What visa do I need to study in Switzerland?

If you’re from any of the EU/EFTA countries, then you’re in luck. You don’t need a visa to study in Switzerland! However, you will need to apply for a residence permit within 14 days of arrival.

If you’re from a non-EU/EFTA country, you will have to apply for a student visa at the Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country. Depending on the length of your stay, there are two types of visas for students:

  • C Visa for a shorter stay (summer schools, seminars, etc.)
  • D Visa for an extended stay (for study, work, or residing in Switzerland)

Where should I apply for a Swiss visa?

When applying for a Swiss visa, you should book an appointment at your local Swiss embassy or consulate. Be careful to book the appointment around six months in advance, since these things can and will take time.

The documents you submit will need to be in either French, German, or English. In case they aren’t, you will need certified translated copies.

When do I apply for a residence permit?

You should apply for a residence permit as soon as you’re in Switzerland, although the time limit is 14 days upon arrival. There are three types of residence permits:

  • Permit L for a one year stay in Switzerland, and can only be renewed once.
  • Permit B for a one year stay in Switzerland and has no renewal limit.
  • Permit C is for permanent residence.

Do I need health insurance?

Yes, not only will you need it, it’s compulsory if you’re staying for more than three months. Although Switzerland has free universal healthcare, that only applies to Swiss citizens.

You are advised to get private health insurance within three months of being in the country. Your health insurance will cover hospitalization and medical treatment costs. However, you will still have to pay around 10% of the overall medical treatment cost annually.

How do I apply to a Swiss university?

There is not a universal solution or guide to applying to a Swiss university. While most of them have similar application processes, you will have to check their requirements and expectations when you want to apply.

It’s best if you visit the university website and your chosen program and go from there.

Which Swiss universities are accredited?

Accreditation of Swiss universities is crucial to most of their higher education institutions. This is because Swiss universities can reserve their right to be  “universities,” “universities of applied sciences,” or “universities of teacher education” only when they are accredited.

Some universities aren’t approved by the Swiss Higher Education Funding and Coordination Act (HEdA), but they do have accreditation from other quality labels. For a more detailed look, you can check our complete list of accredited Swiss universities.

What are the admission requirements for Swiss universities?

Admission requirements for studying in Switzerland can vary from university to university. However, for bachelor level studies, you will need to possess a Swiss maturity certificate or your country’s equivalent to the certificate. As for a master’s program, you will need a relevant bachelor’s degree.

Depending on what university you attend, you might have to hold a B1/B2 certification level according to the European language passport (Europass) of the university’s language of instruction. However, many universities that offer English courses or programs will ask to take the TOEFL test (an English language certification test).

What is the language of instruction in Swiss universities?

The language of instruction in Swiss universities largely depends on what canton it’s based in. However, due to the high number of international students (over 25% of Swiss students are international), many universities offer English programs. On the other hand, almost all postgraduate programs (master’s and PhD programs) are taught in English.

Although English is becoming increasingly popular within Swiss universities, it’s best to learn the local language if you wish to complete undergraduate studies in Switzerland.

What about Swiss universities ranking? How well do they rank on world lists?

Besides having the best cheese and chocolate in the world, the Swiss contribute to top-notch educational institutions. Many Swiss universities find their way near the top of world ranking university lists that have been around for years.

Although most Swiss universities have quality values and practices, the ones that tend to rank the highest are state schools and business schools.

Are there any tuition-free universities in Switzerland?

Technically speaking, no, there aren’t any tuition-free universities in Switzerland. Nevertheless, you can bring down your tuition fees to almost free via university and governmental scholarships.

Even with no scholarships, Swiss tuition (especially that of state universities) is considered incredibly low, especially as opposed to average US tuition fees. Having cheap universities comes since Swiss state schools are funded by taxpayers’ money.

A thing worth noting is that the low tuition fees don’t impact universities’ quality at all. In fact, some of the cheapest Swiss universities are the ones that rank the highest.

What are the average university tuition fees in Switzerland?

Tuition fees in Switzerland can vary greatly depending on the university, the program, your nationality, etc. The average tuition for a bachelor’s program in Switzerland is somewhere around CHF 18,000. However, that number can range from CHF 5,000 up to CHF 40,000 for a full program.

