How to Get a Student Visa for Switzerland

Regardless of your future career plans, while studying in Switzerland you will surely receive top education and have the chance to engage in groundbreaking research work. Apart from having a significant number of highly ranked universities, Switzerland is one of the 20 wealthiest countries in the world and also one of the safest in Europe.

If you have one more step to take and have to apply for a student visa for Switzerland, don’t worry! The application procedure is just as simple as Swiss watches are accurate and precise.

Apply to a Master in Switzerland

If you decided to study abroad in Switzerland and come from an EU/EFTA country, good news! You won’t need a Swiss student visa. Check out detailed visa requirements for a few nationalities applying for the visa:

If you're not part of this list, follow the next steps and prepare to apply for your student visa:

1. Decide on a university to apply to and get your acceptance letter

If you’re still not sure where you want to study in Switzerland, you will have to decide before you can start your student visa application process. After being accepted at a Swiss university, you’ll get an acceptance letter required for visa application.

Find the right universities depending on the discipline you want to study:

Consider some of the best universities in Switzerland:

2. Find out what type of visa you need to study in Switzerland

  • C visa – for short courses (summer schools, language schools) that last only for up to three months
  • D visa –for courses that last longer than three months

If you apply for a type D visa and plan to stay in Switzerland longer than three months, you will have to arrange to get your residence permit from the cantonal migration offices within 14 days after your arrival.

3. When and where to apply for the Swiss visa?

As soon as you get the acceptance letter from the Swiss school/university, you should schedule an appointment at the Swiss embassy or consulate in your area.

Schedule the appointment for a visa interview as early as 6 months prior to studying in Switzerland but no later than ten weeks before your departure.

Unless the application form and all required documents are in French, German or English, you will need a certified translation of all documents in one of these languages.

Processing time:
  • Short stay visas: within 10-15 days
  • Long stay visas: eight to ten weeks

4. Language requirements for my study in Switzerland

There are no specific language requirements for a study visa for Switzerland. On the other hand, universities will require a proof of language proficiency when you apply and that proof is usually sufficient for Swiss embassy visa officers.

In some cases, the embassy will want to evaluate your language knowledge based on a short interview at the consulate or even an oral and written test.

The Swiss representation will send the entry application, including documentation and assessment of language proficiency to the relevant cantonal migration authorities for their approval.

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5. Documents required for the student visa in Switzerland

  • Three forms of “Application for long stay visa (visa D)” 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 means for coverage of living costs in Switzerland for the duration of schooling (provide evidence of having 21,000 CHF or 19,200 EUR at the beginning of each year of your studies)
  • Letter of institution in case all expenses for the study will be covered by scholarship or loan
  • CV
  • Letter of motivation
  • Commitment to leave Switzerland on completion of studies

6. More useful information about my student visa for Switzerland

7. Working in Switzerland during your studies

International students can take up part-time work for up to 15 hours a week during the semester and they can work full-time during holidays, but only after they have been living in Switzerland for at least six months and as long as it doesn’t affect the progress of your studies.

The hiring company/employer will get a work permit for you.

After graduation, foreign students can stay in Switzerland for six months to look for work under the same conditions as Swiss graduates.

Compare Masters in Switzerland

Apply to a Master's degree in Switzerland

You can now apply with Studyportals to one of our partner universities in Switzerland. You can apply whenever you want, and it won't cost you anything.

Check the available Masters and see which of the degrees match your background and interests. Start the application process by filling in your student profile. You will soon get contacted by one of our application counsellors who will assist you further. We’ll then apply on your behalf. Find out more about applying to a Master's degree with Studyportals

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