Moving to Basel as a Tax Professional

Middle Bridge Basel Switzerland

Are you interested in the exciting opportunities that Kingpin International has to offer in Basel? Then here is what you need to know before the big move!

Facts about Basel

With around 170,000 residents, Basel is Switzerland’s third-largest city. While there are 4 official languages in Switzerland, the most commonly spoken one in Basel is Swiss German. Swiss German is very unlike traditional German and has a French tone to it. It is recommended that you learn a few essential phrases in the native language before moving. However, as with most countries, English is used in business circles. As reported by the Expat Insider 2017 Basel came out first on Safety and Politics with a 98% safety rate, which would appeal to expats considering a move with a family.

Making the Move

Almost all nationals from the countries in the EU or EFTA have the right to move to Switzerland under the Freedom of Movement Act. However, for stays longer than three months you have to register to work and apply for a residence permit. Otherwise, a Swiss visa is required as well as a residence permit and authorisation to work in the country. It is the law that when living in the country you are covered by their health insurance policy. This is normally obtained by a private insurance company such as Helvetia. Once you have stayed in the country for 90 days the government will want proof of insurance.

Are you thinking of bringing any pets with you to Switzerland? If so, the following documents are required: microchip, pet ID card, valid blood test and certificate of vaccinations. Before moving to the country, it is important to do some research on their banks and choose which one would be best for you. The major banks have information in English on their website.

Getting around the City

The public transport system in Basel is extensive and reliable. Trams and buses run daily from early morning to late at night and cover the entire city. Tickets can only be bought on machines at each bus or tram stop. Frequent users can purchase monthly and yearly passes at discounted rates. Car parking in the Basel area can be difficult and drivers have to pay a yearly fee to have access to the highway. Foreign nationals have the right to drive in Switzerland for one year once they arrive using their home country’s driving license. After which, you will have to exchange your home license for a Swiss equivalent.

Basel’s airport is easily accessible by public transport but is a smaller airport with only budget airlines flying out. However, Zurich International airport is only 1.5 hours away by train.


Finding accommodation in Basel is difficult, with there being a high demand for properties throughout the year. It is Switzerland’s most densely populated area and has 19 neighbourhoods to choose from. The most popular neighbourhoods for expats are Bachletten and Matthaeus, as well as the city centre. Bachletten is more popular with families as it is green, quiet and offers many family homes and is only a 15-minute drive from the International School Basel. Whereas Matthaeus is populous and offers a range of upscale accommodation and smaller apartments which would be perfect for an expat couple. Websites such as Homegate and will be resourceful in your search for your new home.

Cost of living in Basel, Switzerland

Cost of living compared with New York City: 29.9% higher


Rent: $1,351.15 for a one-bedroom in the city centre
Utilities: $208.64
Commuter pass: $80.30
Cappuccino: $5.29
Domestic beer: $8.03

Basel red town hall

Visitor Attractions

Basel has a generous offering of art galleries, museums, opera houses and theatres so you will never be short of something to do on your day off. A popular visit is the Fine Arts Museum which is one of the biggest and oldest public museum collections in Europe. Other interests for art lovers include the Jean Tinguely Museum and Art Basel, which is an annual art event showcasing the works of over 4000 artists. Popular tourist attractions in the city include a boat ride down the river Rhine and visiting the city’s town hall or cathedrals.

Are you moving with a young family?

Schooling in Basel begins at the age of four when children attend a mandatory two years of kindergarten to prepare them for primary school. The schooling system then follows similar systems as most European countries. The language in the classroom tends to be German but pupils will also learn French and English from primary school onwards. Younger children pick up languages easily, so if public school is your preferred option the language wouldn’t be a hindrance. There is an abundance of public schools local to where you live and further afield. If an international school is the preferred option, it’s worth starting your search at International School Basel and Black Forest Academy.

Numerous kid’s clubs run after school hours which your child can attend to integrate into the local community. A list of clubs can be found here. For younger kids, there are a number of English/German playgroups in the area which offers social time with local children to pick up lifelong language skills.

If you are interested in a move to Basel or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about international tax opportunities, please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, please browse our current international tax vacancies.