Pensions for young professionals I'm moving abroad

Planning to live abroad for a long time? You should consider your pension situation.

byUBS Insights 12 Mar 2020
Source: UBS

Avoid gaps in your AHV pension

Don't save in the wrong place: pay the annual minimum contribution into AHV even when you're abroad (2021: 503 francs). If necessary, you can make up contribution gaps within five years. But that's the limit, and your AHV pension will be reduced by about 2.3% for each contribution year that you miss.

What should you be aware of with regard to pension funds?

Your obligation to pay into your pension fund doesn't apply anymore when you end your employment in Switzerland. Some pension funds allow you to still remain insured for temporary stays abroad. If your pension fund doesn't offer this service, you can have your retirement savings maintained by the UBS Vested Benefits Foundation (

Retain your pillar 3a account, tax-free

By the way, you can't pay into pillar 3a if you don't have any income that is subject to AHV in Switzerland. However, you can still retain your pillar 3a account free of tax during your stay abroad.

Have you thought of everything?

Read the most important things to do if you move abroad.

  • Make sure that you pay in the minimum AHV amount every year. Note the contact information for AHV payments, and make a reminder for yourself.
  • Make sure that your pension fund assets are kept in the place that you designate (e.g. vested benefits account).
    Extra tip: Normally, pension funds limit maintaining pension savings to six months during unpaid vacations. In this time, varying benefits are possible depending on the pension fund regulations.
  • Take out a health insurance and accident insurance policy that is valid abroad. Watch out: when your employment contract is terminated, your insurance protection against accidents lapses after 30 days.
    Extra tip: Check with your employer's accident insurance company to see whether you can take out what is called interim accident insurance so that your insurance coverage is maintained.
  • Update your passport or identification card.
  • Get a visa or work permit from the country that you're emigrating to.
  • If you are in the military, you need to apply for a foreign vacation.
  • Deregister from your municipality.
    Extra tip: Request a deregistration certificate from your municipality. Subscriptions, cell phone contracts and insurance policies can be terminated regardless of the termination period with a deregistration certificate.
  • Give notice to Serafe and your electric company.
  • Pay all open tax bills, the earlier the better. You'll only be liable to pay taxes again once you return to Switzerland. Contact your tax authority early on for details.
  • Check whether your driver's license and diplomas will be recognized.
  • Keep important documents and records in a secure place, and make electronic copies of them.
    Extra tip: For example, the UBS Safe app for clients with UBS Digital Banking is suitable for this. For further information visit:
  • Have your mail forwarded, or give a second address (family, friends).
  • Check the limit and validity of your credit card, and make sure that your bills will be covered by your bank account (direct debit system).
    Extra tip: With a prepaid card on a pay-as-you-go basis, you always have your budget under control and can shop worldwide conveniently and securely. These cards can be easily reloaded using your UBS E-Banking.
  • Make sure that you can access your e-banking account when you're abroad.
  • See if you can open an account abroad.

More for tomorrow

Your pension is a topic that accompanies you in every phase of life. Get on the right track at an early age. Order your guide for young people under 35.