Study visa for Switzerland

Switzerland is not an official part of the European Union (EU), and all international students require a student visa in order to study in Switzerland. However, since Switzerland is a part of the Schengen zone, a Schengen visa will win the aspirant the right to go to the country, but if the aspirant want to stay there as a student you must take a few more steps. The procedures are of course different for EU/EFTA and non-EU/EFTA students.
There are different processes and levels of complexity in applying for a Swiss residence permit, depending on if the student is an EU/EFTA national or not. No matter the citizenship or residency, a student is able to apply for a Swiss student visa! Once he/she have applied and been accepted into the study program, one can follow the residence permit application process below that is relevant to his/her citizenship. The Swiss government advises that it can take up to 8 weeks to get the student visa application processed, so start getting the documents together as soon as possible!

General Info

Students that do not have EU/EFTA nationality must contact the Swiss embassy or consulate in their home country to apply for a visa, and receive approval for the permit prior to entering the country to study. He / She will be applying for a student visa as a non-EU/EFTA national without gainful employment.
Depending on the duration of the studies there are two types of visas which one can apply for.
  • C Visa – is a short-time visa that allows its keeper to reside in Switzerland for a short period of time. This visa is perfect for summer schools, seminars, and language schools that last up to three months.
  • D Visa – is a long-time visa for people looking to study, work, or reside in Switzerland. International students are granted a Schengen visa for a period of one year with the possibility of extension.

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Switzerland Visa Application process

The first step, after getting the acceptance letter from the university, should be setting an appointment with the Swiss embassy or consulate in one’s area. These procedures take time, so make sure to set the appointment 6 months prior to his/her studying. The processing time for the short stay visas is around 10-15 days and for long stay visas, eight to ten weeks
  • Application for long stay visa (visa D) – three forms, filled and signed
  • Four passport-size photographs
  • Passport – valid three months beyond the planned stay
  • Letter of acceptance issued by a Swiss university
  • 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)
  • Scholarship/Loan proof – Letter of an institution that all expenses for the study will be covered by the scholarship or loan
  • CV
  • Letter of motivation
  • Commitment to leave Switzerland on completion of studies