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Getting an education in Switzerland: Procedure

Anyone wishing to enter Switzerland for educational purposes requires a residence permit. The educational institution chosen decides on admission to training.

Entry into Switzerland

The following documents are required to enter Switzerland and train here:

  • A valid travel document, such as a passport, identity card, etc.
  • A visa may be required, depending on your nationality: visit sem.admin.ch, the website of the State Secretariat for Migration SEM
  • Sufficient financial means to cover living expenses in Switzerland
  • Health and accident insurance that covers all risks
  • A residence permit
  • Confirmation of enrolment from a recognised Swiss educational institution

Residence permit

A residence permit is not required if the stay lasts less than three months and there is no paid work in Switzerland during this period. Otherwise, you must obtain a residence permit. Applications must be sent to the canton where the person travelling to Switzerland lives. A list of cantonal immigration authorities is available on the website of the State Secretariat for Immigration, sem.admin.ch.

The residence permit issued to students is valid for the duration of their studies, provided this is less than one year, or for one year with an annual extension until the end of their studies. Further information: PDF document "Residing in Switzerland without gainful activity" (PDF, 148kb) from the State Secretariat for Migration SEM.

Special case: Secondary employment

Students from other countries can work part-time if their main goal is to study. During the semester, the gainful employment may not exceed 15 hours per week. Part-time employment may only be permitted after a waiting period of six months.


Each educational institution independently decides under what conditions someone is admitted to the training programme. Students are advised to inquire directly with the institution of their choice.

There is no possibility of having foreign educational qualifications, such as school-leaving certificates or upper secondary school-leaving certificates, recognised at federal level.

Vocational education and training VET

Foreign nationals who wish to complete a vocational education and training VET in Switzerland can find further information on the page Vocational education and training VET.

University admission with foreign educational qualifications

Further information for foreign nationals who intend to study in Switzerland: University admission with foreign educational qualifications.

Swiss nationals living abroad

Swiss nationals abroad and people who have been educated at a Swiss school abroad and would like to complete an apprenticeship in Switzerland can benefit from remote counselling sessions with career guidance specialists. Further information: educationsuisse.ch.