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Global Student Experience

Upon Arrival

Welcome Programm for Exchange Students

In the beginning of the semester we hold a number of events to help you find your way around Zurich and the university: Information sessions about registration and health insurance, presentations of the most important offices and contact points, introductions to the main libraries, intercultural workshops, and so forth. As an exchange student you will receive a detailed schedule a few weeks before your studies at UZH begin.

Please note that this information applies to exchange students and regular visiting students only. International Master's students (degree-seeking students) will receive their information here.

Registering in Switzerland

If you are staying in Switzerland for a period longer than 3 months, you must apply for a residence permit. Within 14 days of your arrival, you are required to report in person to the local Residents’ Registration Office of your municipality. In the city of Zurich, these offices are called “Kreisbüros” (district office) and you are required to register at the office of your local district.

All newcomers will be asked to make an appointment at the Migration Office Zurich for the registration of their biometric identification.

Residents' Registration Offices ("Kreisbüros")

Information Sheet: Registering at the Kreisbüro (PDF, 153 KB)

Obligatory Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for everyone staying in Switzerland longer than three months. The compulsory basic health insurance policy covers illness, accidents and maternity. Upon registration at the local residents’ registration office you will be informed about the declaration process. 

Foreign students can apply for exemption from compulsory health insurance, provided they have a policy offering equivalent cover. You will find more information in the fact sheet "Health Insurance in Switzerland".

Factsheet "Health Insurance in Switzerland" (PDF, 170 KB)

Instructions: How to Apply for an Exemption (PDF, 416 KB)

Private Liability Insurance

This insurance (in German "Privathaftpflichtversicherung") covers any damage inflicted by you on other persons or their property. Although private liability insurance is not mandatory in Switzerland, we strongly recommend arranging such an insurance policy. 

Seeking Medical Treatment

If you need to visit a doctor, first make sure it is someone accepted by your insurance company. Make an appointment by phone with the doctor's office (this is also the time to raise any issues regarding your doctor's language skills). Bring your insurance card (and other necessary medical information, e.g. your vaccination record) with you.

How to Reclaim Costs

After your visit, the doctor's office will send you a bill. Usually this consists of an invoice and a copy with information on the treatment and its costs called "Rückforderungsbeleg" (reclaim proof). You should pay the bill to the doctor and send the "Rückforderungsbeleg" or a scan of it to you insurance company, who will then reimburse you. As mentioned in the fact sheet above, the insurer will not reimburse you fully: You are required to pay a retention fee (usually 10 per cent of the total) and possibly the whole bill until you have reached the total amount of your deductible.