Switzerland is known to be very beautiful and picturesque thanks to its landscape and nature. It is also an ideal study destination for international students looking for quality and affordable education. There are several top-ranking institutions like the University of Geneva and ETH Zurich which consistently appear among the top global universities for research and innovation.

Some public universities offer low-cost or tuition-free education to specific nationalities, making it ideal for students looking for affordable and quality higher education in Europe. However, to study in any of the Swiss universities as an international student from a non-EU country, you have to obtain a student visa allowing you to stay and study in Switzerland for the duration of your program.

Obtaining a student visa for Switzerland is straightforward and involves a few simple steps. Note that the process may vary depending on your nationality. Here’s a general guide on how to get a Switzerland student visa:

What Are the Necessary Documents to Submit for a Swiss Student Visa?

To apply for a Swiss student visa, you will be required to submit various documents to support your application. Typical documents include a valid passport with at least three months of validity beyond the intended date of departure from Switzerland, a completed visa application form, a letter of acceptance from the Swiss educational institution, proof of accommodation in Switzerland, previous academic transcripts, and proof of financial means to cover living costs and tuition fees.

Ensure the documents are certified and translated into English or any of Switzerland’s national languages (German, French, Italian, and Romansh).

Where to Apply for a Swiss Student Visa?

To be able to study in Switzerland you require proof of acceptance from an accredited Swiss institution. Depending on your nationality, you will either apply for a residence permit in a Swiss canton or submit a visa application to the Swiss representation in your country. The Swiss representative in your country will be the one to forward your application to the appropriate cantonal immigration office for approval or rejection. The Swiss representative will then notify you of the result of your visa.

How Much is the Visa Issuance Fee for a Student Visa?

There is a fee associated with the Swiss student visa application. The Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country will charge you around 50-100 Swiss francs. Additionally, the cantonal migration office processing your student visa application will charge you 95 Swiss francs for the document that entitles you to be issued a visa.

Note that, if your visa application is rejected, you will not get a refund of the visa issuance fee.

Steps on Applying for a Swiss Student Visa

To apply for a Swiss student Visa, here are comprehensive steps to guide you and make the process smooth.

1. Get admission to a Swiss university

The first step before thinking about the visa is getting admission to a Swiss university. Ensure you have an acceptance letter from a recognized Swiss educational institution because only accredited institutions can issue the necessary documents for your visa application. Some of the best Swiss institutions to consider include ETH Zurich, the University of Basel, the University of Bern, and the University of Lausanne.

You can start this process six months before your intended move to Switzerland to give you ample time to gather the required documents and deal with any unforeseen delays.

2. Check and gather the visa requirements

Visit the official website of the Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country to check the specific requirements for a student visa. Requirements may vary based on your nationality. This includes the documents mentioned earlier to support your application. They include things like a valid passport, previous academic transcripts, financial proof, and health insurance among others. Ensure the documents are certified and translated into any of the Swiss national languages.

3. Complete and submit the application

Ensure you complete the visa application form accurately. You can obtain the form from the Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country or download it from their official website. Countercheck to ensure you have all the required documents and submit your application along with all required documents to the Swiss embassy or consulate in your home country. Also, pay the respective visa issuance fee to make the submission complete. It’s advisable to submit your application well in advance of your intended travel date as the processing time could be affected by various factors.

4. Wait for Visa Processing

The Swiss embassy or consulate in your country will forward your student visa application to the Swiss cantonal migration office which will evaluate your application and make a decision. They will then communicate back to the Swiss representative in your country who will inform you of your visa outcome. The time for visa processing depends on your nationality, but it should take approximately 8 to 12 weeks.

If you receive a rejection, you can appeal the decision citing why you disagree with the visa application outcome. Otherwise, if you receive approval for your application, you need to start preparing your travel to Switzerland.

5. Apply for a residence permit

Once you receive approval for your student visa, you will be required to visit the cantonal migration office and register for a residence permit within 14 days of your arrival in Switzerland. This process could take a few weeks but you will be issued with a temporary pass as you wait for your permit.


Switzerland is a favorite study destination that offers various educational opportunities to international students. If you are an international student from a non-EU country, a student visa will allow you to study at accredited Swiss institutions as long as you meet all the requirements set by the university and immigration department. Because immigration rules change from time to time, ensure to check the specific requirements and procedures with the embassy or consulate in your home country for up-to-date information.


Hopefully, this article will be of help when you start your student visa application for Switzerland. There are also tons of information and tips on the Study in Switzerland page, check it out as you start your journey studying abroad! You can also visit the Available Programs in Europe for more study options!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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