Switzerland is a beautiful country that features a hodgepodge of cultures. Case in point: its official languages, which are French, German, Italian, and Romansh.

These – among many other things – make Switzerland a great educational destination. If you’re thinking of studying in any of the top Swiss universities, then here are the steps you need to take to apply for a student visa in Switzerland.

What documents do you need to apply for a student visa in Switzerland?

Requirements vary according to nationality. Those coming from the EU/EFTA countries don’t have to secure a visa. They only need to apply for a residence permit within 14 days of arrival.

As for residents of non-EU/EFTA, they need to apply for a D visa or a long-term visa. The requirements for this Switzerland student visa (should be in either English, German, or French) are as follows:

Completed application form

You need to fill up and submit three copies of this form.

The information you need to provide include:

  • Your (applicant) personal information
  • Travel document information
  • Purpose of stay (studies)

You can access/download the form here.

Passport-size photographs

You need to include four pieces of these photographs together with your application packet.

Make sure they meet the following specifications:

  • In color
  • Size: 35 by 45 mm
  • Bright background, preferably light gray
  • The head should cover 70% to 80% of the entire photo
  • Neutral face expression – mouth closed, no smile
  • Headwear is allowed (for religious purposes)


Your passport should be valid for three months after your intended date of leaving.

Acceptance letter

This is proof that you have been accepted into the institution where you plan on studying.

Proof of payment

Likewise, you need to submit a receipt or proof that you have paid the necessary study fees.

Proof of financial coverage

Your bank account and other financials should be able to cover the cost of EUR 19,200 ($22,515) every year.

If you are a scholar or have taken out a loan, you must present documents proving so.

Curriculum vitae

This will let the embassy know that you are qualified to take the program.

Health insurance

This should amount to EUR 30,000 or $35,175.

Note: this requirement does not apply to EU/EFTA students. Students who have the European Health Insurance Card are automatically qualified for Swiss medical coverage.

Letter of motivation

You need to detail why you have chosen Switzerland and your institution to pursue your studies.

Written commitment

In this form, you need to declare that you will leave Switzerland once you have finished your studies.

Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students

How much money do you need for a Swiss Student Visa?

The cost for applying for a D visa is CHF 67 or $72.

As for the residence permit, you will need to pay:

  • CHF 20 or $22 for registration
  • CHF 65 or $70 (EU/EFTA) or CHF 162 or $174 (non-EU/EFTA) for documentation fees

Steps on Applying for a Student Visa in Switzerland

Here’s the procedure for a Swiss student visa application.

1. Apply at a Swiss institution.

As mentioned, one of the Switzerland student visa requirements is your acceptance letter. To get this, you need to be admitted to your program of choice.

As for most institutions, the application may be made online. All you need to do is fill up the designated application form and pay for the application fee.

You will also need to send/upload the requirements, such as:

  • Diploma
  • Transcripts and academic records
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Proof of language proficiency (depending on your university, it may require to be competent in either English, German, or French)
  • Personal essay or motivation letter
  • For Ph.D. applicants – acceptance letter from a research adviser

Once you receive your acceptance letter, you may begin with the application process.

2. Complete all the visa requirements.

Unless you’re an EU/EFTA resident, you will need to collate all the Switzerland student visa application requirements stated above.

3. Book an appointment with the Swiss Embassy or Consulate.

Unlike short-term visas, the long-term visa application must be lodged personally. To do so, you first need to book an appointment with the embassy or consulate.

Remember: the earlier you apply, the better. You may send your requirements at least six months before your intended departure date.

4. Attend your appointment.

Once at the Swiss Embassy, you may submit the requirements stated above.

The consulate may also need to capture your biometric data (facial image and finger scans) during your appointment. These will be kept in the Visa Information System for five years.

Depending on your case, you may need to undergo a personal interview as well.

5. Wait for your visa.

It takes about 8-10 weeks for the embassy to process and issue your student visa for Switzerland.

6. Fly to Switzerland.

If you’re an EU/EFTA resident, you may skip the steps above and proceed with this.

7. File for a temporary residence permit.

Within 14 days of your arrival, you will need to go to the Citizen’s registry office (Einwohnermeldeamt) to secure your temporary residence permit.

If you are based in Zurich, you may get the permit from the Kreisbüro.

The requirements for this document are as follows:

  • Passport or identity card
  • Extended confirmation of matriculation form from your institution
  • Accommodation or rental contract
  • Evidence of financial resources (should cover at least CHF 1750 or $1880 a month)

You will also need to pay the fees mentioned above.

If you are applying through the Kreisbüro, you will need to schedule a biometric data appointment at the Zurich Migration Office.

8. Wait for your residence permit.

This will be delivered by mail.

Do remember that a residence permit is only suitable for one year. The Immigration Office will remind you of the renewal, though.

A month before your permit expires, you will receive the renewal form by mail.

You may extend it throughout your schooling, though you will need to present proof of financial resources every time.

You will also need to pay a renewal fee, the amount of which will be indicated in the said letter.


I hope that this article on how to apply for Switzerland student visa was helpful! If you are interested in studying in Europe, make sure to check out Available Programs in Europe for International Students.

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