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Practical informations

A study-abroad period in Switzerland calls for preparation, not only in terms of visas and residence permits, but also in terms of insurances, housing, and day-to-day life in general.

Below, you will find a few topics that cover the most frequently asked questions.

The International Relations offices of the various HES-SO schools are available to provide you with further information and to advise you in the procedures to follow before and after your placement. A PDF-format contact list for these offices can be found linked on the right-hand side of this page.

 

Visa
Nationals of European Union or European Free Trade Area (EU/EFTA) countries

Nationals of EU or EFTA countries do not need a visa.

Nationals of Non-European Union or European Free Trade Area (EU/EFTA) countries

First, it is important to check if a visa is required. Students for whom visas are mandatory will need to apply for visas approximately 4 months before their placement in Switzerland. This is done through the Swiss representation office  closest to their residence in their home country.

 

Residence permit

Upon arrival in Switzerland, all new students must register with the Office cantonal de la population (cantonal population office) or with the relevant cantonal service within 14 days of arrival to request a residence permit.

It takes a few weeks for the permit to be issued.

For more information regarding residence permits, please contact the appropriate office in the canton in which you will be living:

Fribourg
Service cantonal de la population et des migrants

Genève
Office cantonal de la population

Jura
Service de la population

Neuchâtel
Service des étrangers

Valais
Service de l’état civil et des étrangers

Vaud
Service de la population



Health insurance

Registration with a health insurance provider is mandatory for students wishing to spend more than three months in Switzerland. There are, however, differences, according to country of citizenship:

Nationals of European Union or European Free Trade Area (EU/EFTA) countries

For nationals of one these countries, there are three solutions:

  • To hold a valid “European Health Card” enabling the exemption from the compulsory insurance through the bilateral agreements between Switzerland and the European Union (excluding Bulgaria and Romania).
    Further information:
  • To have health insurance coverage that is equivalent to Swiss health insurance. A request for exemption from mandatory insurance must nevertheless be made with the relevant cantonal authority.
    Further information:
  • To be affiliated with a Swiss health insurance provider. Certain HES-SO schools have special arrangements for exchange students. Please contact your host school’s International Relations office for any questions in this regard.
Nationals of Non-European Union or European Free Trade Area (EU/EFTA) countries 

For nationals of one of these countries, there is only one option: to register with a Swiss health insurance provider.

Certain HES-SO schools have special arrangements for exchange students.

Please contact your host school’s International Relations office for any questions in this regard.

 

Third-party liability insurance

Third-party liability insurance insures against all material or bodily harm caused to a third-party. While not mandatory, it is highly recommended that you obtain this coverage.

It is worth noting that most landlords require proof of third-party insurance from their tenants.

For internships: Please check with your employer if third-party insurance is included in your contract.

Housing

In general, housing is rather expensive in Switzerland. Prices vary greatly, however, depending on the area.

Each HES-SO school’s International Relations office can help you find housing, either through a list of addresses, or because they rent or own housing.

For more information, please contact the International Relations office of your host school.

Public transport
Switzerland has a very good public transport network, whether you travel by train, bus, tram or boat. It is therefore possible to go without having a car during your stay in Switzerland and to get around solely by public transport.

Internet sites for the main Swiss public transport services:

Every city has public transport. For more information, please contact the International Relations office of your host school, or refer to its website.

Cost of living

The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss franc, although many shops do accept euros.

The average cost of living in Switzerland is higher than it is in its neighbouring European countries.

For basic expenses such as food, housing, and public transport, students will need about CHF 1,500.- per month.

Contact
HES-SO Rectorate
Route de Moutier 14
2800 - Delémont
T +41 58 900 00 00 - F +41 58 900 00 01