For study purposes, you need a national “D” visa for long-term stays. Please contact the Swiss representation in your home country at least three months before you plan to enter Switzerland.
Under no circumstances should you enter Switzerland on a tourist visa! A tourist visa CANNOT be converted to a residence permit after you have entered the country.
Although Switzerland is an associated member of the Schengen/Dublin agreement, a Schengen visa from another country entitles the holder only to enter and travel through Switzerland, but not to take up residence. To do so, you need a national “D” visa.
You must enclose the following documents with your visa application:
Please note that a document missing from the list can lead to delays. If the Swiss representation in your country requests any further documents, please enclose these too.
Table of contents
- Cover Sheet for Visa Application
- Visa Application
- Three Recent Photos
- Confirmation of Admission to the University of Zurich
- Curriculum Vitae / Foreign Language Skills
- Motivation Letter / Future Plans
- Written Pledge to Exit Switzerland
- Proof of Sufficient Financial Means
- Costs / Fees
- Visa Refusal Reasons
Cover Sheet for Visa Application
Please use our checklist as a cover sheet for your visa application. This helps to ensure you have included all the requested documents. It also helps the Swiss authorities to find the relevant information more quickly.
The application form is provided by the Swiss embassy or consulate in your country of residence or can be downloaded from the Internet. It must usually be submitted in triplicate. Most Swiss embassies or consulates require you to present yourself in person, so please clarify this in advance.
Please note that a student visa is generally valid from around 2-3 weeks before the start of semester, irrespective of how early you submitted your application. Should you wish to enter Switzerland at an earlier date, you need to specify this in your visa application. Please supply detailed reasons for your request.
Copy of the first (relevant) pages of your passport. The passport must be valid for at least three months beyond the duration of your stay.
Three Recent Photos
Confirmation of Admission to the University of Zurich
Please submit the document confirming your admission to matriculation that you received from the Admissions Office for the attention of the relevant authorities,
Information Regarding Evidence of Payment of the Semester Fee
Some Swiss embassies or consulates require for the visa application evidence of payment of the semester fee. Since semester fees at UZH are not paid until after you matriculate in person (i.e. after you have entered Switzerland), you are not able to supply this evidence.
If required, you can enclose our information sheet on this subject.
Curriculum Vitae / Foreign Language Skills
Curriculum Vitae/resumé in a table format in German or English; any foreign language skills must be listed in as much detail as possible.
Copies and notarized translations of the diplomas in German. This rule does not apply to diplomas issued in German, English, French, or Italian.
Motivation Letter / Future Plans
Please write – if possible in German – a personal statement declaring the following:
1) The reasons why you want to study in Switzerland. Please also mention that your Master’s study program is the next logical step after your Bachelor’s study program and why you need this qualification for your professional future.
2) Your future plans after completing your studies.
Written Pledge to Exit Switzerland
You must write a special letter in German or English in which you pledge to leave Switzerland after completing your studies. You can use our sample letter as a basis.
Proof of Sufficient Financial Means
You need to prove that you have the financial means to cover the costs of studying and living in Switzerland. Suitable documents include your own bank statements and confirmation of your scholarship or a guarantee from a person resident in Switzerland.
- The Migration Office of the Canton of Zurich requires a confirmation from a Swiss-domiciled bank (foreign bank with a branch in Switzerland OR a Swiss bank with a branch in your home country) stating that you have access to the equivalent of CHF 21,000.- at the beginning of your studies. The account must be held in your own name and the currency must be Swiss francs, euros, or US dollars.
A list of all approved banks in Switzerland has been published by Finma: FINMA List of Authorised Banks and Securities Dealers
PLEASE NOTE: Even major international banks are not accepted if they do not have a branch in Switzerland.
Letters of support or bank statements from parents or relatives will not be accepted.
- Alternatively, you can supply what is known as a Guarantee Declaration. In this case, a solvent person living in Switzerland (a Swiss citizen or foreigner with a B or C residence permit) signs a form officially pledging to cover costs of up to CHF 21,000.- that could fall to the community during your stay in Switzerland. This includes accidents and illness, as well as your return trip. This form will be issued by the Migration Office of the Canton of Zurich after receiving your application.
Please note that upon extension of your residence permit after one year, proof of financial means will again be required by the migration authorities.
Costs / Fees
- When applying for your visa, you will be required to pay a fee to the relevant Swiss embassy or consulate (between 50.- and 100.- Swiss francs).
- The Migration Office of the canton responsible for processing your application will also charge a further CHF 95.- for the document that entitles you to be issued with a visa.
- On registering in the city of Zurich, a further CHF 162.- will be charged by your local registration office (Kreisbüro) for your residence permit.
After entering Switzerland, all students must register at their place of residence within 14 days. You will find further information under After Entering Switzerland.
Visa Refusal Reasons
The migration authorities make decisions on an individual basis and take into account a number of factors. Visa applications are normally denied
- if the student is over 30 years of age. The legal basis can be found here (Migrationsamt des Kantons Zürich; Art. 126.96.36.199. - in German only).
- if the student already holds a degree at the same level for which a stay at UZH is planned.
- if the visa application is incomplete.
§ Please note: The information given on this page is for information purposes only and holds no guarantee for complete accuracy. The regulations on which this information is based may have changed since these guidelines were last reviewed. For legally binding information, please consult the website of the Federal Office for Migration or contact the Swiss embassy in your country of origin. §