Ask for a student permit

3. Nationals of a non-EU country

For whom

Non EU/EFTA nationals wishing to continue their studies in Switzerland must have sufficient financial ressources.


A student permit is obtained for the duration of the course, if it is less than a year.

If the course extends over several years, a student permit is delivered for one year and may be renewed until the end of the studies.

Student permits are strictly temporary. Only courses up to 8 years are authorised.

Authorisations are granted for the educational establishment(s) provided for in the study plan.


Before entering Switzerland, you must apply for a visa at the Swiss embassy or consulate in your place of residence - unless you apply using our online form.

If you already have a long-stay visa or a valid residence permit issued by a Schengen State, you do not need to apply for a visa.

Any change of school or orientation is subject to a new application and must be immediately notified to the Cantonal Office for Population and Migration (OCPM), together with the reasons for the change.

Only students registered in one of the Swiss Higher Education Institutions are allowed to work (at the earliest, 6 months after the start of their course). The ancillary activity may not exceed 15 hours per week and 40 hours per week during university holidays.  An application for an ancillary activity must be requested from the Cantonal Office for Population and Migration (OCPM) using form E and must include a letter of agreement from the school.

To apply online, you will need an "e-démarches" account ("compte simple").


  • Form E (only for applications sent by post);
  • Colour photocopy of a valid I.D.;
  • 1 passport-sized photo with full names written on the back;
  • School eligibility certificate;
  • C.V. and motivation letter indicating student's intentions upon studies completion;
  • Detailed study plan (class hours per week, schedule, branch details, studies total duration);
  • Written commitment to leave Switzerland upon studies completion, except for students admitted in one of the Swiss Higher Education Institutions according to art. 2 al.2 HEdA;
  • Proof of financial means or sponsorship certificate (Form O);
  • Extract from criminal record;
  • Copy of lease or landlord's attestation - form AL (with copy of the main lease and the landlord's I.D.) in sublet or rent-free accommodation;
  • Internship or ancillary activity considered;
  • Departure certificate issued by the canton of provenance.


For online applications, payment is made online as well.

For applications sent by post, payment is made by invoice.

See our Taxes and fees table

Processing times

Processing times can be consulted on this page: Délais de traitement moyens des demandes déposées à l'OCPM |

Help to fill in the online form

See our fact sheet: Aide pratique pour annoncer en ligne son arrivée à Genève ou déposer une demande de permis de séjour avec ou sans activité auprès de l'OCPM |

Apply for a student permit
Your application can be done either online or by postal mail.
Last updated
24 June 2024

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