Our legal experts will be happy to advise you !

We can help you to understand your options, decide on a course of action and complete administrative procedures. Book your first 45-minute consultation completely free of charge.

Our services

Boundless Consultancy offers a range of services above and beyond legal advice. Our aim is to make all your procedures as hassle-free as possible by providing everything you might need in one place.

Language services

We know that not speaking the local language represents a major obstacle for many migrants trying to complete legal procedures or access benefits, which is why we offer translation, editing and drafting services. Our qualified and experienced native English translator is on hand should you need any documents, letters or forms translating from or into French or Italian – just contact us to let us know what you need. Moreover, our legal advisers speak a range of languages and will be happy to help you understand any documents not available in your language or to draft documents in an official Swiss language.


Note that for some legal procedures, translations of official documents such as birth or marriage certificates must be performed and certified by a sworn translator approved by the authorities – find one here or check the website of your canton.


Small businesses who would like a business address without the expense of renting an office have the option of paying a small domiciliation fee to register their company at one of our addresses. We will receive and forward all mail that the business receives and may be able to offer other specific services on request – contact us for more information.


Here you can find explanations and translations of some terms that come up often in Swiss administrative procedures. Where applicable, we provide the terms in French and German for information.






  • Accident and occupational illness insurance

Obligatory insurance covering medical expenses relating to work-related illnesses and any accidents, whether work-related or not.

  • Assurance-accidents (AA)
  • Unfallversicherung (UV)
  • Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP)

Switzerland’s agreement with the EU granting citizens of EU and EFTA countries access to live and work in Switzerland, and vice versa.

  • Accord sur la libre circulation des personnes (ALCP)
  • Accord entre la Confédération suisse, d’une part, et la Communauté européenne et ses États membres, d’autre part, sur la libre circulation des personnes
  • Freizügigkeitsabkommen (FZA)
  • Abkommen zwischen der Schweizerischen Eidgenossenschaft einerseits und der Europäischen Gemeinschaft und ihren Mitgliedstaaten andererseits über die Freizügigkeit
Civil registry office.
  • Office de l’état civil
  • Zivilstandsamt
  • Canton

Semi-autonomous region of Switzerland; the largest administrative division. Each canton is divided into communes/municipalities.

  • Canton
  • Kanton
Cantonal population/migration office.
  • Office cantonal de la population et des migrations (OCPM) (Geneva)
  • Service de la population (SPOP) (Jura, Vaud)
  • Service de la population et des migrants (Fribourg)
  • Service de la population et des migrations (SPM) (Valais)
  • Service des migrations (SMIG) (Neuchâtel)


  • Abteilung Migration (Glarus)
  • Amt für Arbeit und Migration (Uri)
  • Amt für Bevölkerungsdienste des Kantons Bern
  • Amt für Inneres, Abteilung Migration (Appenzell Ausserrhoden)
  • Amt für Justiz, Migration (Nidwalden)
  • Amt für Migration (AFM) (Luzern, Obwalden, Schwyz, Zug)
  • Amt für Migration und Bürgerrecht (Basel-Landschaft)
  • Amt für Migration und Integration Kanton Aargau (MIKA)
  • Amt für Migration und Zivilrecht (Graubünden)
  • Ausländer- und Passamt (Liechtenstein)
  • Bevölkerungsdienste und Migration (Basel-Stadt)
  • Migrationsamt (Solothurn, St. Gallen)
  • Migrationsamt des Kantons Thurgau
  • Migrationsamt des Kantons Zürich
  • Migrationsamt und Passbüro (Schaffhausen)
  • Verwaltungspolizei, Amt für Ausländerfragen (Appenzell Innerrhoden)
  • Commune/municipality

The lowest administrative division in the three-tier Swiss system (Confederation – Canton – Commune).

This term can also be used refer to the entity (local authority) rather than the geographical area.

  • Commune
  • Gemeinde
  • Politische Gemeinde
  • Contribution to jointly acquired property

The default matrimonial property regime, where each spouse owns their personal property and assets acquired before marriage, while assets earned during the marriage and shared.

  • Participation aux acquêts
  • Errungenschaftsbeteiligung
  • Cross-border commuter

Someone who works in Switzerland but lives in a neighbouring country.

  • Frontalier
  • Grenzgänger
  • Disability insurance
  • Assurance-invalidité (AI)
  • Invalidenversicherung (IV)
  • Employment office
  • Office de l’emploi
  • Family allowance

Social welfare benefits paid to all parents, including child benefit and, in some cantons, birth and adoptions allowances.

