Switzerland is a lovely country 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.
You would need a student visa in Switzerland to study at any of the prestigious universities.
If you want to study in Switzerland and are wondering how to get a student visa in Switzerland, this article is a complete guide and will show you the requirements and fees you are required to pay.
You would also learn whether you need IELTS and if you can work while studying in Switzerland. Let’s get started.
Types Of Student Visas In Switzerland
Before discussing the types of student visas in Switzerland, you must first understand which students require a visa and a residence permit to study at a Swiss university. You should know that-
- 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, Schengen visa). 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 Do Student Visas Work In Switzerland
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 10-15 days to process, while long-stay visas take eight to ten weeks.
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.
Requirements or Eligibility Criteria for Student Visa in Switzerland
The requirements differ depending on nationality. 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 travel 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)
- 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
#3. Similarly, you must submit a receipt or proof that you have paid the required study fees.
#4. Proof of financial security
Your bank account and other financial assets should 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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How Long Is The Switzerland Student Visa Valid?
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 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).
How To Apply For A Student Visa In Switzerland?
1. Apply to a Swiss university.
As previously stated, 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.
2. Fulfill all visa requirements.
Unless you are an EU/EFTA resident, you must complete Switzerland mentioned above student visa application requirements.
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.
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4. Show up for your appointment.
Once at the Swiss Embassy, you may submit the requirements mentioned above.
During your appointment, 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.
5. You must wait for your visa.
The embassy takes approximately 8-10 weeks to process and issue your student visa for Switzerland.
6. Fly to Switzerland.
If you are a resident of the EU/EFTA, you may skip the steps above and proceed with this.
7. Apply for a temporary resident visa.
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.
8. You must wait for your residence permit.
This will be mailed to you.
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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Student Visa Processing Time In Switzerland
The processing time for a visa can range between 8 and 12 weeks, so it’s best to begin your application as soon as possible.
Start your application at least three months before you need to travel, but ideally, you should begin as soon as you receive an offer from a Swiss university.
Can I Get A Student Visa In Switzerland Without IELTS?
There are no language requirements for obtaining a Swiss visa. 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.
Working While Studying In Switzerland
To work in Switzerland, 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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Visas for 10–15 days are available. Long-term visas are valid for at least 8–10 weeks.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
If you are a student who wishes to study in Switzerland but is unsure what steps you must take to prepare. 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.