The CDL holder is allowed to travel with his spouse and dependents under the age of 25 during his duties in Switzerland. Consequently, family members are equally granted a CDL, allowing them to reside lawfully in the country at the same address than the main applicant (art. 22 OLEH).
If dependents wish to work in Switzerland, a Ci permit should be requested to replace the CDL. In this case, it is the Office Cantonal de la Population et des Migrations (OCPM) for the canton of Geneva who is responsible for delivering these permits in the canton.
A work contract signed by the two parties is required to apply for the Ci permit by lodging the form K).
The Ci permit functions the same way as a Swiss work permit, allowing the holder to work full-time without any restrictions in the canton. Ci permit holders are not subject to work restrictions applying to non-European workers such as job market priority processes and quotas. Ci permits can be delivered for employed or self-employed activities for a maximum period of 2 years, renewable.
Children holding a CDL who arrived after the age of 21 in Switzerland are not entitled to receive a Ci permit. They must apply for a B permit if they wish to work or study. In this case, non-EU applicants will be subject to job market priority access and the quotas of permits available.
Access to C permit
At the time of retirement, a CDL holder over 55 years old who has lived in Switzerland for at least five years before retiring is allowed to apply for a B or C permit. A courtesy period of three months must be requested by the organization employing the applicant before the end of the contract, in order to leave the CDL holder enough time to apply. Proof of sufficient funds to cover living costs and good integration in the commune of residency must be demonstrated. A good level of French or German is also mandatory. It is up to the SEM in Bern to grant the C permit or not to the CDL holder and his spouse.
Children over 21 years old with 12 years of residency in Switzerland from the date they received a CDL can request a C permit if they live separately from the family and are well integrated in Switzerland, depending on the SEM appreciation (Chapter 126.96.36.199 Directives LEI p. 164).
Access to naturalization
Under the current law LN, access to naturalization is challenging for children holding a CDL who have lived in Switzerland for more than 12 years. The issue lies in the fact that from 2018 all applicants must hold a C permit to request the citizenship (art. 9 al. 1 let. a LN). Despite being fully integrated and sometimes born in the country, a child holding a CDL cannot be granted a C permit before the age of 21, as pathways to go from a CDL to a C permit remain in a grey zone for children.