Student Visa For Switzerland

This article focuses on the procedure, documentation and conditions required for issuance of student visa to Switzerland.

The Federal Council of Switzerland (the Swiss government) on March 24, 2000 published a regulation that is designed to ease the issuance of academic student visas. The Swiss government is committed to admitting students based on skill and merit rather than ethnic origin or nationality. It has always been the policy of Switzerland to provide a level playing field for all its citizens regardless of their ancestry. Applicants for an academic student visa for Switzerland must meet several requirements:

Getting a student visa for Switzerland is quite easy, if you are an EU/EAA national or from USA. All it takes is one trip to the Swiss consulate in your country along with all the required documentation.

The Student visa is the most attractive option and an easy permit type. Swiss authorities offer many different types of residence permits. You need to apply for a student visa by your university or college as well to move forward on this process.

Student Visa For Switzerland

Student visa requirements, application forms and fees are different in Switzerland. Visas are categorized by the reason you want to travel to Switzerland. The foreign students who want to stay in Switzerland have to apply for: Study permit Visa for European Community nationals who are not Swiss citizens Visa C)

Studying in Switzerland

In order to be able to study in Switzerland you require a proof of acceptance from the education institution where you will be studying. Depending on your nationality, with this letter you can either apply for a residence permit in a Swiss canton or submit a visa application to the Swiss representation covering your country of residence.

Image of students at the Rolex Learning Centre library in Lausanne
Students at the Rolex Learning Centre library, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. (© FDFA, Presence Switzerland)

Apply for Admission

Contact the school or university of your choice prior to the admission deadline. Most of the universities also accept online applications. The main documents that you will have to send to the university are your upper secondary school-leaving certificate (the original or a notarized copy) and an up-to-date passport photograph. 

Registration deadlines, addresses and other useful information

Entry/Visa and Residence Permit

Within 14 days of entering Switzerland, EU/EFTA citizens must register with the local authority (Einwohnerkontrolle, Residents’ Registration Office) at the place of residence and apply for a residence permit.

You will need to present the following documents:

  • Personal application for residence permit
  • Valid passport or identity card
  • Proof of registration at the university
  • Evidence of sufficient funds (e.g. certificate or certified document of a bank authorised in Switzerland)
  • Proof of address at place of residence
  • 2 passport photographs

Other foreign national students – other than EU/EFTA nationals – must contact the Swiss embassy or consulate in their own country and apply for a visa. If the responsible immigration or police authorities approve the application, the requirements for entry into Switzerland and for residence for the purpose of study are met. Further information at the Federal Office of Migration.

Foreign nationals who are not EU/EFTA citizens and who do not require a visa should consult the Swiss embassy or consulate in their country for the current entry and residence requirements and formalities.


The Swiss government, through the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS), awards various postgraduate scholarships to foreign scholars and researchers:

  • University scholarships (Swiss universities, Federal Institutes of Technology, as well as Universities of Applied Sciences)
  • Arts scholarships (schools of music and fine arts, only for a limited number of countries).

These scholarships provide graduates from all fields with the opportunity to pursue doctoral or postdoctoral research in Switzerland at one of the public funded university or recognised institution.

Leave a Comment