Useful information – visa

Which kind of visa should you apply to + deadline

The visa D for a long stay visa – more than 3 months must be requested from the Swiss representation (embassy or consulate) closest to your home abroad. The visa application must be submitted at least 3 months prior to the start of your planned studies using the form available on your country on the previous link.

What about the tourist visa

A tourist visa is only valid for 3 months and cannot be converted into a student permit after your arrival in Switzerland. You will have to go back home when your student visa is ready.

Difference between visa an residence permit

The visa allows you to enter into Switzerland, this is why it has a limited period. The residence permit, which you will have to ask for at your arrival in Switzerland will allow you to stay in Switzerland.

Multiple entry visa

Request a multiple entry visa to avoid having to repeat the procedure if you have to leave the country for any reason during its validity, i.e. during around 3 months (conference abroad, urgent trip to go home etc…). the residence permit you will receive after your arrival, will allow you to go back home and to travel in the schengen area without asking a new visa.

Going out of Switzerland before receiving your residence permit - Warning!

If you have to go out of Switzerland and have not received your residence permit yet, please check your visa: if it is a “multi entry visa” and if you are in the deadlines, then you can go abroad and come back into Switzerland without any problems. If your visa is not a “multi entry visa”, you will need to ask for a new visa (return visa) to the population office (Division étrangers). This visa will be given to you directly at the desk on the same day.

How to proceed more rapidly

To ensure that the process is carried out as efficiently and rapidly as possible, you are requested to submit with the visa application the form: Application for a Temporary Residence Permit for Study Purposes in the Canton of Vaud (pdf form). If you do not give this document at that moment, it will be requested on a later stage and it will therefore make the process longer. Please read this document carefully and enclose all the requested documents so that your application can be dealt with as quickly as possible.

When should you be able to enter into Switzerland

Be aware that the Service de la Population may release a visa at earliest for the Saturday preceding the Welcome day (or one week before the intensiv French course). Do not ask for an entry before this date as you will not get it and book your tickets accordingly.

Missing previous academic degree/diploma

If you have not received your previous academic degree/diploma yet, you can provide an attestation (with official signature and stamp from your school. There is no need to notarize it) informing that you successfully completed your previous program.

This attestation will also be useful for the registration at EPFL.

If you are not able to get this attestation because your studies are not finished yet, make sure to start the visa application despite this and scan this attestation or the official document and send it as soon as possible directly to the population office by email to etrangers.etudiants@vd.ch to complete your file.

Proof of sufficient means

You have to prove that you have 2000.- CHF/month to live in Switzerland.

Generally embassies/consulates request this amount for a whole academic year. As the exact amount is given by embassies/consulates, please contact them or check their website for more information.

Proofs:

  • Bank statement(s) (of one or several accounts): If the account(s) is not your’s, ask the account holder(s) to sign a letter confirming that he/she will support you during your studies. Or use this form (in french only). The date when the money has been put on the account does not matter.
  • Scholarship attestation: If the scholarship is lower than 2000.- CHF/month, you will have to prove that you have sufficient means to cover the difference.

You will have to ask for an extension of your residence permit on a yearly basis and prove again that you have 2000.- CHF/month, for at least six months.

Intensive French course

In order to receive your visa for the intensive French course, (If you would like to attend) follow these instructions when filling in the form “Application for a temporary residence permit for study purposes in the Canton de Vaud”. (pdf form)

  • In section “E/Study plan”: write down that you will attend the intensive French course.
  • Under “Course start date”: write down the French course starting date and not the beginning of the academic year.

If the registration attestation has not been added to your visa application, please send it as soon as possible directly to the population office by email to etrangers.etudiants@vd.ch to complete your file.

No accommodation yet

Do not wait to find an accommodation to apply for your visa.

In the form “Application for a Temporary Residence Permit for Study Purposes in the Canton of Vaud” (pdf form) (section f, point 6) please proceed as following:

  • Give a copy of the communication exchanged if you have already taken some measures to find an accommodation (registration in student halls, emails with private landlords, etc.).
  • Write that you are in contact with the EPFL housing service if you haven’t started looking for an accommodation yet.

Application for a Temporary Residence Permit for Study Purposes in the Canton of Vaud

This document is needed to get the visa.

To ensure that the process is carried out as efficiently and rapidly as possible, the population office request to submit with the visa application the form “Application for a Temporary Residence Permit for Study Purposes in the Canton of Vaud”. (pdf form)

Please read this document carefully and enclose all the requested documents (even if they have been already requested in your application visa, those documents will be dealt by another department) so that your application can be dealt with as quickly as possible.

If you were not able to give this form with your visa application, please, send it as soon as possible by email to the population office info.etrangers@vd.ch

Proof of payment of tuition fees

Tuition fees at EPFL cannot be paid in advance. Accepted students receive their tuition fee bills only during the registration process.

More information and certificate to print on this page.