  • Allocations familiales (AF)
  • Familienzulagen
Federal act on compensation for loss of earnings in the event of service, maternity or paternity.
  • Loi fédérale sur les allocations pour perte de gain en cas de service, de maternité et de paternité
  • Loi sur les allocations pour perte de gain (LAPG)
  • Bundesgesetz über den Erwerbsersatz für Dienstleistende, bei Mutterschaft und bei Vaterschaft
  • Erwerbsersatzgesetz (EOG)
Federal act on disability insurance.
  • Loi fédérale sur l’assurance-invalidité (LAI)
Bundesgesetz über die Invalidenversicherung (

  • IVG)
  • Federal Act on Foreign Nationals and Integration
  • Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (FNIA)
  • Loi fédérale sur les étrangers et l’intégration (LEI)
  • Bundesgesetz über die Ausländerinnen und Ausländer und über die Integration
  • Ausländer- und Integrationsgesetz (AIG)
  • Federal Act on Gender Equality
  • Gender Equality Act (GEA)
  • Loi fédérale sur l’égalité entre femmes et hommes
  • Loi sur l’égalité (LEg)


  • Bundesgesetz über die Gleichstellung von Frau und Mann
  • Gleichstellungsgesetz (GlG)
Federal act on insurance against accidents.
  • Loi fédérale sur l’assurance-accidents (LAA)
  • Bundesgesetz über die Unfallversicherung (UVG)
Federal act on supplementary benefits.
  • Loi fédérale sur les prestations complémentaires à l’AVS et à l’AI
  • Loi sur les prestations complémentaires (LPC)
  • Bundesgesetz über Ergänzungsleistungen zur Alters-,Hinterlassenen- und Invalidenversicherung (ELG)
  • Federal Act on the Amendment of the Swiss Civil Code (Part Five: The Code of Obligations)

The law governing contracts.

  • Loi fédérale complétant le Code civil suisse (Livre cinquième: Droit des obligations)
  • Code des obligations (CO)
  • Bundesgesetz betreffend die Ergänzung des Schweizerischen Zivilgesetzbuches (Fünfter Teil: Obligationenrecht) (OR)
Federal act on unemployment insurance.
  • Loi fédérale sur l’assurance-chômage obligatoire et l’indemnité en cas d’insolvabilité
  • Loi sur l’assurance-chômage (LACI)
  • Bundesgesetz über die obligatorische Arbeitslosenver­sicherung und die Insolvenzentschädigung
  • Arbeitslosenversicherungsgesetz (AVIG)
Federal act on vested benefits.
  • Loi fédérale sur le libre passage dans la prévoyance professionnelle vieillesse, survivants et invalidité
  • Loi sur le libre passage (LFLP)
  • Bundesgesetz über die Freizügigkeit in der beruflichen Alters-, Hinterlassenen- und Invalidenvorsorge
  • Freizügigkeitsgesetz (FZG)
Federal act on workplace pensions.
  • Loi fédérale sur la prévoyance professionnelle vieillesse, survivants et invalidité (LPP)
  • Bundesgesetz über die berufliche Alters-, Hinterlassenen-und Invalidenvorsorge (BVG)
  • Federal Administrative Court

The highest power for administrative matters, such as appeals against decisions on visas and permits.

  • Tribunal administratif fédéral (TAF)
  • Bundesverwaltungsgerichts (BVGer)
  • Federal Council

The seven-member council that functions as Switzerland’s head of state. The presidency rotates between the members on an annual basis, but the president has no more power than the other members; he or she is merely the member who represents the Federal Council in an international context.

  • Conseil fédéral
  • Bundesrat
  • Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA)
  • Département fédéral des affaires étrangères (DFAE)
  • Eidgenössisches Departement für auswärtige Angelegenheiten (EDA)
Federal family allowance act.
  • Loi fédérale sur les allocations familiales et les aides financières allouées aux organisations familiales
  • Loi sur les allocations familiales (LAFam)
  • Bundesgesetz über die Familienzulagen und Finanzhilfen an Familienorganisationen
  • Familienzulagengesetz (FamZG)
Federal health insurance act.

The term is also often used to refer to the obligatory minimum insurance itself (in contrast to complementary insurance) rather than to the actual law.

