I recently got approached by a recruiter in Switzerland, proposing to put me forward for a role he's recruiting for one of his clients. The recruitment agency looks genuine, and so does the final client.

Nonetheless the recruiter mentioned on the call, after casually asking for my date of birth, that I send over my CV as well as a copy of my passport before putting me in front of his client.

Is sending a copy of your passport to a recruiter a done thing in Switzerland?

Update for context: I am a French national currently living in the U.K.

Update on the question: I’ve always only provided a copy of my passport to my employer, never to a recruiter, hence the question.

  • 1
    It sounds fishy to me, and it is something for example the Dutch government actively warns against. If you really do need to provide a copy, they advise to blank out things like social number, picture, etc and explicitly mark it as a copy for which company and date it. First check if just giving them your passport/document number is not sufficient. Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 15:43
  • Welcome @Erken. Could you say your nationality? At least if you are from EU or non-EU. Are you physically in the Schengen zone now, or better in Swiss territory? Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 15:52
  • @usr-local-ΕΨΗΕΛΩΝ thank you. I am a French national, living in the UK
    – Erken
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 15:53
  • You don't need a passport to work in Switzerland, a French national ID is fine. Yes, you do need a passport to be in the UK, but who cares? Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 16:01
  • I don't know about EU / French / Swiss laws, but this sounds like due diligence - when hiring foreigners, passport is often used to verify someone's identity. The recruiter must be being careful to protect their reputation. (Else it's an identity theft scam - research the recruiter).
    – sfxedit
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 17:37

2 Answers 2


At some point, you will have to provide your identification.

To work in Switzerland as an EU national, you need to be registered to Swiss tax administration, labour agencies, etc after the contract has been issued. So at least at some point, you will be required to hand a copy of your documents so the employer will do their paperwork.

Normally, I'd expect this at later stages of interviewing. I experienced it myself. As an EU citizen, I applied for a position which I declined too early to showdown my ID.

It sounds unusual to me as well to be asked this at a very early stage. Still, a black/white photocopy of the passport is much harmless than handing the booklet to someone with the promise of hiring (that's another story).

I could also say that perhaps the recuiter wants to be triple-sure that you are not lying about your nationality. But that's not very professional.

You could speak clearly with the recruiter about your umcomfort and try to make sure you have a first interview with the employer, and then make sure the person to whom you speak is genuine too.

  • exactly this. Not "phishy" per se, but hand it over only when you actually had some interviews. Passport information can definitely be useful for identity theft, it should not be useful to the recruiter early.
    – Pac0
    Commented Jul 22, 2021 at 20:49

The usual thing would be that you are told to bring your passport at the first day at work. If it turns out you don't have one, it might be your last day, because they need to make sure that you have the right to work in the country.

But before that, I don't think they have any need to get your passport. It's perfectly legal to hire someone who has no right to work - as long as they don't actually let you do any work before they see your passport, so if you lied about having a passport, that is no problem for them.

  • 1
    That's often not true for a foreign national. The employer needs to verify the eligibility to work and enter the country and frequently some paperwork needs to happen before the first day of work.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 17:05
  • @Hilmar correct. You need a work visa before boarding the flight to the US (as an example). However, the OP is French so there is no visa requirement in their case Commented Jul 21, 2021 at 20:29

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