What do you think about studying abroad? Why not the joining point of International students in Europe. The Swiss brand has a worldwide reputation. So it is with its education—high-quality education in Switzerland guarantees your bright future in the EU. However, you might need a Switzerland student visa to enter the country.

This article will explain whether you need a student visa for Switzerland or not, requirements, the application process, validity, can you work, FAQs, and more.

Who Needs a Switzerland Student Visa?

The answer to this question is up to:

  • The lengths of your study course in Switzerland
  • Your nationality

First, determine how long your course will take in Switzerland. Whether it is up to a 90-day course or longer than this period. There are two possibilities for it:

Visa-free countries

A few countries and states do not need a short-stay visa to stay in Switzerland. They do not need to apply for a Switzerland student visa. It is true when their study course takes less than 90 days. But, when they want to stay longer than 90 days, they have to apply for a Residence Permit. They have to visit the competent Cantonal Authority. They are in charge of issuing the Residence Permit. Visa-free countries are as follows:

  • Schengen countries.
  • EU
  • EFTA
  • Great Britain.
  • New Zealand.
  • San Marino.
  • Vatican City.

Remember that although the above countries do not need a visa, they have to apply for a Residence Permit for long stays. Bear in mind that you can not apply for a Residence Permit inside Switzerland. You may only apply for it from outside of Switzerland.

Non-EU countries

The non-EU countries must apply for a Switzerland visa. It is true for them even the lengths of stay is less than 90 days. Such countries have to apply for:

  • A Switzerland student visa
  • A Residence Permit

For courses up to 90 days, you can apply for a Switzerland visitor visa (C). It is possible to study under it. But for studying longer than 90 days, you need a Switzerland student visa (D) and a Residence Permit.

The non-EU countries that don’t need a short-stay visa like the US citizens can study I Switzerland for up to 90 days without a visa. To stay longer, they have to apply for a Residence Permit.

How to Apply for a Switzerland Student Visa?

The application process for a Switzerland student visa is as follows:

Step 1. Acceptance Letter

First, you have to find a Swiss university or education center. Apply to them and receive an Acceptance Letter. Holding an Acceptance letter is mandatory to apply for a Swiss student visa.

Step 2. Do you need a visa?

Do you really need a visa? This is an initial question before you begin the application process. As the article explained above, a few countries do not need a Student visa to Switzerland. See the section above to make sure of it.

When you know you need a visa, determine the type of student visa you need. Switzerland student visa comes in two categories:

  • Short-stay (C)-It allows you to stay in the country for up to 90 days. It is for
    • Summer schools
    • Language courses
    • Seminars
    • Language schools
  • Long-stay (D)-It is to study in Switzerland for the long-term, up to one year and longer.

Choose the right visa depending on:

  • The lengths of your stay
  • Your nationality

Step 3. Application form

Download and complete the application form for a Switzerland student visa. Be extra careful with the information you put in it. They must be identical to your documents. The officials have rejected one applicant because the dications of his name were different from his passport.

Remember to choose the application that suits the length of your stay. Look at the C or D at the top of the application. It will tell you whether you have picked the right one or not. After completing, print, date, and sign it.

Step 4. Requirements

You can begin this stage with the previous one. In fact, you can begin this part as soon as possible. You have to collect all the requirements for a Switzerland student visa and submit them to the Swiss embassy. See the list of requirements for the Swiss student visa in the below section.

You might require some time to gather all of them. So, consider some delayed time in this part.

One point most applicants forget about the requirements is copying. You have to provide THREE COPIES  for each piece of document. Make completely sure of it. Also, there is no copying service with the Swiss embassy. So prepare everything before the visa appointment.

Step 5. Visa appointment

When you gather all the requirements, schedule a visa appointment with the Swiss embassy. Find the nearest one on the internet. Get a meeting through their website or by phone.

You could get a meeting in the middle of the gathering requirements stage. But, make sure you can collect all the requirements on time. Bear in mind the exact date and time of the meeting. You should not be late.

Step 6. Interview

Visit the Swiss embassy on time. Remember to bring all the requirements. Bear in mind that your passport will stay in the embassy until the officials issue the visa.

You also must pay a fee for visa processing. So bring enough funds in cash or credit card. Ask the embassy how they will accept the fee. Then there is the interview with the Swiss visa officer. He/she will ask about the purpose of your visit. They will also ask about your history or background. The subjects might include:

  • Family
  • Education
  • Job experience
  • Interests or hobbies

Doing some research about Switzerland and the canton you will be moving to is useful. In a few cases, the embassy might assess your language fluency skills. It would be best to be prepared for every possibility.

Step 7. Processing

When you complete all the procedures with the Swiss embassy, wait for processing. The Swiss embassy in your country will send everything to the Competent Cantonal Migration (CCM). It is in the canton you will be moving to. The authorities at the canton will evaluate your application and decide on it. It is up to their decision to grant you a visa or not.

When the CCM decides, they will inform the Swiss embassy to issue the student visa in your home country. When the embassy issues the visa, they will notify you to receive it. They might post the visa to you as well. It is up to the embassy.

When you get to Switzerland, you have to apply for a Residence Permit.

I arrived in Switzerland. Do I Have to Apply for Residence Permit?

If you will be staying longer than 90 days, YES. Bear in mind that you only have two weeks to apply for a Residence Permit upon arrival. Visit the cantonal migration office in the canton you live in. The officials require some documents to issue the Residence Permit. Some of them are as follows:

  • Application form, you could get them from the office.
  • Passport
  • Acceptance Letter
  • Confirmation of enrolment to the Swiss university.
  • Health insurance
  • Registered address

The officials might ask for additional documents. They will issue the Residence Permit B. It is valid for one year.

What are The Requirements for Switzerland Student Visa?

