There are many attractions to study in Switzerland-from the postcard perfect beauty found throughout the nation, to the magnificent Alpine mountains and dazzling lakes. Switzerland is a true European melting pot, and consistently ranks among the world’s leaders on measures of quality of life.
Note that there is no centralized application procedure for international students, so in order to apply to study in Switzerland you’ll need to make direct contact with each university. You are able to apply online, and universities’ international and admissions offices should be available to help you if you have any problems. Make sure you check the language requirements of the courses you’re applying to; this is a country with four official languages after all! German, French and English (particularly at graduate level) predominate.
Student Visa Requirements
If you are from an EU/EFTA country:
- You do not require a visa to study in Switzerland.
- You will, however, be required to register with the local Residents’ Registration Office in order to obtain a residence permit. In order to get this you will need to present a completed application form, your passport, proof that you’ve enrolled at a university, evidence that you have enough money to support yourself, proof of your address and two passport size photos. If you have to leave for any reason, you will have to apply for a new residence permit when you return.
- Health insurance is mandatory, so make sure that you have purchased cover in Switzerland (unless coverage purchased in your home country is valid in Switzerland).
If you’re from outside of the EU/EFTA:
- You will need to apply for a multiple entry long stay visa (Visa D) from your local Swiss embassy. You must allow at least three months for your visa to process, so make sure you apply in plenty of time.
- The embassy will tell you specifically what you need to provide in order to obtain your visa, but it is likely to be similar to the above list for obtaining a residence permit. You will be allowed six months to find a job in Switzerland after completing your degree, and will be able to get a work visa if you succeed.
- Within 14 days of your arrival you must apply for a residence permit. See above for what you’ll need to provide.
Tuition and Cost of Living
For international students on a moderate budget, please note that Switzerland is not a cheap place to live. Living expenses for students are estimated between CHF18,000-28,000 per year (~US$18,500-28,800). However, this is nicely balanced off by the country’s low tuition fees. In most cases, international students pay no more than local students (some universities operate a slight mark-up). The exact sum varies, but at most leading Swiss universities, international fees are with the range of CHF1,266-2,200 per year (~US$1,300-2,265). Some scholarships are available, from the Swiss Government and from individual Swiss universities.
For more enquiries about admissions into universities abroad, send an email to Jonah@studyabroad365.com or call +2348125835476