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Guidelines for Students with Visa Requirements

For study purposes, you need a national “D” visa for long-term stays. Please pay close attention to the application deadlines for students with visa requirements and make absolutely sure to 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.

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.


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.

Visa Application

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.

Website of the Federal Office for Migration


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.- per year. 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. You must open an account with a bank that is included on the FINMA list, not with a Swiss bank in Switzerland. This can be done from outside Switzerland without a problem.
    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

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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 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. §

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