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University of Basel

Guest Researchers & Visiting Scholars

In collaboration with service-units from departments and faculties, the Welcome Center supports guest researchers and visiting scholars before their arrival, during their stay and departure. In the other Welcome sub-chapters you will find comprehensive information relevant for all newcomers. However, in this chapter you find specific aspects relevant for guest researchers & visiting scholars as well as for their hosting units.

General advice & tools

1. The hosting unit is generally in charge of the administrative onboarding. Please, clarify relevant questions well ahead before your arrival (see below).

2. Please, contact the Welcome Center directly (contact sheet or email) in case of specific questions, needs or requirements (e.g. welcome package, welcome briefing or counselling, child care etc.). The Welcome Center does not get automatically informed about the arrival of a guest researcher/visiting scholar (Data protection).


1.    Invitation Letter & Visa Request

The invitation is provided by the hosting unit; while the guest is in charge of pursuing the visa request by himself/herself. Keep in mind that the visa process takes often 4-6 months.

2.    Work Permit

For a lot of research projects a work permit from the authorities is required (Amt für Wirtschaft und Arbeit / AWA in Basel-Stadt resp. Kantonales Amt für Industrie, Gewerbe und Arbeit / KIGA in Baselland), even if the purpose of the stay is not an employment from an university perspective. Numerous aspects could be decisive in these terms, such as the home country of a guest, the purpose and duration of a stay, the infrastructure to be used etc. Nationals of Third-States could be subject to quota-limitations.

The hosting unit is in charge of requesting the work permit (e.g. AWA > online-request with log in). A timely request is important: The processing time is usually 2 months up to 3-4 months in case of non-complete files.

Once AWA resp. KIGA have issued a work permit, the dossier is forwarded to the cantonal Office for Migration in charge for decision. The Migration Office on the other hand is in contact with the Swiss representation where the visa request is pending.

Late or missed work permit requests can harm or even prevent the visa request.

3.    Guesthouse of the University of Basel

The furnished apartments of the University Guesthouses at three central locations are generally aimed at guest researchers (rentals up to max. one year and according to capacities). There are limited capacities for families with one child (with a baby-child: max. three months). Unfortunately, larger families cannot be hosted (yet) due to limited infrastructure of the guesthouses. More convenient facilities also for families are in construction. Rental requests can be directed via hosting unit or directly at the Guesthouse (contact: see web-chapter Guest house). Hint: As the demand is usually higher than the capacities, it is recommended to book as early as possible; later adjustments in terms of rental duration, exact arrival time etc. can be done in most cases at a later stage.

4. Welcome Briefing, Welcome Package, Checkliste etc.

The Welcome Center provides welcome briefing and counselling (topics along Welcome web-chapters) – the accompanying family and partner are hereby also warmly welcome. Please, fix an appointment directly with the Welcome Center. The Welcome package provides information and material in regards of the University of Basel, the city and region of Basel (CH/F/D) as well as Switzerland, taking into account the purpose of your stay.

Alternatively, hosting units can also organize a Welcome package with the Welcome Center. A checklist provides an overview on relevant aspects in chronological order; the Welcome Center is happy to send it by email prior arrival.

5. Guest Card of the University of Basel

A guest card for stays of minimum one semester can be ordered with HR Services by the hosting unit. The request can be found in the section Documents on the Unibas-entry website. The guest pass provides access to university sports, the university library as well as the canteens (at staff-rates).

Solutions are put in place also in case of shorter stays: The information desk at the University Library issues a specific guest card if a Basel address can be provided (e.g. University Guesthouse). The University Sports Services can provide a green sports ID for short-term visitors, provided a hosting unit's confirmation & personal ID.

6. Health Insurance

It is mandatory to buy a health insurance in Switzerland (requiring first the move to the country and the registration at the place of living). Guest researchers and visiting scholars are responsible for taking care; the Welcome Center provides support.

Guest researchers and visiting scholars from EU-/EFTA-states as well as from countries with a similar insurance system (Japan, Australia, North America etc.) can request in certain cases of sufficient coverage by their homeland insurance, an exemption from the obligatory Swiss health insurance, covering health costs, treatments etc. For more information see www.kvg.org > request for exemption online. The Welcome Center provides support.

In case an exemption is not possible, guests have to buy a Swiss health insurance.

7. Insurance at work

a) In addition, it is vital to be insured against any damage and accident at the work place (i.e. at the University of Basel). The University offers an insurance at work for scientic guests via the 'Europäische Reiseversicherung AG (ERV)' which means that all invited academic guests of the University of Basel are automatically insured during their stay, irrespective of the duration. No administrative step is required any longer. For more information contact the hosting unit (Department) or Human Resources. As an additional service the ERV provides insurance confirmations, which could be relevant for the visa-request. If a guest requires such a proof, it can be requested by sending an email to corporate@erv.ch, indicating the full name of the guest, date of birth, duration of stay und location of stay.

b) Furthermore, scientific guests remain covered by the University liability insurance within the university facilties and are hereby covered against damages of third parties.

c) A collective insurance is effective over the entire duration of the stay. It also covers the free time (private activities outside University) of guest researchers.


Context & Outlook

This information is based on experiences from university-units and -departments and has been compiled by the Biozentrum, the Europainstitute, the Department for Biomedical Engineering, the URIS-fellowship programme, the Vice President’s Office for Research, the Human Resources and the International Office.

Additionally, a new ADAM-workspace (see workspace: Welcome Center) provide information for an extensive number of administrative staff in departments/faculties/units. Please, contact the Welcome Center (welcome@unibas.ch) directly in case of interest.

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