As per postgraduate studies, they differ mostly based on programs. A master’s degree in Switzerland can cost you anywhere from CHF 3,000 to CHF 24,000. Bear in mind, though, and some MBA programs in Switzerland can cost up to CHF 85,000.

How can I get a Swiss scholarship?

Getting a Swiss scholarship will usually require academic excellence on your part. Also, most scholarships offered by universities will require you to be admitted to one of their programs. For international students, they will have to provide relevant and recognized certificates and qualifications.

As far as governmental Swiss scholarships go, they too require a level of academic excellence and are awarded to postgraduate candidates and artists. The purpose of these scholarships is to promote international research and exchange between Switzerland and other countries.

What is the cost of living in Switzerland as a student?

The cost of living in Switzerland during your studies depends on many factors, including your lifestyle. Without beating around the bush, it’s costly. However, it doesn’t have to be something you can’t afford by adapting a few saving techniques.

You can expect your monthly expenses to be around CHF 1,600 per month.

Are students allowed to work in Switzerland?

Yes, students are allowed to work in Switzerland. Given that Switzerland is not exactly inexpensive for outsiders, studying and working is common among international students.

While students are allowed to work, there are some restrictions on how many hours a week they can work. Also, depending on whether you’re from EU/EFTA countries or not, you may not be able to work right away. Here are some laws about students working in Switzerland:

  • International students can only work up to 15 hours per week.
  • During holidays students can work 100% of the working hours.
  • Students from non-EU/EFTA countries can work only six months after starting their degree program.

How to find work in Switzerland?

Working in Switzerland may sound like a dream to many, and rightfully so. To add to the dream, under Swiss law, international residents and locals are supposed to be paid the same. So, how to find work in Switzerland?

Here are a few steps you should follow:

  1. Obtain a Swiss work permit.
  2. Research employment opportunities in Switzerland.
  3. Find an available job in Switzerland.
  4. Figure out the language requirements.
  5. Check if your qualifications are eligible.

How can I improve my German language skills?

German is spoken in 17 Swiss cantons, and if you’re going to study in Switzerland, it would be a good idea to start learning it as best you can.

The best way to improve your German would be to join a German language course immediately. However, since you will be living in Switzerland during your studies, try to use as much German as possible in everyday life. In addition, the fact that you won’t be able to speak your mother tongue in a foreign country might help with learning the language in general.

What Is Switzerland famous for?

Switzerland, a beautiful country in the heart of Europe, has an established culture and many things to take pride in. Some things that Switzerland is famous for include their neutrality, the cliches, the culture, tourism, traditional food, Swiss Alps, Swiss lifestyle, etc.

There are many reasons why Switzerland is one of the best countries in the world, and if you decide to study there, you will see it for yourself!

How safe is Switzerland?

Given that it’s considered a country with one of the highest living standards in the world, we would say Switzerland is pretty safe. As a student, rest assured that you won’t be endangered in Switzerland, seeing how the Global Peace Index ranked Switzerland as the 11th safest place on earth.

A few things that make this country a haven are the low crime rate, Swiss gun law regulations, law-abiding citizens, and equal rights.

What are the languages spoken in Switzerland?

Language diversity has, for long, been a defining quality of the country. Although most Swiss people speak one or two of their languages, they have four national languages. However, the majority of Swiss cantons have German as the primary language.

The four national Swiss languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh.

Do I need a visa to go to Switzerland?

Although a Swiss passport is third worldwide by power rank, Switzerland is more strict when it comes to people coming in. Depending on the country you’re from, you might need a visa to travel to Switzerland.

Countries with visa-free entry to Switzerland are those in the Schengen area, countries that are part of the EU/EFTA, Singapore, and the United States. However, Singapore and the United States can stay visa-free in Switzerland for a period of 90 to 180 days, and under the condition that they’re not pursuing employment.

If you’re traveling from a country that is not part of the Schengen area, you must apply for a Schengen visa (or a short-stay Swiss visa). With this visa, you are allowed to travel to Switzerland for the next 90 days.

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