The requirements for a Switzerland student visa are as follows:

Application form

As explained, there are two types of visa:

  • Short-stay
  • Long-stay

So you must complete the right application form. You could get the form from the Swiss embassy’s website in your home country. Once completed, print it three times, date, and sign all of the printed forms. The form could be in:

  • English
  • French
  • Italian
  • German


The passport you submit must be valid for three months over the date you will leave Switzerland. Holding at least two blank pages is a must.

Do not forget the copies of your passport. Provide three copies of each page of your passport. If you have previous copies, provide copies of them as well.


You need four photos of yourself. All of them must be identical and passport-size. The photo could not be older than three months to the date of application.

Proof to have enough funds

Provide evidence that you hold sufficient money to cover your expenses in Switzerland. It could be bank statements or scholarship proof. A letter from the bank or your sponsor will be fine.

Payment of tuition

You must pay your tuition fees and provide the evidence. The payment is up to the Swiss university or institute. They might require all of the tuition in advance or part of it. But receive the receipt of payment and keep it.


Provide three copies of all the educational certificates and diplomas you have achieved.


It’s an essential part of your application that explains the purpose of your visit to Switzerland. You need to work on it carefully and prepare it tt the best. You could find a few samples on the Internet as well.

Letter of motivation

It also gets called a cover letter. You write to the Swiss officials and explain:

  • When you have chosen Switzerland for your studies.
  • The reason you have picked this Swiss university or institution.
  • Your plans after finishing your studies.
  • How will you pay your expenses?
  • Why and how the course is useful for your future career.

Commitment letter

A letter that you commit to leaving Switzerland after you finish your studies.

Health insurance

It must be valid in Switzerland and all the EU countries. The insurance must cover all of your medical expenses.

Proof of accommodation

Make clear where you will stay in Switzerland. A rental agreement or proof that you will stay at the dormitory is fine. If you seek to stay with a friend or family, provide an invitation letter from your sponsor.

Educational Requirement

The Swiss university or institution has some requirements. Language requirements could be one example. Provide proof that you meet all the personal or educational requirements. If your study program has requirements, prove you meet with them.

Under 18 children

If you are under 18, provide:

  • Your birth certificate
  • Permission leave, signed by both of your parents.

Note: Have all the documents translated in one of the following languages:

  • English
  • French
  • German

A certified translator must verify the translations. He/she must verify the translation are correct. Have the documents translated into the language the Swiss embassy orders? Ask them about it.

Switzerland Student Visa Validity

The validity of a Switzerland student visa depends on the type of visa.

  • Short-stay (C) is valid for up to 90 days.
  • Long-stay (D) is valid for up to one year.

The Swiss long-stay visa is valid for up to one year. But you have nothing to worry about an extension. The officials allow you to extend it until you complete your studies.

Do I Have Permission to Work under a Switzerland Student Visa?

You have permission to work in Switzerland. But it is only possible after six months of your arrival. Also, you have to inform the officials that you want to work. The Swiss employer you will be working with must apply for a Work Permit on your behalf. Suppose you have a master’s degree and will be working for the university or institution studying in. In that case, you don’t have to wait for six months.

You may work for 15 hours per week during your semester. The job you take must not interfere with your studies. You have to make progress with your studies to be able to work.

Switzerland Student Visa Processing time

The processing time for a Swiss student visa depends on the type of visa.

  • Short-stay visas (C): 2-3 weeks
  • Long-stay visas: 3-4 months

Other factors affect the processing time:

  • The country you apply from
  • Your conditions
  • The time of the year you apply
  • Whether you have submitted the complete list of documents
  • The officials will require additional documents or not

Can I stay in Switzerland after Graduation?

Yes, you can stay in Switzerland after graduation. However, you may only stay for six months. The given time allows you to work or look for a job. Yet, you may only work for 15 hours per week.

Bear in mind that you have to apply for a Residence Permit to stay in Switzerland after graduation. You have to visit the Migration Office in the canton you live in. They require the following documents:

  • Completing the education certificate
  • Proof to have enough funds for the time you will stay.
  • Proof of accommodation.

When you find a job, the Swiss employer has to apply for a work permit. The employer does not have to offer the job to a Swiss or EU resident first. When you graduate in Switzerland, you have the same right as Swiss nationals in terms of employment.

After these six months, you could apply for a Switzerland work visa.

Is IELTS Mandatory for Switzerland a student visa?

There is no language requirement over Switzerland student visa. You should look for the answer to the Swiss university or institution you apply for. The language requirement visa depends on the university’s requirements. Remember that the provided course might not be in English. There are 26 cantons in Switzerland. The language spoken in each one of them is different. Yet the most common languages are:

  • English
  • French
  • German

When you get the Acceptance Letter from the university, it means you qualify with their principles.

Can I Bring my Family under a Switzerland Student visa?

No. You may not bring your family members under a Swiss student visa. Your family may not join you either. But, there are a few exceptions. The following groups can bring their family members to Switzerland:

  • Students who have a Confederation grants
  • Doctoral students
  • Visiting professors
  • Post-docs

Non-EU citizens who hold a settlement permit (permit C) can bring their family members to the country as well.

The EU citizens are allowed to bring their family members under a student visa. Family members include the spouse/partner and children. If the EU citizens have a Residence permit, they can bring other family members as well.

Let’s sum up…

This piece of writing brought you whatever you should know about Switzerland student visa. It covered whether you need a visa, the student visa types, requirements, the application process, FAQs, and more.

If you need to know more about other types of Switzerland visas, go through the left sidebar.

You can find more about other country’s visas by going to the homepage of the Visa Library.

Visa applicants beg you to share your experience in the comment section below. They are precious tips for them.

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  1. Taylor says:

    I want to apply for a summer school. What type of visa should I use?

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