Switzerland seems such an appealing place where to study and complete your education, but there is always something that comes into your way… Who has the intention to go to Switzerland to study, will also have to encounter some bureaucratic issues in order to make their future study in this country possible. However, before travelling, let’s see which students require a visa and which don’t. Afterwards, those students who require it, will find out what they need to do in order to get it.
Who Needs a Swiss Student Visa?
What students worldwide have in common, is their desire to study in the same country, in this case in Switzerland. What difference they have, will be based on some different, though similar, bureaucratic processes to endure.
Here is the difference between EU/EFTA nationals, non-EU/EFTA nationals and nationals of Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.
The first ones do not require a visa, though they must register as soon as they arrive in Switzerland at the Resident’s Registration Office in order to apply for a residence permit. The second ones will also have to ask for a residence permit in person, but in addition to that, they are obliged to apply for a visa before coming to Switzerland. They should apply for it at a Swiss embassy or consulate in their own country, in order to enter their future country of study.
The type of visa you need for study is called a national “D” visa. This national “D” visa allows you to enter Switzerland once, and after you have entered it, you are required to register within 14 days at the Resident’s Registration Office and apply for a residence permit for Switzerland. The residence permit is essential for your study and is also a great deal, because with it you can travel to the other countries of the Schengen area for up to three months without any additional visa. Your passport and a residence permit are sufficient. Take into consideration, that these three months are to be within every half-year.
What about the last ones, the nationals of Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore? They, like the first ones, do not need to apply for a visa in order to enter Switzerland. Nonetheless, they need to obtain a residence permit as well. To do that, they have to submit the same documents, like the students who must apply for a visa, but with the exception of the visa application form. The difference between them and students who must have a visa, is that as soon as they hand in these documents upon their arrival, at the above mentioned Resident’s Registration Office, they will then directly get their residence permit, while other students will have to wait some time to get it. A special note for non-EU/EFTA citizens is that their undergraduate and graduate degrees as well any post-doctorate periods must be within 8 years and cannot exceed more than 8 years.
Document by Document, Step-by-Step Nearer to the Visa
Here are some of the most required documents to be taken into consideration. The first necessary documents are as usual your passport, some recent photos, which are the size of your passport photo (3-4 of them) and of course the visa application form, without which the process cannot be started.
An important note regarding the passport is that only a copy of the first relevant pages are needed, and moreover your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the duration of your stay. If your passport expires earlier, you cannot get your visa, because it will not be approved due to the expiration. So, first thing you need to check is your passport, should you need to renew it before looking and submitting other documents.
What concerns the visa application form is that it can be easily downloaded from the internet or taken free of charge from the local Swiss representation in the country where you live. Take a note, that you need 2 more copies of the application form to submit. In addition to that, you will probably be required to present the documents in person.
Next thing to do is to provide a confirmation of enrolment from a recognized Swiss educational institution, without it you are unlikely to start the process of getting the visa. Along with this confirmation, you will be also requested to present diplomas or transcripts of school records, and it must be a certified translation in English, or in another language if stated otherwise. Most embassies require to see the original diplomas, along with the translated ones. A part from this documents, you will need to prove that you have sufficient financial means to finance your stay while studying. As evidence you should bring your bank account statement or any document which certifies that you have been accepted and granted a scholarship, if that is the case. Moreover, if necessary, you should bring a confirmation of the tuition fee payment for your university. Now, a few documents remain, which you can make on your own, like writing your curriculum vitae in English and any certificate of language skills, writing your motivation letter, where you should state reasons which bring you to study in Switzerland. It is advisable to be short, concise, precise and written in English. In addition to the motivation letter, you will also have to write a statement about your future plans after finishing your studies, the same rules of being concise and precise apply here too. Finally, one more thing to do is to provide a written confirmation about your commitment to leave Switzerland once you have completed your studies.
Switzerland Here I Come
Once you have submitted all these documents and your application form for a student visa to the respective authorities in your country, you will have to wait for some time and meanwhile it may happen that you will be asked to provide some additional documents or information, if the Migration Office of the respective canton where you want to pursue your study finds it necessary. As soon as your application is accepted and your visa ready for collection, you will receive a letter. Note that, before you say “Switzerland here I come”, under no circumstances should you think of entering Switzerland with a tourist visa. So, wait for your student visa and while being abroad, make sure it is always with you, in order not to have any problems. Good luck with your visa application procedure, study well and enjoy Switzerland!