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Switzerland Student Visa: Guidelines on How to Get a Student Visa for Switzerland


Are you an international student seeking to study in Switzerland, however, here’s a major part of your preparation plan? If you are a foreign student planning to pursue your academic studies in Switzerland, depending on the country you come from, you may need a Switzerland Student Visa.

Switzerland Student Visa

Therefore, after receiving an admission offer to study at a Swiss University, the next step in the plan should be to check if you will be needing a Switzerland Student Visa and the specific type you need in order to study in the country. However, in this article we will provide information in detail about the Switzerland Student Visa, studying in Switzerland, requirements, how to apply, working and studying in Switzerland, and any other important information pertaining to studying in Switzerland.

About The Switzerland Student Visa

A Switzerland Student Visa is an authorization in form of an official document that allows international students or foreigners to pursue academic studies in Switzerland. Moreover, the student visa holders must maintain a full course of study, and the visas are only issued in Switzerland embassies and consulates outside the country.

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Do You Need a Switzerland Student Visa?

Furthermore, not every international student will be needing a visa to pursue their academic studies in Switzerland. However, citizens and residents of most countries are entitled to visa-free travel to study in the country. Therefore, here’s an overview of applicants in accordance with their region to determine if you will be needing a Switzerland Student Visa for your studies in the country.

Students from the EU/ EFTA countries:

However, students who are residents of the European Union countries do not need a Switzerland Student Visa to pursue their academic studies in the country. Likewise, students who are EFTA countries, residents. You will only need to register within two weeks of your arrival in Switzerland with the local authorities in the town or city you are staying in to obtain a residence permit.

Moreover, you will need to prove that your intention of coming to Switzerland is to study. Therefore, you will need to provide a letter of acceptance from the university you are enrolled with as evidence. You will also need to provide evidence that you have health insurance and can cover your tuition and living costs throughout your period of stay.

Students from non-EU/ EFTA countries:

Furthermore, you will need to apply for a student visa to enter and study in Switzerland if you are a student from non-EU/ EFTA country. However, students from non-EU/EFTA countries can apply at the Swiss embassy or consulate in their home country. Meanwhile, they should apply for their visa six months before they depart for Switzerland. Moreover, they will also need to apply for a residence permit after their arrival in the country.

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What Type of Visa Do do You Need?

However, depending on the duration of the applicants’ studies there are two types of visas that non-EU/ EFTA students can apply for:

  • C Visa (short-term visa): This type of visa is issued to students who plan to study a short course or a language program. The short-term visa only lasts up to 90 days (three months).
  • National D Visa (long-term visa): This type of visa is issued to students who plan to study a long or full-time degree, it lasts over 90 days. The process and cost of obtaining a National D Visa will vary depending on which country you are currently living in.

Switzerland Student Visa Requirements

Meanwhile, the following are documents that will be required during the visa application process

  • Completely filled and signed visa application form
  • Valid passport
  • Four passport-size photographs
  • Letter of acceptance to confirm enrollment at an accredited Swiss University
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Proof of payment of the registration and tuition fees – original and copy
  • Proof of sufficient financial coverage of living costs in Switzerland for the duration of schooling (21,000 CHF or 19,200 EUR at the beginning of each year of your studies)
  • Copies of previous educational certificates/ transcripts and diplomas
  • Proof of healthcare insurance
  • Commitment to leave Switzerland upon completion of your studies
  • Letter of an institution as proof that all expenses for the study will be covered in case of scholarship or loan
  • Letter of motivation stating the reason you want to come to Switzerland to study

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How to Get a Switzerland Student Visa

However, below are the steps to follow to obtain a student visa for studies in Switzerland

1. Apply and Accept a Swiss University Offer:

Firstly, you will need to apply to a recognized Swiss University you wish to study at in the country. Then, after being accepted into the university, you will get an acceptance letter which you will need for the visa application process.

2. Schedule an Appointment With a Swiss Embassy or Consulate:

Moreover, you will need to book an appointment at the Swiss embassy or consulate nearest to your area as soon as you get the acceptance letter for the Swiss University you applied to. This is for your interview and to submit your visa application form and documents. However, just like we mentioned earlier, you will need to schedule the appointment as early as 6 months before you plan to arrive in Switzerland.

3. Attend Your Switzerland Student Visa Interview:

You will need to provide all the necessary documents requested, including a visa application form. Furthermore, your documents will need to be in French, German, or English. If they are not that language, you will need a certified translation of those documents. Then, you wait till you receive a decision from the embassy, which may take up to 12 weeks.

4. Apply for a Residence Permit:

Moreover, after your arrival in Switzerland, you will have 14 days to register for your residence permit at a cantonal migration authority in the town you are staying. Issuing the permit may take some weeks, therefore the authorities might provide you with a temporary document. Also, the residence permit is usually valid for the duration of the study program, or for one depending on the students’ situation. However, you can renew the permit until you complete your academic studies. You will need to apply for the renewal of the residence permit at least two weeks before the expiry date.

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Additional Notes

Moreover, spouses or dependents of the applicants may be able to join him or her in Switzerland, where they can also work. However, you will need to prove that you are financially stable to support your family and yourself, in terms of your academic studies.

Work and Study in Switzerland

Furthermore, studying in Switzerland also provides you with the option of working as well. Only that some universities do not recommend that as it can be a form of distraction and might affect your studies. Therefore, international students can only take part-time work. Their working hours are limited to15 hours a week during the semester but they can work full-time during holidays. Also, students that are from non-EU/ EFTA countries may start working only 6 months after starting their studies in Switzerland.

Official Website

However, in conclusion, please refer to the official website of the Swiss government using the link below for more details on the requirements and application instructions for the Switzerland Student Visa. As information may change or get an update at any moment without notice.

Official Website


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