websites for job hunting include:

Removals to Geneva

Living in Geneva

Living in Geneva is very different in comparison to the UK, such as obvious factors such as the weather, language and prices. The quality of life is high in Geneva but this is also reflected in the high consumer prices. Grocery prices are actually 110% higher in Geneva in comparison to the UK which is quite a difference; however the monthly salary is also 91% higher than the UK.

Below is an overview of some of the living costs associated with Geneva

Living variablesLondon costGeneva cost
Meal at a restaurant£15.00£19.63
Beef round£8.41£34.56
Month transport pass£130.00£54.98
Monthly utilities£147.75£127.56
Monthly salary£2,165.26£4,146.83

Outdoor activities

There is plenty to do in Geneva, but its prime location means outdoor activities are abundant. From skiing in the winter to swimming in the lakes in the summer. The first thing to help you with the bearings of the city is to climb on St pierre cathedral which gives you an amazing view of the whole city. The hottest spot in the summer is for sure Bains des Pâquis, this pen air swimming spot in the centre of town brings together individuals from all over Geneva.

Making friends

It can be quite difficult to integrate with the Swiss as they are very private people. A good start would be to learn the basics of the language and get to know the cultural differences. There are often expat groups for new individuals moving to Geneva, it’s good to make new contacts for social and job purposes. Once you’ve made your new friends where should you go to grab a coffee? Below is a list of the top places to grab a coffee in Geneva

  • Les Recyclables
  • La Buverre des Bains
  • Bafe de la Presse
  • Cafe estaurant du Parc des Bastions
  • Remor

Supermarkets

Make sure you take advantage of all the fresh and local fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses, whether I’m at the farmers markets or in the grocery stores. The two main supermarkets are the Swiss grocery chains, Migros and Coop. Although you may not be used to the brands sold here the food is similar in comparison to the UK apart from most produce is fresh, so finding a ready meal may be a struggle.

Finding your dream home in Geneva

Many residents in Geneva live in rented accommodation, while there is not shortage of housing rents in Geneva are extortionately high. Rental prices are 6% higher in comparison to London.

It’s recommended to start your search for housing online, alternatively, checking local newspapers is another good source. Common real estate agents include:

Neighbourhoods

There are many area’s to choose from when moving to Geneva, below is an overview of the main areas to live in:

Central Geneva

Found in the heart of Geneva, this beautiful historic city is the most expensive neighbourhood. Properties close to the lake in Eaux Vives area are particularly popular but again come at a steep price. There is plenty for residents to do here, with a large range of restaurants, bars and cafes. Usually individuals with higher incomes are found here and is popular amongst young professionals.

Champel/Malagnou/Florissant

These are popular areas for families, the areas offer residents a peaceful retreat from the hectic daily life in the city. The properties are larger in comparison to the centre. Furthermore, these areas are located close to a number of good schools which is convenient if you are moving to Geneva with children.

Pâquis

One of the city’s liveliest neighbourhoods. This is a great area for expats as it has a very international feel. There is an variety of restaurants and lots of entertainment facilities. Public transport facilities in the area are also excellent.

Grottes/Saint-Gervais

Although close to the centre, these neighbourhoods have a cosy village feel. This area has an excellent sense of community and popular amongst expats wanting to raise families.

Cologny

The location is further away from Geneva but the travelling is worth the distance due to the panoramic views of the city. The high prices of the properties are reflected with the large houses found here. It is perfect for families who want their children to have access to space and the beautiful nature in Geneva.

Move from the UK to Geneva

Chênes-Bougeries

This is a middle-class area with affordable property. Another good option for expats with children thanks to its location close to the centre and distance to good international schools.

Transportation in Geneva

Geneva is a very environmentally conscious place, therefore public transport is a popular means of transport. Those who do drive will even turn off their engines when at traffic lights. Cycling is also strongly encouraged by the Geneva City Council to help to try further reduce harmful emissions.

Unireso is the main transportation company in Geneva and is made up of trains and busses. The public transport runs frequently, busses and trams run until about midnight during the week and later on the weekends. It is also affordable in comparison to London prices, a monthly pass will cost 60% less in Geneva in comparison to London. It is advised to get a unireso pass for discount prices on your travels.

Request free removal quotes

Thinking about moving to Geneva? Find out how much your removal will cost by filling out our free removal quote form. This will only take a few minutes and you will receive up to 5 quotes as well as saving up to 40%. We work with removal companies that specialise in removals to Geneva to help make your move as carefree as possible.