Guide to Student Visas for Masters in Switzerland
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Guide to Student Visas for Masters in Switzerland

Written by Taru Medha

Once you have secured your place at a Swiss university, the last and most important step in your journey is the visa application process. Switzerland lies within the European Higher Education Area so different immigration procedures apply to students depending on your nationality. If you are a citizen of the EU or EEA, you will not usually require a formal visa.

International students, however, need to apply for a student visa to gain entry into the country. We cover the process of applying for a student visa for a Masters in Switzerland as an international student a bit later.

EU and EEA students

EU and EEA students will still need to register as foreign residents once they arrive in Switzerland. This should be done at the Residents' Registration Office in your local area no later than 14 days after arrival. In addition to a completed application form, you will need to present various documents at this office, including:

  • Your passport or identity card
  • Proof that you are registered as a Masters student in Switzerland
  • Proof of your address in Switzerland
  • Proof that you possess sufficient funds to support yourself while living in Switzerland as a student
  • Two passport-sized photographs

It is important to note that UK students are no longer be EU citizens (as of the 2021-22 academic year). This means you may be considered as an international student when studying in Switzerland. You may be subject to different visa requirements and fee rates, unless otherwise stated.

Swiss student visas for non-EU/EEA students

If you are not a citizen of an EU or EEA country, you will need to apply for a visa before you travel. A Swiss student visa costs €60.

You can do this at a Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country. To successfully complete your application you will need to submit the following documents:

  • Proof of financial resources to cover cost of living in Switzerland
  • A valid health insurance policy
  • Confirmation of admission to a registered/accredited education institution
  • A study plan with the purpose of your study
  • Proof of accommodation
  • Confirmation that you will leave Switzerland once you finish your studies

The Swiss embassy or consulate inform you if they need you to submit any additional documents or guarantees. It usually takes 8 weeks for a visa to be issued, and you should factor this time into your application process. It’s a good idea to apply for your Masters course as early as possible in order to confirm your registration with sufficient time left for a visa to be issued.

Health insurance

Switzerland has a compulsory health insurance system that guarantees access to a range of quality medical care services and appropriate medical treatment to all people living in Switzerland. Every person living in Switzerland for more than three months – including international students – must have basic health insurance coverage.

If you’re from an EU/EEA country, you should make sure that you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which will entitle you to state healthcare in Switzerland. Within three months of your arrival in Switzerland, you should apply to your local Swiss health authority for an exemption from compulsory health insurance.

If you’re not an EU/EEA national, you’ll need to take out basic health insurance. This could be a private health insurance policy from your home country, as long as it satisfies the conditions set out by the Swiss authorities. You could also apply for basic health insurance (KVG) from a Swiss provider.

Once you have your visa, you are ready to take on what you can expect to be a culturally enriching postgraduate study journey. Our guide to living in Switzerland as a Masters student has everything you need to know before you fly to Switzerland.

Search for a Masters in Switzerland

You can browse and compare a list of available Masters degrees in Switzerland on the FindAMasters website.

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Last updated: 01 December 2023