Swiss Social Security Agreements

The table below shows whether the social security systems in the United States or Switzerland cover your work as a salaried worker and self-employed person. If U.S. Social Security covers your work, you and your employer must pay U.S. Social Security taxes. If the Swiss system covers your work, you and your employer must meet swiss contribution requirements. The “Coverage Certificate” section explains how to obtain a form from one country to prove that you are exempt in the other country. Swiss Social Security is based on a three-pillar system of public, professional and private insurance: for more information about Medicare, visit The Medicare website at www.medicare.com. You can also visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov and receive our Medicare publication (No. 05-10043). Swiss pensions are not payable abroad, except under a social security contract. For more information on Swiss social security programmes, write to the compensation fund in the canton in which you live or to one of the local branches. If you do not live in Switzerland, write to: For more information, visit our website: www.socialsecurity.gov/international. In accordance with the agreement on the free movement of persons between Switzerland and the European Union, relations with the Member States of the European Union will be subject, from 1 April 2012, to the provisions of Regulations (EC) 883/04 and (EC) 987/09.

These two regulations coordinate the various European social security systems. The guarantee certificate you receive from one country indicates the effective date of your exemption from paying social security contributions in the other country. In general, this is the start date of your temporary transfer to the other country or the start date of your self-employment. To avoid any difficulties, your employer (or you, if you are self-employed) should apply for a coverage certificate as soon as possible, preferably before starting your work in the other country. A new agreement between the United States and Switzerland, effective August 1, 2014, improves social protection for people working or working in both countries. The agreement helps many people who would not otherwise be entitled to monthly pension, disability or survival benefits under the social security system of one or both countries. The agreement also helps people who would otherwise have to pay social security contributions to the two countries with the same incomes. Since 1 January 2007, same-sex registered partnerships in Switzerland have been considered a marriage in terms of social security.

A surviving registered partner has the same rights as a widower. Switzerland is a member of several international social organisations. Switzerland has also ratified some of the legal instruments or “standard conventions” developed by these organisations. To determine your exemption from U.S. social security contributions during temporary transactions in the United States, your employer in Switzerland must apply for a certificate of coverage (FORM CH/USA 10) from the compensation fund in Switzerland that deducts your social security fees in Switzerland. Under U.S. law, U.S. Social Security applies to the self-employed if they are U.S. citizens or foreign aliens. The agreement says that if you are independent and live in the United States or Switzerland, the country in which you live will cover you and tax you normally.

Therefore, if you are self-employed and live in the United States, you pay U.S. taxes on self-employment and you do not have to pay Swiss Social Security taxes on your self-employed income. A complete list of routine uses for this information can be found in our Registration Information System, entitled Wage Data and the Income System for Self-Employment, 60-0059.