Student Visa In Switzerland
How To Get Student Visa In Switzerland

While we discuss , it's no secret that studying in Switzerland is a dream for many, and it's no wonder why. The country boasts a world-class system, stunning landscapes, and a rich cultural heritage.

Switzerland is a lovely country I must say, with a diverse range of cultures. It is currently one of the top 20 wealthiest countries in the world, one of the safest in Europe, and has many highly ranked universities.

If you're a student who is considering pursuing a study in Switzerland, you'll need to navigate the application process.

You would need a student visa in Switzerland to study at any of the prestigious universities. 

This comprehensive guide will take you through the entire journey of how to get a student visa in Switzerland. From eligibility criteria to the application process and frequently asked questions, we've got you covered.

You would also find answers to most of your questions such as whether you need IELTS and if you can work while studying in Switzerland.

Are you ready?

Let's get started. 

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Table of contents

Types Of Student Visas In Switzerland

Before we go further into today's discussion, it's important to let you know the different types of student visas in Switzerland. So, you need to know which students require a visa and a residence permit to study at a Swiss university.

You should know the following:

  • Students from the European Union (EU) do not require a visa if their stay is less than 90 days. They must contact the competent Cantonal Authority and apply for a residence permit within 14 days of arriving in Switzerland if they wish to stay longer.
  • As a student from EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway) am subject to the same regulations as EU students. No visa is required for stays of less than three months; however, a residence permit is required for more extended stays.
  • Non-EU/EFTA students must apply for a visa to enter Switzerland. They can apply at their home country's Swiss embassy or consulate. They must also apply for a residence permit once they arrive in Switzerland.

Non-EU/EFTA students have two options for visas:

  • If you plan to study a short course or a language program, you will need a short-term visa (up to 90 days, ). You can apply for a short-term visa online.
  • A long-term visa (over 90 days, a National visa) is also known as the D Visa. If you intend to study full-time. You can only apply for a long-term visa in person at a Swiss embassy or consulate in your country.

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How Does Student Visas Work In Switzerland?

As always with other countries, you'll need to get accepted into a school first. So, after receiving your university's acceptance letter, the first step should be to schedule an appointment with the Swiss embassy or consulate in your area.

These procedures take time, so make an appointment 6 months before you start studying. Short-stay visas take about 10 to 15 days to process, while long-stay visas take 8 to 10 weeks.

Note that your documents must be written in French, German, or English. You will need a certified translation if they are not in that language.

If your application for a Swiss student visa was rejected because it was incomplete, the best course of action is to try again, making sure you provide all of the required information. Visa application fees are non-refundable, so double-check your information before sending it in.

If your visa is denied, but you disagree with the decision, you can file an appeal within 30 days of receiving the result. You must respond in writing, with proof, explaining why your visa should not have been refused.

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Eligibility/Requirements for Student Visa in Switzerland

The requirements for a student visa differ depending on the nationality. e.g. those traveling from the EU/EFTA countries do not need to obtain a visa, they only have 14 days after arriving to apply for a residence permit.

Residents of non-EU/EFTA countries must apply for a D or long-term visa. The following are the requirements for this Switzerland student visa (which should be in English, German, or French):

#1. Completed form of application

This form must be completed and submitted three times. You must provide the following information:

  • Personal information about you
  • Information on documents
  • The reason for your visit
  • Photographs in passport size. Four of these photographs must be submitted with your application packet.

Check that they meet the following requirements:

  • Colored passport
  • Dimensions: 35 x 45 mm
  • The background color should be bright, preferably light gray.
  • The head should cover 70% to 80% of the total area of the photograph.
  • Face expression is neutral – mouth closed, no smile.
  • Headwear is permitted (for religious purposes)

#2. Passport and proof of School fees

  • Your passport should be valid for at least three months after your intended departure date.
  • Letter of Acceptance. This proves that you have been accepted into the university where you intend to study.
  • Payment receipt

Similarly, you must submit a receipt or proof that you have paid the required study fees.

