For the past two days Andrew and I have been out and about Lausanne with our relocation consultant. We spent all day Monday viewing apartments and also going to the Lausanne registration office.
We are required to register with both the local city and the federal government as residents. Once our registration is complete in about 6-8 weeks, we will have our residence permits and our Swiss identification cards. Unfortunately, something got mixed up when I applied for my visa because I have only been given a single entry visa on my passport. That means I cannot leave the country until I am fully registered with the local and federal government (Andrew somehow managed to get a multi-entry visa without knowing it). Philippe says I could probably go by train across the border and I’ll be okay, but to not leave the country via plane. Not so sure I’m going to test his theory. I like it here in Switzerland and don’t want to get kicked out just yet!
Monday we visited apartments in areas all over the city. Unfortunately, Philippe couldn’t find any available apartments that met our criteria in our top choice of neighborhoods, but he found others in some really nice places and overall we ended up with some tough choices. Overall, the apartments were much more spacious than I expected, were far more modern/updated, had fully stocked kitchens, and the rents were not as bad as we thought they would be (though we are likely ruined after living in SF and paying the crazy rent there – SF friends, I know you hear me!). It’s definitely a competitive renters market here, as we had four out of ten apartment viewings cancelled on us during the day since they’d already been taken by someone else. Today we submitted a request on one of the apartments that we liked the best. Keep your fingers crossed for us that we get it! We should hear back on Wednesday if they accept our offer, which would be a wonderful birthday present for me 🙂 Here are some photos from the six apartments we viewed just for fun to see what they’re like:
Tuesday morning we went down to Ouchy on the lake front for a run. It was about 80 and sunny. The view of the mountains is a bit hazy, but I am so excited that this is our new view for running! Today we went in the south-east direction towards Pully. Next time we’ll run in the opposite direction to see what it’s like.
Tuesday afternoon we met up with Philippe to get some more administrative stuff done. I can now say that I HAVE A SWISS BANK ACCOUNT! hahaha welllll they’re not like those secretive, private Swiss bank accounts that you hear about in the movies. We had to sign several forms, including one to the IRS to declare our bank account and authorize our bank, UBS, to tell them whatever they need to know. Our experience with UBS was excellent. They had a super nice building, gave us our own private conference room to discuss with our private banker, while being offered drinks from a concierge and nice comfortable space to hang out in. In about five days we should be able to start using our local account, which will be nice since right now we’re using our US credit cards and Swiss Francs we brought over from the U.S.
After that, we visited the Centre de Biometrie, which is the federal residence registration office. After getting our paperwork in order and confirming that we’re allowed to be here, taking our photos, getting our finger prints and signatures, we should receive our residence permits in 3-6 weeks. While it took a lot of time to get our visas before we came to Switzerland, visiting the Centre de Biometrie was very quick and efficient!
Last item of the day, Philippe took us to a used car dealer to look at cars so that we’d have an idea how much it would cost to get a car and also what our options are. We would be required to pay cash for a car and won’t be eligible for leasing or a loan since we do not have credit history in Switzerland. We’re learning a lot about how things work here, it’s all really interesting to see the differences between the U.S. and this country!
So far we’re loving Lausanne and having a lot of fun getting to know the area. Tomorrow is my birthday and we’re going to go off and do something fun 🙂