Liechtenstein operates a restrictive policy when it comes to living in the country. Foreign nationals working in Liechtenstein are generally not allowed to live in the Principality, even if they are employed by a Liechtenstein company. There are two different kinds of residence permit that can be awarded. One permit allows residence for work purposes. The other permit allows residence without the permit holder having to work in Liechtenstein.

There are 72 residence permits granted to EEA citizens each year: 56 to persons working in Liechtenstein and 16 to persons not working in Liechtenstein. Half of the permits are awarded using a lottery, with the other half awarded directly by the government. The lotteries are held each spring and autumn. Tighter restrictions apply to Swiss citizens. There are only 17 residence permits awarded each year to Swiss nationals: twelve to persons working in Liechtenstein and five to persons not working in Liechtenstein. All of these permits are awarded by the government.

Citizens of other countries (neither EEA nor Switzerland) must be managers, specialists or qualified workers with a completed apprenticeship or many years of working experience in order to receive a residence permit (B).

Permanent residency and establishment

A residence permit gives the holder the right to stay in Liechtenstein for up to five years. After the end of this period, permit holders and their family members can apply for a permanent residence permit or a settlement permit.