#4. Proof of financial security

Make sure that your bank account and other financial assets will be able to cover the annual cost of EUR 19,200 ($22,515).

If you are a scholar or have taken out a loan, you must bring documentation to prove it.

#5. Curriculum vitae (CV)

This will notify the embassy that you are qualified to participate in the program.

#6. Health-care coverage

This should amount to EUR 30,000 (approximately $35,175). This requirement does not apply to students from the EU/EFTA.

Swiss medical insurance automatically covers students who have a European Health Insurance Card.

#7. Motivational letter

You must explain why you chose Switzerland and your institution to further your education.

#8. Written agreement

In this form, you must declare that you will leave Switzerland after completing your studies.

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Validity Duration of The Switzerland Student Visa

The student visa in Switzerland is valid for a year of your studies. You can renew your study visa until you complete your academic studies.

Remember to submit your renewal application at least two weeks before the expiry date.

Fees And Cost Of Student Visa In Switzerland

The rundown of the cost and fees you would be required to pay is as follows:

  • The application fee for a D visa is CHF 67, or $72.
  • For the student visa, you must pay CHF 20 ($22) for registration.
  • Documentation fees are CHF 65 or $70 (EU/EFTA), CHF 162 or $174 (non-EU/EFTA).

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Steps on How To Apply For A Student Visa In Switzerland

Student Visa In Switzerland

Step 1. Apply to a Swiss university

As previously stated above, your acceptance letter is one of the Switzerland student visa requirements. To obtain this, you must be accepted into your desired program.

As with most institutions, applications can be submitted online. All you have to do is fill out the appropriate application form and pay the fee.

You will also need to send/upload the following requirements:

  • Transcripts of diplomas and academic records
  • Curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Language proficiency certification (depending on your university, it may require you to be competent in either English, German, or French)
  • Personal statement or motivation letter
  • Acceptance letter from a research adviser for Ph.D. applicants

You may begin the application process once you have received your acceptance letter.

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Step 2. Fulfill all visa requirements

Unless you are an EU/EFTA resident, you must complete the Switzerland visa requirements mentioned above to qualify for a student visa in the first place.

Step 3. Make an appointment with the Swiss Embassy or Consulate in your area

Unlike short-term visas, long-term visa applications must be submitted in person. You must first schedule an appointment with the embassy or consulate.

Remember that the sooner you apply, the better. Send your requirements at least six months before your planned departure date.

Step 4. Show up for your appointment

Once you are at the Swiss Embassy, you may submit the requirements mentioned above.

During your appointment with the embassy, the consulate may also need to collect your biometric data (facial image and finger scans).

These will be stored in the Visa Information System for years. Depending on your circumstances, you may also be required to attend a personal interview.

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Step 5. Wait for your visa to be processed

The embassy takes approximately 8-10 weeks to process and issue your student visa for Switzerland. So, you'll have to wait for it to be fully processed.

Step 6. Congratulation! It's time to Fly to Switzerland

At this point, you should be successful, with your student visa ready and collected from the embassy. So, it's time to fly to Switzerland.

If you are a resident of the EU/EFTA, you may skip the steps above and proceed with this.

Step 7. Apply for a temporary resident visa

You are not done yet. Once you arrive as a student in Switzerland, you must go to the Citizen's registry office (Einwohnermeldeamt) within 14 days of your arrival to obtain your temporary residence permit. If you live in Zurich, you can obtain a permit from the Kreisbüro.

The following are the requirements for this document:

  • Passport or identification card
  • Extended matriculation confirmation form from your institution Accommodation or rental contract Proof of financial resources (at least CHF 1750 or $1880 per month)
  • You will also be required to pay the fees listed above.
  • If you apply through the Kreisbüro, you must make a biometric data appointment at the Zurich Migration Office.

Step 8. Wait for your residence permit

Once this is ready, it will be mailed to you. But, keep in mind that a residence permit is only valid for one year. However, the Immigration Office will remind you of the renewal.

