Resident and Work Visa for International Students in Switzerland

Switzerland is in Schengen zone. Under the Schengen agreement, transiting from one country to another within the Schengen area is done without border controls. Students wanting to study in Switzerland must obtain proper permits from the authorities to stay in the country.

International Students: Visa Procedure

After obtaining the admission in Swiss Higher Education Institution, International students should contact the Swiss Embassy or Consulate for getting complete information for the student visa application. According to the Swiss authority if the applicant is admissible, the visa will be issued only after the full tuition fee has been paid.

Medical Exam: According to the Swiss authority, all the international applicants should submit a medical test result performed in the recent three months. If the applicant is undergoing any medical treatment, a medical health report must be issued by the doctor for the insurance registration in Switzerland.

International Students: Formalities 

The International Students must have following documents: Passport, Statement of arrival and Student questionnaire provided by the bureau of foreigners,  Proof of acceptance from the Institution, 1 recent passport-sized photo, Evidence of Sufficient funds or Proof of Swiss or foreign financial aid, with the amount indicated, and Guarantee from parents or third party. The guarantor must live in Switzerland and prove sufficient financial means for the student’s care.

Resident Permit/Visa

Residence permits are granted to students who want to study in Switzerland under the following conditions:
The applicant is coming to Switzerland alone and wants to attend  university or some other institution of higher learning. The course of studies is fixed; the institution attests in writing that the applicant has been accepted for studies, the applicant proves necessary financial backing proof and the applicant guarantees departure from Switzerland at the end of studies. The criteria and application norms for a residence permit or a visa is different for EU/EFTA citizens and for people from other countries.

For EU/EFTA Countries

Students from EU/EFTA countries must register with the Residents' Registration Office of the local authorities of their municipality of residence within 14 days and apply for a residence permit/visa. The following documents need to be submitted: Personal application, valid passport or identity card, Proof of enrolment at the university, Evidence of sufficient funds, such as bank certificate or certified document, Proof of residence and 2 passport-size recent photographs.

For Non-EU/EFTA Countries

Students from non-EU/EFTA countries must contact the Swiss Embassy or the Swiss consulate-Representatives  in their native country and apply for a visa. Students must submit the following documents: proof of registration at a university, evidence of sufficient funds- finance bank statements, passport-sized photo, academic records and application for visa.

Health Insurance

In Switzerland, health insurance is compulsory for all residents. Students from foreign countries must obtain their own health insurance policy if they intend to be in Switzerland for more than three months.

Work Permit/Visa

Switzerland admits employed international citizens on the basis of a dual system.

For EU/EFTA Countries

  • Employment for Students: EU/EFTA citizens studying in Switzerland are permitted to take a job for a maximum of 15 hours per week without any additional permit or notice required. 
  • Short-Term Employment: EU/EFTA citizens working in Switzerland for less than 3 months per year are required to register with the competent authority. They do not need a work permit.
  • Long-Term Employment: EU/EFTA citizens must acquire a work permit for employment exceeding 90 days per year. The work permit application must be handed to the local municipal office at the place of residence or work.

For Non-EU/EFTA Countries

Non-EU/EFTA citizens must acquire a work permit before starting their job. The employer must submit an application to the relevant authority of the canton where the prospective employee will be working. The application procedure can take up to several weeks.
  • Part-Time Employment for Students: Non-EU/EFTA citizens studying in Switzerland are allowed to work part-time for an uttermost of 15 hours per week, but only after living in Switzerland for a minimum of 6 months. Students must maintain full-time student status and show regular progress in their studies. Master students with a Bachelor degree from a university overseas working for their Swiss institute are exempted from the waiting period, i.e. they do not have to wait 6 months.
  • Short and Long-Term Employment: Third country nationals who earn a degree from a university in Switzerland may stay in the country for up to six months after graduation to seek full-time employment.

Processing Time

The procedure takes between 6 to 8 weeks, sometimes longer, depending upon the time of the year.

Visa Validity

A student permit is valid for the duration of the study period. Visitor visa is valid for up to 3 months.
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