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The acquisition of real estate by foreigners is regulated by the Federal Law on the Acquisition of Real Estate by Persons Abroad (originally called Lex Friedrich, today Lex Koller). Additionally, cantonal law and for some cities and villages also local law stipulates further detailed regulations. The Lex Koller requires "persons abroad" to obtain a permit from the appropriate cantonal and federal authorities before buying real estate in Switzerland.
Scope of the Regulation: "Persons abroad" in the sense of the Lex Koller can be individuals as well as legal entities.
This means that nationals of EU/EFTA member states domiciled in Switzerland (in particular EU/EFTA nationals with a residence permit EU-EFTA (autorisation de séjour/Aufenthaltsbewilligung or so called B permit) or a settlement permit EU-EFTA or, possibly, with a short residence permit EU-EFTA) as well as nationals of other foreign countries who are holders of a valid settlement permit (C permit) and are actually domiciled in Switzerland, are not subject to the "Lex Koller". With respect to the acquisition of real estate their position is equal to that of a Swiss citizen.
The term "acquisition of real estate" encompasses not only the direct purchase of real estate but also the acquisition of property rights (rights in rem) on the real estate as well as the procurement of a right of ownership or usufruct in a share of a legal entity the actual object of which is the acquisition of real property.