person abroad

 

WHAT IS THE "LEX KOLLER"?

The Federal Law on the acquisition of property by persons abroad (LFAIE), also known by the name Lex Koller, is a Swiss law that limits access to real estate to those who do not hold a Swiss passport. It is not easy to explain how this edict works, because it varies depending on the type of residence permit held in Switzerland, the country of origin and even the place of residence. Furthermore, the law changes depending on how one wishes to use the property, as a main residence, second home, holiday home, company headquarters or investment for example. It should be noted that a foreign buyer cannot buy a residential investment property. However, he can invest in property for commercial, industrial or small business purposes or in social housing.

 

BUT WHO IS CONSIDERED AS A "PERSON ABROAD"?

Foreigners resident abroad are considered as "persons abroad". Foreigners resident in Switzerland who are not citizens of a member country of the European Community (EC) or the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), or persons who do not have a valid residency authorisation (C permit) are also considered as such. The law also applies to the case of a buyer not subject to the LFAIE who wishes to buy real estate on behalf of a third person living abroad who is subject to this law. We should of course specify that Swiss citizens resident in Switzerland and those resident abroad are not subject to the Lex Koller.

 

WHAT TYPE OF FOREIGNER IS CONSIDERED AS A SWISS CITIZEN UNDER THE LFAIE?

Anyone who is a citizen of a member state of the EC or EFTA is considered as a Swiss citizen from the time when he chooses Switzerland as his principal place of residence. From this point he is no longer subject to the LFAIE, just like persons from countries other than those cited in the notes at the bottom of the page, who are resident in Switzerland and hold a C permit.

 

I AM A CITIZEN OF A COUNTRY THAT IS NOT A MEMBER OF THE EC OR EFTA AND I WANT TO BUY REAL ESTATE IN SWITZERLAND. 

It is possible to do this without authorisation! To do this, the person in question must hold a valid residence permit and personally live in the property without subletting it. Furthermore, the area of the property and the plot of land must form a single entity. Therefore, parcelling out is not authorised. When the property exceeds 3,000m2, it must be referred to the relevant authority, which, in Geneva, is the Department of Economy and Health. Also, anyone with the type of permit that has a limited term (L) must be examined by the authorities.