The renewal form will be mailed to you a month before your permit expires.

You may continue using it throughout your education, but you will need proof of financial resources each time.

You will also be required to pay a renewal fee, the amount of which will be specified in the letter above.

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Can I Get A Student Visa In Switzerland Without IELTS?

Yes and No. There are no language requirements for obtaining a Swiss visa.

But, on the other hand, universities will require proof of language proficiency when you apply, which is usually sufficient for Swiss embassy officers.

The following are the most popular English language tests accepted by Swiss universities:

  • Academic IELTS
  • TOEFL iBT
  • Academic PTE

In some cases, the embassy will want to assess your language skills through a brief interview at the consulate or an oral and written test.

The Swiss representative will forward the entry application, including documentation and language proficiency assessment, to the relevant Cantonal Migration Authorities for approval.

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Working While Studying In Switzerland

To work in Switzerland as a student, you must notify the appropriate immigration authority. International students can work up to 15 hours per week part-time during the semester and full-time during the holidays.

However, there is a catch for non-EU/EFTA students- they can only start working 6 months after beginning their studies. The hiring company/employer must apply for a work permit for non-EU/EFTA students.

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FAQs

How much financial proof do I need for a student visa in Switzerland?

The Migration Office of the Canton of Zurich requires a letter from a Swiss-domiciled bank (either a foreign bank with a branch in Switzerland or a Swiss bank with a branch in your home country) stating that you have access to CHF 21,000 or more.

How long does it take to process a student visa in Switzerland?

Visas for 10–15 days are available. Long-term visas are valid for at least 8–10 weeks.

Can I work in Switzerland after finishing my studies?

In terms of work permits after studying in Switzerland, students can stay in the country for six months after completing their degree to seek employment. Successful job applicants are granted a Switzerland Visa for a work permit.

What financial resources will I require to study in Switzerland?

Their personal preferences for recreational activities usually determine the cost of studying and living in Switzerland for an international student.

Still, it is prudent to set aside at least 1600 CHF (Rs. 1 lakh) – 2000 CHF (Rs. 1.4 lakh) for monthly expenses (including tuition fee.)

What is the cost of a Swiss student visa?

The Swiss student visa D application fee, is CHF 88. (INR 7000 approx).

If you need a visa quickly or outside of normal business hours, you may have to pay a surcharge (up to 50 euros higher than the standard price). You must pay in addition to submitting your application.

Can I bring my family with me on a student visa?

In some cases, yes. Family reunification rules apply.

Is it possible for me to work in Switzerland while on a student visa?

Students may work for up to 15 hours per week; otherwise, they must apply for a work permit.

The student's family (spouse and children) may accompany the student to Switzerland, but the student must demonstrate that they have sufficient resources to accommodate them.

Is health insurance mandatory for Swiss student visa holders?

Yes, you must have health insurance coverage during your stay in Switzerland.

What is the cost of living for students in Switzerland?

The cost of living can vary, but on average, it's estimated to be around CHF 20,000 to CHF 30,000 per year.

READ ALSO: How to Get a Student Visa in USA | A Comprehensive Guide

Summary

Embarking on your educational journey in Switzerland is an exciting endeavor, and as a student who wishes to study in Switzerland but is unsure what steps you must take to prepare, this article has shed some light on everything you need to know.

Even though Switzerland is part of the Schengen zone, a Schengen visa will grant you entry into the country, but if you want to stay as a student, you must take additional steps.

The procedures for EU/EFTA students differ from those for non-EU/EFTA students. Students may work for up to 15 hours per week; otherwise, they must apply for a work permit.

The student's family (spouse and children) may accompany the student to Switzerland, but the student must demonstrate that they have sufficient resources to accommodate them.

By following the comprehensive guide on how to get a student visa in Switzerland, you'll be well-prepared to make the most of this enriching experience.

Remember, Switzerland is not just a destination for education; it's a place where you can create lasting memories and broaden your horizons.

References

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