Guidelines for Students with a Visa Requirement
Please submit your visa application in person at the Swiss diplomatic mission (embassy or consulate general) in your country of residence or contact the Federal Office of Migration at least three months before you plan to enter Switzerland. Students require a national “D” visa. This visa permits you to enter Switzerland once. Do not enter Switzerland on a tourist visa under any circumstances! A tourist visa can NOT be converted into a residence permit once you have entered Switzerland!
After entry, you will receive a residence permit for Switzerland. With this permit and your valid passport, you can stay up to three months per half-year in any Schengen country. Please note that your application must be submitted with all of the documents listed below. Missing documents may cause a delay of several weeks. Should the Swiss representation in your country of residence request further documents, please enclose these as well.
Important: Although Switzerland is an associated member of the Schengen/Dublin agreement, a Schengen visa from another state only entitles its holder to enter and travel through Switzerland, but not to take up residence. To do so, you need a national “D” visa.
Cover Sheet for Visa Application
Visa Application Form
Confirmation of Admission to the University of Zurich
Curriculum Vitae / Foreign Language Skills
University and School-Leaving Diplomas
Letter of Motivation / Future Plans
Written Statement Confirming Plans to Exit Switzerland
Proof of Sufficient Financial Means
Please use the 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 when handling your application file.
The visa application form is provided free of charge by the local Swiss representation in your country of residence. Alternatively, it can be downloaded from the Internet in PDF format. Usually, it must be submitted in triplicate. Most Swiss representations require you to present yourself in person, so please make sure in advance whether or not this is the case in your country of residence.
Link to visa application download
A copy of the first few pages of your passport (with identification information). Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond the planned duration of your stay.
3 recent passport-sized photos (Swiss regulation size)
Please enclose the „Attestation to the responsible authorities“ and a copy of the "Zulassung zur Immatrikulation (admission to Master's program)", which you received from the Admissions Office of the University Zurich.
A short curriculum vitae/résumé in German or English, personally signed. Please list your foreign language skills in detail. If desired, you may use our sample CV:
Copies and officially certified translations of said documents in German.
Please write, if possible in German, a personal (short!) statement in which you declare the following:
1) The reasons why you want to study in Switzerland. Please also mention why the Master's program at the University of Zurich is the next logical step in your studies and why the UZH Master's program is important for your professional future.
2) Outline your future plans after completing your studies.
You must confirm in writing (in German or English) that you will leave Switzerland upon completing your studies. If desired, you may use our sample letter:
You must provide proof of sufficient financial means to stay and study in Switzerland. This can be done by submitting bank statements and/or scholarship awards. The Canton of Zurich Migration Office requires confirmation from a bank with a branch in Switzerland (foreign bank with a branch in Switzerland or a Swiss bank with a branch in your home country). As a rule, you should be able to provide evidence of having CHF 21'000 at the beginning of each year of your studies. The account must be registered in your own name and the currency must be Swiss francs, euros or US dollars.
Please note: Even large and well-known international banks are not accepted if they do not have a branch in Switzerland.
Supporting letters of parents or relatives are NOT accepted.
Alternatively, you can hand in a so-called “guarantee declaration”. This means that a solvent person living in Switzerland (Swiss citizen or foreigner with B or C permit) underwrites to cover the costs of up to CHF 21’000.- for your living expenses, including accidents and illness, in addition to your return trip. The appropriate form is sent to your home address by the Migration Office of the Canton of Zurich (once they have received your visa application).
Three different fees are levied during the visa procedure:
- When you apply at the consulate/embassy for a visa, you must pay the visa application fee.
- The canton in Switzerland responsible for processing your visa application, e.g., the Migration Office in Zurich, charges CHF 95 for the document that entitles you to be issued with a visa.
- The Kreis Office (“Kreisbüro”) in Zurich charges a fee of CHF 162 for the residence permit.