  • Loi fédérale sur l’assurance maladie (LAMal)
  • Bundesgesetz über die Krankenversicherung (KVG)
Federal labour code.
  • Loi fédérale sur le travail dans l’industrie, l’artisanat et le commerce
  • Loi sur le travail (LTr)
  • Bundesgesetz über die Arbeit in Industrie, Gewerbe und Handel
  • Arbeitsgesetz (ArG)
Federal state pension act.
  • Loi fédérale sur l’assurance-vieillesse et survivants (LAVS)
  • Bundesgesetz über die Alters- und Hinterlassenenversicherung (AHVG)
  • Federal Supreme Court
  • Tribunal fédéral
  • Bundesgericht (BGer)
  • General partnership

A type of company formed of two or more individuals who bear full liability.

  • Société en nom collectif (SNC)
  • Kommanditgesellschaft
  • Joint estates

A matrimonial property regime whereby all assets are shared except items strictly considered personal property by law.

  • Communauté des biens
  • Gütergemeinschaft
  • Legitimation card

The document granted to the staff of international organisations and their families in place of a residence permit.

  • Carte de légitimation (CDL)
  • Legitimationskarte
  • Limited liability company
  • Société à responsabilité limité (Sàrl)
  • Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH)
Loss-of-earnings compensation for people performing national service.
  • Allocations pour perte de gain (APG)
  • Allocations pour perte de gain en cas de service
Erwerbsersatzordnung (EO)
  • Maternity pay
  • Allocation maternité (AMat)
  • Mutterschaftsentschädigung (MSE)
  • Non-EU/EFTA country

In some cases, this means strictly a non-EU country; however, in the Swiss context, EFTA countries are usually subject to the same agreements as EU countries.

  • Pays tiers
  • Drittland
  • Nicht-EU-Staat
  • Old-age and survivors’ insurance (OASI)
  • “First-pillar” pension

Obligatory state pension.

The acronym AVS/AHV may be used to refer to the contributions or the pension received, as well as to the first-pillar system in general.

  • Assurance-vieillesse et survivants (AVS)
  • 1er pilier
  • Prévoyance vieillesse obligatoire
  • Alters- und Hinterlassenenversicherung (AHV)
  • 1. Säule
  • Public limited company
  • Société anonyme (SA)
  • Aktiengesellschaft (AG)
  • Regional job centre

The office responsible for supporting job seekers.

  • Office régional de placement (ORP)
  • Regionales Arbeitsvermittlungs-zentrum (RAV)
  • Residence permit
  • B permit
  • Autorisation de séjour
  • Permis de séjour
  • Permis B
  • Livret B
  • Aufenthaltsbewilligung
  • Ausweis B


  • Second-pillar pension
  • Workplace pension

Obligatory workplace pension, to which both the employer and the employee make monthly contributions.

  • Prévoyance professionnelle (PP)
  • 2ème pilier
  • Berufliche Vorsorge (BV)
  • 2. Säule
  • Separate estates

A matrimonial property regime whereby each spouse retains complete ownership of all their existing assets and those earned during the marraige.

  • Séparation des biens
  • Gütertrennung
  • Settlement permit
  • Settled status
  • C permit
  • Autorisation d’établissement
  • Permis d’établissement
  • Permis C
  • Livret C
  • Niederlassungsbewilligung
  • Ausweis C


  • Sole trader
  • Sole proprietorship

The company of a single, self-employed person working alone.

  • Raison individuelle
  • Entreprise individuelle
  • State Secretariat for Migration
  • Secrétariat d’État aux migrations (SEM)
  • Staatssekretariat für Migrations (SEM)
  • Supplementary benefits

Additional benefits provided on top of AVS and AI payments to cover living costs, as provided for by the LPC/ELG.

  • Prestations complémentaires à l’AVS et à l’AI (PC)


  • Ergänzungsleistungen zur AHV und IV (EL)


  • Third-pillar pension (type A)

The first type of optional private pension, contributions to which are tax-deductible and which can be used against a mortgage.

  • 3ème pilier lié (3a)
  • Dritte Säule (Vorsorge 3a)
  • Third-pillar pension (type B)

The second type of optional private pension, which is more flexible than a 3a pension but doesn’t offer the same tax advantages.

  • 3ème pilier libre (3b)


  • Dritte Säule (Vorsorge 3b)
  • Unemployment insurance
  • Assurance chômage (AC)
  • Arbeitslosenversicherung (ALV)
  • Vested benefits account
  • Compte de libre passage
  • Freizügigkeitskonto

Our legal experts will be happy to advise you !

We can help you to understand your options, decide on a course of action and complete administrative procedures. Book your first 45-minute consultation completely free of charge.