Leaving Switzer­land? Find out what you can do with your pillar 3a


Are you moving on and leaving Switzerland behind? We wish you all the best! Find out here what you can do with your pillar 3a account when you leave the country.




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Leaving Switzerland: withdrawing funds from your pillar 3a?

When you move abroad there are a lot of questions that need to be answered and a lot of paperwork to sort out. Once you have found a job and a place to live, you might wonder what will happen to your pillar 3a when you are no longer based in Switzerland. Depending on where you move to, you have a number of options for what to do with your tied pension.


Moving abroad is one of the few exceptions where you can withdraw funds from your pillar 3a at any time. However, you don’t have to. It’s up to you whether you withdraw your 3a assets or leave them in place. If you are moving away permanently, i.e. you are deregistering in Switzerland, you can always use your pension to help you get started in your new country. Since frankly will no longer be available if you are living abroad, you have the choice of either dissolving your pillar 3a immediately or transferring it to a personally managed business relationship with Zürcher Kantonalbank or to another tied pension institution.

3a assets to help you get settled in a new country


The costs involved in moving to another country can vary depending on what you plan to do and where you move to. Do you want to buy an apartment abroad or start your own business? People often finance the costs of getting themselves established with the savings from their pillar 3a. It’s no different to building a house in Switzerland and being allowed to use the assets from your pillar 3a to fund the costs of it. However, be aware that these savings do not apply to planning your retirement.

Withdraw from your pillar 3a when leaving 
the country or keep it?

These are reasons you might choose to withdraw your retirement savings when leaving Switzerland:

  • You can use your savings from your pillar 3a to finance starting a new life abroad.
  • Depending on where you were resident in Switzerland before leaving, you may be able to save on taxes by making early withdrawals.
  • You can reorganise and re-plan your retirement savings to fit your new life situation.

These are reasons you might choose to keep your pillar 3a after leaving the country:

  • You may not have to pay income tax or wealth tax on your tied pension (depending on where you move to).
  • You remain financially secure in your old age, even though you live abroad.

If you move abroad you won’t be able to keep your pillar 3a with frankly, but ZKB offers some solutions here. We will be happy to advise you on this subject.

Checklist: Cashing out your pillar 3a when leaving Switzerland

So you’ve decided to cash out your pillar 3a. Here’s how to do it:

  • Get an application form to withdraw a tax-free lump sum from your pension fund. In the frankly app, you can find the application in your profile under Documents > Forms > Withdraw tax-free lump-sum.
  • Where necessary, have the following documents ready: certificate of deregistration from the residents’ registration office, confirmation of residence at the current place of residence (if you left Switzerland more than 3 months ago), certified copy of a valid ID belonging to your spouse/registered partner.
  • Complete the form truthfully and in full. Send it signed.

What happens to the 2nd pillar? Can I withdraw my pension fund assets when I leave Switzerland?

Leaving Switzerland does not mean that you will lose your pension fund assets from the 2nd pillar. If you terminate your current employment, you can have your assets transferred to up to two vested benefits foundations. As a general rule, you may withdraw your capital no more than five years before reaching the regular retirement age. 

Under certain circumstances, if you leave Switzerland permanently you may also be able to make an early withdrawal from your 2nd pillar. If you move to an EU/EFTA country, you can withdraw the non-mandatory part of the pension fund assets. However, if you are no longer subject to compulsory insurance for old age, death and disability in your new country of residence, you can have your pension fund paid out in full, i.e. including the mandatory part, even in the EU/EFTA (with the exception of Liechtenstein). You can also withdraw pension fund assets to purchase a property. You may not transfer pension fund assets to a new pension fund abroad.


More information

Your AHV abroad

The money in the AHV is not saved for you personally. Therefore, you cannot withdraw money from the AHV even if you move abroad. However,  Switzerland has signed an agreement with a number of countries. This means that you will still receive an AHV pension abroad if you have worked in Switzerland for more than one year. Remember to report to the Compensation Office in Switzerland when you approach retirement age.

More about the topic

Everything about pillar 3a

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