After four years, my family packed our bags in Geneva a month ago and moved to our next post. During our time, I found resources to answer nearly any question I had, from both friends and online (this blog!). But how to leave Geneva? That, I had to figure out on my own. I learned a few things along the way and wanted to pass along some tips and hints in the event you’re leaving Geneva, too.

1. Notify your landlord / regie. If you are renting your home, you need to provide notice of departure to your regie in writing. It’s also a good idea to send the letter with delivery confirmation (Recommandé; an extra CHF 5) for proof your letter was received. Our regie sent us written confirmation of our notice of departure and the contact information for their person in charge of departures.

Image credit: Tribune de Genève

Image credit: Tribune de Genève

2. Notify the Canton of Geneva of your departure. Same as notifying the authorities when you move house within the canton, you need to tell the Office Cantonal de la Population et des Migrations in Onex that you are leaving Geneva. For written proof of your leaving, an attestation from the OCPM costs CHF 25. You may not need this document, but it can come in handy when cancelling other services (see next item). If you’re moving abroad, you may also be required to turn over your residence permit.

3. Notify any other services of your departure. Utilities, gym memberships, mobile phone providers all have different policies for terminating your contract. The typical notice period is three months, though this can vary. In our case, we realized shortly before our departure date that Swisscom required three months’ notice before cancelling our internet, mobile phone, and television package (fortunately, they waived the three month period when we produced our attestation of departure). With SIG, we took the final meter readings on our last day in our home and they sent our final bill to our new address.

4. Have your mail forwarded. The Swiss Poste will forward your mail (for a fee, of course) to your new address, anywhere in the world, for one year after you move. We waited until the last minute to do this and they still were able to start forwarding services the next day. If you’re moving within Switzerland, this costs CHF 42; abroad, the cost for mail forwarding is CHF 102 for one adult (as of June 2015). Each additional adult is CHF 5, and an express order (e.g., begin forwarding immediately) costs CHF 10 extra. More information is available from Swiss Poste online here.

5. Schedule cleaning, initial walk-through, and final walk-through with your regie. When our regie confirmed our departure date, they sent us a detailed list of what we needed to do before we could hand back our keys. After scheduling a time with us, their representative came by our apartment and did an initial walk-through to tell us what needed to be repaired, fixed, or cleaned. The cleaning standards were exacting; we were told we should use professional cleaners to ensure we got the maximum amount of our security deposit back. After our belongings were packed, the cleaners spent the better part of a day in the apartment. Our final walk-through with the regie was the next morning, and after the inspection, we removed our nameplate and turned over our keys.

A final glimpse of Switzerland

A final glimpse of Switzerland

One thing we did that I would pass on to anyone leaving Geneva is to be sure and ask the regie to recommend a cleaning service. The contact we were given proved excellent; the regie already had a relationship with the service, and they knew the expected standard for cleanliness.

Have you left Geneva and want to pass along your own hints or tips? Tell us below in the Comments!

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