In case you are not sure if you need to apply for a visa to enter Switzerland, please check HERE and choose your country of nationality from the drop-down menu at the top.
Applications for a study visa must be submitted to the Swiss Embassy, proceeding in further to the Swiss Cantonal authorities. The whole process takes up to 4 months.
You should apply for your student visa as soon as you receive your acceptance package.
Swiss Student Visas
Application via the Nearest Swiss Embassy or Consulate
Student contact the nearest Swiss Embassy/Consulate to confirm what papers are needed.
Embassies are free to require anything they wish. The below list is a bare minimum. (Embassies frequently require more, which is why we suggest students to contact the embassy first, before submitting anything or arranging the interview, since Students must indicate their e-mail address and a contact phone number in case additional information is required.
Make sure you are accepted by SSBM Geneva and have paid at least 30% of the total tuition fee.
In case of “Autorisation habilitant les représentations suisses à délivrer un visa” refusal, all fees will be refunded, except the application fee and cancellation fee of 1.500 Euro, as applicable, which are non-refundable.
Standard Requirements by Consulates/Embassies to Apply for a Visa.
-1 page “Motivation Letter” clearly explaining your reasons for choosing SSBM, Geneva and Switzerland.
-Application forms from the Geneva Canton (Form “D”), which are fully completed and signed by the applicant. Applications which are not duly completed, dated, and signed will not be accepted.
-1 page “Study Plan” explaining your plans for studying at SSBM and your future degree intentions (You must specify whether you intend to study further beyond your first degree at SSBM as the authorities wish to know your total intended time in Switzerland)
-1 page “Return Statement” that you will leave Switzerland and return to your country of origin after you have completed your intended studies -Valid Passport and three copies of the applicant’s valid passport.
-The “Acceptance Letter” from SSBM -The “Admission Letter” from SSBM -Proof of financial stability i.e. recent bank statements (3 copies each).of an applicant or sponsor (Should the fund be financed by a third party, please enclose an official letter of guarantee by the third party)
-Detailed Correct Curriculum Vitae (C.V.). This should clearly highlight any previous studies and any professional experience -4 recent passport size photos (please write your name on the back of each photo,very strict requirements please consult the details on the embassy webpage)
-1 page Proof of Address in Switzerland or Attestation Letter from SSBM with address of the SSBM apartment (Upon request)
-The price of postage if the student is permitted to submit his/her passport by mail.
-Three copies of previous diplomas and school certificates.
-Three copies of a resume (biographical data, schools attended, etc.).
Student completes the application form and presents it with all supporting documentation at the Embassy.
Manner of submission varies from Embassy to Embassy. Before applying for the entry visa, please consider the following facts:
- In the USA,Canada and Republic of Rwanda, it can be mailed to the Embassy.
- Very important to know: If the student is more than 30 years old, theoretically no authorization for studies is provided (exception granted if reasons dully motivated)
- Finances. A student must have a minimum 25.000 CHF on his/her bank account while applying for a visa.
Embassy approves or denies student’s file.
Important information for a student:
There are several reasons why student’s file can be refused by the Embassy:
1)File is missing something and needs to be presented. In this case, the visa process will continue later.
2)Student did not answer the interview questions.
File is transferred to Bern. A national reference number is given to every student.
After the national review, the file is reviewed by the Local authorities.
In Geneva, this office is called Office Cantonal de la Population et des Migrations (OCPM). A cantonal reference number is given to every student.
STEP 6 – For your information
There are some nationalities that have several steps and procedures.
After Local confirmation, files of those students are transferred to Bern,Switzerland.
This procedure is handled by the Central Migration Office in Switzerland (State Secretariat for Migration).
Please, contact Student Services or SSBM administration for more information.
If a student’s country of origin is not in the following list, the application will be processed by the canton in order of arrival.
Upon evaluation the visa will be:
- Visa is Accepted.
- Additional information will be requested from SSBM or the applicant.
- Visa is Denied.
Step 8a If additional information is requested, the applicant’s file will be pending until this information is received.
Step 8.b Upon receipt, the dossier will be reevaluated.
- Visa is Accepted
- Visa is Denied.
OCPM will inform students about their decision on the file. If the visa is granted, a separate email will be sent to the student with the list of documents that he/she needs to fill and bring to Switzerland.
The Embassy will inform the student:
- If a visa is refused or canceled, the Federal Office for Migration issues a decision, which is motivated. If the candidate wishes to see the full dossier, this is possible upon payment of a fee. Requests will be processed only after payment has been made in advance.
Most common reasons for refusal:
- Country of origin
- Suspicion of intent to work rather than study
- Suspicion of intent to remain in Switzerland
Student Entry into Switzerland & Permit Procedure
First entry visa is valid for 30 days. All students need to plan to arrive within that time frame.
An applicant has 14 days from the date of actual entry into Switzerland to submit their paperwork to the Office of cantonal de la population et des migration (OCPM) in order to start his process with a student permit.
The student should NOT leave the country until the permit has been received, since the student can only enter one time on that visa and will not be able to reenter with it if he/she leaves (unless it is a multiple-entry visa). In case of a real emergency, a special visa can be requested and granted in advance of departure to allow a student, for example, to return home for a death in the family.
Once a student permit has been granted, the student is permitted to remain in the country legally until the permit expires.
All living permits are limited in length of time, generally according to the end of the time that the school indicates the student has paid for. Students will be granted a Swiss B permit.
Students who are studying at SSBM and who are from the European Union may work part-time with a student permit. (no more than 15 hours per week). Students who are from a country which is not part of the European Union can complete only internships as part of their studies. For more information, please contact student services.
All students who found an internship and have to leave the country for more than 6 months have to inform OCPM or student services in their university that they are leaving the country and send them a form D (departure certificate).
Health insurance is mandatory in Switzerland. All students will need to get Swiss health insurance. The list of health company providers will be given to the student when he/she arrives in Geneva.
Permits will need to be renewed every year, until the end of the student’s studies. The Swiss Authorities can and do require presentation of proof of continued enrollment and payment to the school where studies are being undertaken.
At the end of studies, the school has to interview every graduate and send a report to OCPM mentioning what are the student plans after the graduation and what he/she is planning to do. (home, another school, etc.)