Visa / Residence Permit
Important information for international students / doctoral candidates
Prior to matriculation
- Residence permit
If you wish to study in Switzerland as an international student or doctoral candidate, you must hold a valid residence permit.
- Countries requiring visas for Switzerland
Students and doctoral candidates from countries requiring a visa for Switzerland must submit a formal visa application to the nearest Swiss consulate or embassy in their home country. Please ensure that you submit your visa application in good time. The application deadlines are the end of July (fall semester) and mid-December (spring semester). Please note that processing your application will take up to four to six weeks.
- Countries exempt from visa requirements
Students from countries exempt from visa requirements for Switzerland are advised to obtain formal confirmation of their residence permit prior to entering Switzerland (citizens of EU and EFTA member states are not required to submit an application in advance). Please note the following submission deadlines for obtaining confirmation of your residence permit: End of July (fall semester) / mid-December (spring semester). Applications should be sent to:
Justiz- und Sicherheitsdepartement des Kantons Basel-Stadt
Tel. +41 61 267 71 71
Amt für Migration des Kantons Basel-Landschaft
Tel. + 41 61 925 51 61
- Border region
Under the bilateral agreements enacted on 1 June 2002, students and doctoral candidates resident in the border region and holding EU/EFTA citizenship are eligible for residence in Switzerland. Students from the border region who do not intend to take up residence in Switzerland are not required to hold a residence permit. Doctoral candidates taking up gainful employment in Switzerland require a cross-border work permit.
- Erasmus/Swiss-European Mobility Program (SEMP)
SEMP/Erasmus students must provide evidence of sufficient means of subsistence for both semesters as well as proof of matriculation from their home university. SEMP/Erasmus students are also required to register and deregister at the responsible immigration office. Please note that students subject to visa requirements must submit a visa application to the Swiss consulate or embassy in their home country in good time prior to leaving for Switzerland.
- Family members
If you are considering bringing family members to join you in Switzerland, please contact the responsible authorities in good time to discuss the necessary formal arrangements.
- Gainful employment
Students wishing to take up gainful employment (max. 15 hours per week) may apply for the requisite work permit six months after commencing their studies in Switzerland at the earliest. Gainful employment should not delay the attainment of the envisaged academic qualification. (Work permit applications should be submitted by the employer to the responsible immigration office). Permits must be issued prior to students taking up gainful employment. Work permits may be issued to students holding EU/EFTA citizenship at any time and irrespective of the number of hours worked per week.
Doctoral students pursuing remunerated or unremunerated work at university institutes are also required to hold a work permit.
- Required documents
Please note that the following documents must be submitted with your visa application and/or residence permit application:
- Letter of admission from the University of Basel’s Student Administration Office
- Written application containing the following details: reasons for studying in Basel, total duration of the stay in Basel, envisaged academic qualification, future plans and career prospects
- Curriculum vitae
- Proof of sufficient financial resources to cover the cost of living in Switzerland. In lieu of such proof, applicants may also submit a written declaration signed by a solvent individual prepared to cover their expenses in full. This individual must be resident in Switzerland (as a Swiss national or with a residence permit B or C). Other acceptable means of proof include bank statements that show a bank balance of at least CHF 20,000 (in the applicant’s name), written confirmation of a scholarship, or – in the case of doctoral students pursuing gainful employment – an employment contract.
- Written declaration that the applicant will leave Switzerland upon completing or discontinuing his or her studies in the country.
- Required documents
Following matriculation, international students and doctoral candidates must present themselves in person at the responsible cantonal or municipal immigration office. Here is a list of the required documents:
- Passport (visa) and 1 passport photograph (EU/EFTA citizens only)
- Valid University of Basel student ID
- Proof of sufficient financial means
- If applicable, marital status documents (marriage certificate, divorce ruling, family book, etc.)
- Granting of residence permit
Residence permits are issued for a period of max. one year. Students and doctoral candidates are obliged to submit a formal application for the extension of their residence permit in good time. Extensions must be submitted by post (no electronic submissions). Written applications for permit extensions must include a valid original copy of your confirmation of matriculation and a copy of the last transcript of records issued by the University of Basel.
- Subsequent work permit
Please note that international students holding a student residence permit who are subsequently appointed as assistants, doctoral candidates, postdoctoral candidates, or research fellows, etc., must first apply for a work permit to ensure that an existing student residence permit can be converted into a permit that is valid for gainfully employed persons.
- Change of degree course
Students must notify the immigration office with immediate effect of any change of degree program or field of study. Please note that applications for residence permit extensions submitted by non-EU/EFTA citizens who have changed their degree program or field of subject are as a rule not approved.
After exmatriculation / graduation
Residence permits for international students or doctoral candidates expire upon exmatriculation. Students and doctoral candidates are obliged to deregister in person at the responsible immigration office and/or municipal authorities prior to leaving Switzerland (residence permits must be presented). In the Canton of Basel-Stadt, students leaving the country may also deregister in writing or by visiting the following website: