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Can I form a GmbH or AG in Switzerland from outside the country?

In principle, it is possible to form a company in Switzerland from outside the country without a Swiss permanent residence permit. However, there are some requirements that must be satisfied:

  • Place of residence: At least one member of the board of directors or of the management (in the case of an AG) or at least one managing director or director (in the case of a GmbH) must hold a valid residence and work permit in Switzerland.

  • Signing authority: If there is only one person with a valid residence and work permit in Switzerland, this person must have registered sole signature rights. If there are several persons, joint signature rights of two of them are sufficient.

  • Registered office: The company’s registered office must be in Switzerland, either in rented premises or at an address for service.

  • Authorisation for real estate business: Under the “Lex Friedrich” (Federal Act of 16 December 1983 on the Acquisition of Immovable Property in Switzerland by Foreign Non-Residents), companies with investors outside Switzerland require authorisation to acquire real estate. Without this authorisation, the purpose of the company may not include any real estate business.

These are the conditions under which a company may be formed in Switzerland from outside the country.

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