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Local business incentives - Legal forms of companies - Registration and licensing procedures - Legal framework - Foreign exchange control - Regulations concerning equity investment - FDI inflows - Expertise of the political risk

Local business incentives

The Swiss legislation provides financial aids, tax incentives in order to support foreign investments. They are mainly granted if investments satisfy certain conditions such as investment in less developed sectors of activity or in economically weak regions. Any investment project must aim at creating jobs. Companies will then benefit from total or partial tax exemptions. Request in order to be granted these aids must be sent to the competent authorities of the canton where the project is going to be carried out. Note that these aids and incentives can vary from one canton to another.
26 cantons constitute the Swiss confederation: Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Altdorf, Schwyz, Sarnen, Stans, Glaris, Zoug, Fribourg, Solothurn, Basel, Liestal, Schaffhouse, Herisau, Appenzell, Saint-Gall, Coire, Aarau, Frauenfeld, Bellinzona, Lausanne, Zion, Neuchâtel, Geneva and Delémont.
The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs provides assistance to foreign investors.


Legal forms of companies

Form Number of partners/shareholders Minimum and/or maximum capital Liability Registration fee Release of financial documents
Private Limited Company. Minimum 2 partners. Minimum CHF 20,000. Maximum CHF 2 million. Liability is limited up to the registered capital and not to the amount contributed. CHF 600 for registration with the Register of Companies. No
Public Limited Company. Minimum 3 partners. Minimum 100,000 CHF. Liability is limited to the amount contributed. CHF 600 for registration with the Trade Register . Yes
General partnership. Minimum 2 partners. No minimum capital. Liability is unlimited. CHF 240 for registration with the Trade Register. No
Limited partnership. Two types of partners: active partners and sleeping partners. No minimum capital. Liability of active partners is unlimited. Liability of sleeping partners is limited to the amount contributed. CHF 240 for registration with the Trade Register. No

Registration and licensing procedures
Request for registration is either oral and signed by the official partners, the managers or the administrators with the register's clerk, or written and with duly certified signatures. The required documents and information in the register vary depending on the corporate form. Documents must be drawn up in one of the official language used in the concerned canton.
Registration made in due form, is passed on the following day to the federal Office of the Companies Registrar which, upon approval, publishes it in the Swiss Official Business Sheet (FOSC).

Foreign exchange control
There are no restrictions on currency exchange controls in Switzerland.

Regulations concerning equity investment
A majority holding interest in stock of a local company is legal in Switzerland.  

Foreign Direct Investment inflows in Switzerland

FDI inflows 2003 2004 2005 World rank (*)
FDI inflows (USD million) 16 503 750 5 795 84/141
Source : UNCTAD - World Investment Report
Note : (*) World Rank = UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index. It is a measure of the extend to which a host country receives inward FDI relative to its economic size. It is calculated as a ratio of the country's share in global FDI inflows to its share in global GDP.


Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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