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Job opportunities for students and graduates in one of the most competitive and dynamic economies in the world. Not a Swiss citizen? No problem! Find here all the documents needed by foreigners to stay, study and work in Switzerland.

Immigration and VISA in Switzerland

Residence permit / visa

The application for a residence permit or a visa is different for EU/EFTA citizens and for people from other countries.

EU/EFTA countries:

Students from EU/EFTA countries must register with the Residents' Registration Office of the local authorities of their municipality of residence within 14 days and apply for a residence permit. The following documents are required:

  • Personal application for residence permit
  • Valid passport or identity card
  • Proof of registration at the university
  • Evidence of sufficient funds (bank certificate or certified document)
  • Proof of address at place of residence
  • 2 passport-size photographs

Non-EU/EFTA countries:

Students from non-EU/EFTA countries must contact the Swiss Embassy or the Swiss consulate in their native country and apply for a visa. Students are responsible for gathering the information and the documents required for the visa issuing process. Among other things, they must submit proof of registration at a university. Students must be aware of the fact that, as a rule, an application for a visa takes several months to process.

Health insurance:

In Switzerland, health insurance is mandatory for all residents. Students from foreign countries must purchase their own health insurance policy if they intend to live in Switzerland for more than three months. This does not apply to students from countries which provide international coverage or offer equivalent insurance protection.

Work permit

Switzerland admits employed foreign citizens on the basis of a dual system. People from EU/EFTA countries profit from the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (there are transitional differences for Bulgaria and Rumania till 2016). People from all other countries are subject to different directives.

EU/EFTA countries:

  • Employment for students: EU/EFTA citizens studying in Switzerland are permitted to accept a side job for a maximum of 15 hours per week without any additional permit or notification required. This remains true for the entire period of validity of their student permit.
  • Short-term employment: EU/EFTA citizens working in Switzerland for less than 3 months per year do not need a work permit. They are, however, required to register with the competent authority.
  • Long-term employment: for employment exceeding 90 days per year, EU/EFTA citizens must acquire a work permit. The work permit application can be handed in to the local municipal office at the place of residence or work.

Non-EU/EFTA countries:

Citizens from non-EU/EFTA countries are subject to certain restrictions in their access to the Swiss labor market. Only a limited number of highly qualified professionals are admitted and issued a work permit.

Part-time employment for students:

  • Non-EU/EFTA citizens studying in Switzerland are permitted to accept part-time employment for a maximum of 15 hours per week, but only after residing in Switzerland for a minimum of 6 months. Students must maintain full-time student status and show regular progress in their studies.
  • Exemption: Master students with a Bachelor degree from a university abroad working for their Swiss university/institute do not have to wait 6 month.

Short- and long-term employment:

  • Third country nationals who earn a degree from a university in Switzerland may stay in the country for up to six months after graduation to seek full, permanent employment.
  • Non-EU/EFTA citizens must acquire a work permit before beginning their job. In general, the employer submits an application to the relevant authority of the canton where the prospective employee will be working. The application process can take up to several weeks.
  • Candidates who receive a degree from a university in Switzerland will be granted facilitated admission to the Swiss labor market. Employers will still have to show proof that the candidate is of economic and scientific interest to the Swiss labor market.