Studying in Switzerland

Image of students at the Rolex Learning Centre library in Lausanne
Students at the Rolex Learning Centre library, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne. © FDFA, Presence Switzerland

In order to be able to study in Switzerland you require a proof of acceptance from the higher education institution where you will be studying. Depending on your nationality, with this letter you can either apply for a residence permit in a Swiss canton or submit a visa application to the Swiss representation covering your country of residence.

Apply for Admission

Contact the university of your choice prior to the admission deadline. Most of the universities also accept online applications. The main documents that you will have to send to the university are your upper secondary school-leaving certificate (the original or a notarized copy) and an up-to-date passport photograph. 

Registration deadlines, addresses and other useful information

Entry/Visa and Residence Permit

Within 14 days of entering Switzerland, EU/EFTA citizens must register with the local authority (Einwohnerkontrolle, Residents’ Registration Office) at the place of residence and apply for a residence permit.

You will need to present the following documents:

  • Personal application for residence permit
  • Valid passport or identity card
  • Proof of registration at the university
  • Evidence of sufficient funds (e.g. certificate or certified document of a bank authorised in Switzerland)
  • Proof of address at place of residence
  • 2 passport photographs

Other foreign national students - other than EU/EFTA nationals - must contact the Swiss embassy or consulate in their own country and apply for a visa. If the responsible immigration or police authorities approve the application, the requirements for entry into Switzerland and for residence for the purpose of study are met. Further information at the Federal Office of Migration.

Foreign nationals who are not EU/EFTA citizens and who do not require a visa should consult the Swiss embassy or consulate in their country for the current entry and residence requirements and formalities.

Scholarships

Through the Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS), the Swiss Confederation awards various post-graduate scholarships to foreign scholars of all disciplines and to some foreign artists.

Scholarships for Foreign Students