As in most countries within the European Higher Education Area, different immigration procedures apply to students depending on nationality. If you are a citizen of the EU or EEA, you will not usually require a formal visa.
Students from elsewhere will need to apply for an entry visa and allow sufficient time for this to be issued before they can travel to Switzerland as a Masters student. Health insurance requirements will also vary depending on your nationality.
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
Swiss 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. You can do this at a Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country. They will be able to inform you of the specific documents required, which usually include proof of registration at a Swiss higher education institution.
A visa may take several months to issue 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.
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. Or, you could apply for basic health insurance (KVG) from a Swiss provider.