Expat City Guide for Basel

The Basel way of life is a blend of relaxed warmth, artistic culture and cosmopolitan hustle and bustle. It is uniquely situated where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, depicting influences from each. The old town is rich in history, boasting romantic narrow streets, hidden squares and centuries-old buildings.
The other half of the city offers a modern artistic twist and world-class architecture. Art and history lovers have over 30 museums to choose from, along with performing arts like the Basel Symphony Orchestra and the Basel Chamber Orchestra which support the city’s tradition of classical music.
Basel was voted one of the top ten cities in the world for quality of life, so it’s no surprise that over 30% of the 170,000 population are expats. Those wishing to reside in Switzerland for work will require a residence permit issued by the Migration Office; typically, you’ll need a work contract in place or be enrolled in a school in order to get one. There are various permits to choose from and family permits are available.
Along with an abundance of activities, Basel offers an exceptional infrastructure to support you and your family in all areas of life. Leisure, healthcare, schools, and local transportation all offer outstanding facilities.
If you’re moving to Basel with children you have 2 options for education, Swiss state schools or private schools. Many expats opt for state schools as they have a stellar reputation. All neighbourhoods have a local school within walking distance, and they are a great way of immersing your family into the local community. You will find a lot of those living in the suburbs English-speaking, but it’s a bonus for your children to pick up some Swiss-German at school for free!
The Swiss have access to some of the best healthcare in the world. Anyone staying for more than 3 months must take out medical insurance through a Swiss insurance provider. You will need to take out individual insurance policies for you and the family, along with selecting the most suitable deductibles. A deductible is a fixed expense you must pay. It’s imperative to do your research into the best health insurance deductible for you and your family; this can save you money and headaches.
Transport in Basel is reliable and comprehensive. Trams and buses run frequently making the daily commute to the city stress free. On the weekends take advantage of being so close to France and Germany; in under an hour you can reach quaint Little Venice in Colmar, France or head to the Black Forest in Freiburg Germany in 50 minutes.
Expat life in Basel offers a thriving community. There are frequent ‘InterNation’ events you can easily find online; browse by interest and join activities with likeminded expats to help you settle in seamlessly.
If you are moving to Basel, there are regulations around shipping your belongings. Our team are experts on shipping requirements & logistics for moving to Switzerland and can help make your move a smoother transition.