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Old 11.04.2015, 13:13
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Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

I came to Switzerland on a tourist visa and applied for ETH. Hopefully, if I get in, that'll get me a visa to live here in Zurich and to be with my girlfriend while I get my Masters. Even if I don't get in, we're planning to try to get me a visa for studying German.

However, the authorities he in Zurich say I have to leave to get any sort of visa. Previously, when my GF called the offices in her home canton of Basel, they said it was OK to apply directly.

It seems weird that different cantons would have different rules, can anyone clarify what's the actual policy or can tell me what their experiences with this were?

Last edited by khabibul35; 11.04.2015 at 14:32.
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Old 11.04.2015, 13:15
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Re: Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

You should apply at the embassy where you are officially resident and you need to collect your visa from there!
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Old 11.04.2015, 13:22
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Re: Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

Well, that's what Zurich says but not what Basel said.

Also, I'm a duel citizen. Whose to say whether I'm an official resident of the US or Ukraine? If I "move" to Ukraine for a while, can I apply from there? It'd be much easier to apply from Kiev than San Francisco, logisitics-wise.
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Old 11.04.2015, 13:25
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Re: Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

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Well, that's what Zurich says but not what Basel said.

Also, I'm a duel citizen. Whose to say whether I'm an official resident of the US or Ukraine? If I "move" to Ukraine for a while, can I apply from there? It'd be much easier to apply from Kiev than San Francisco, logisitics-wise.
You will be getting a permit in Zurich not Basel if at ETHZ, so what Zürich say matters. If you think they don't mean it have a read of this thread; Need advice....[permit/visa questions]

I don't see why you couldn't apply from Ukraine.
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Old 11.04.2015, 14:09
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Re: Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

Thanks, that thread seems to make it seem quite hard...

My question is then, would it be weird to apply from Ukraine and would the Swiss/Zurich Immigration Department perhaps dislike the fact that I've lived most of my life in the U.S. but am applying from Ukraine on a Ukrainian passport?

Also, since Ukraine has a lower standing (you don't get a free 90-day tourist visa and maybe you're more likely to stay illegally once in, there's a war there, etc.) would the process for some reason take longer?

Lastly, my Ukrainian passport isn't biometric while my U.S. passport is. Would they make a fuss about this?
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Old 11.04.2015, 14:30
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Re: Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

Since you entered as a tourist on your American passport, you may want to try the permit route that way too. It would allow you to request a C-permit after 5 years a little easier than the Ukrainian passport would.

You don't necessarily have to go to San Fran to get the D-visa stamped. Some of our members have gone to France or Germany to get the stamp even though the paperwork originated in the U.S.

We've seen both scenarios here on EF. The majority of folks that tried to get a residence permit while here as a tourist had to either leave the country to apply or at least leave to get the visa stamped. A few have lucked out and managed to get the permit while here, but as I recall those were folks married to (or getting married to) a Swiss or EU citizen.
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Old 11.04.2015, 14:30
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Re: Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

How many girlfriends do you have?
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Old 11.04.2015, 14:40
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Re: Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

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How many girlfriends do you have?
Hahaha, fixed!

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Since you entered as a tourist on your American passport, you may want to try the permit route that way too. It would allow you to request a C-permit after 5 years a little easier than the Ukrainian passport would.

You don't necessarily have to go to San Fran to get the D-visa stamped. Some of our members have gone to France or Germany to get the stamp even though the paperwork originated in the U.S.

We've seen both scenarios here on EF. The majority of folks that tried to get a residence permit while here as a tourist had to either leave the country to apply or at least leave to get the visa stamped. A few have lucked out and managed to get the permit while here, but as I recall those were folks married to (or getting married to) a Swiss or EU citizen.
Sorry, I'm not super versed in this process yet, but hopefully will be soon and will be able to help others.

Anyway, what is the permit route exactly? I don't understand how the paperwork could "originate" in the US without my going there?

I don't mind leaving Switzerland, but the U.S. is far and I'd have to be there for a few months probably if I have to start from zero and then have to wait a while until I get a passport back with the visa in it. Also, I'm a student living in Switzerland with no job, it's already expensive and my GF says she really doesn't want to do long-distance. It's a tough place to be.
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Old 11.04.2015, 14:49
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Re: Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

You are here on a tourist visa? Which is good for a 3 month stay? So you are going to have to leave Switzerland before uni starts in September anyway aren't you?

Why don't you call the Swiss embassy in the US and see if you can send everything for the application by post? Then before September, as you have to leave anyway, you go and get the visa in your passport.

I think your points about US passport vs Ukraine passport are valid and I'd use your US citizenship for application.
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Old 11.04.2015, 14:54
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Re: Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

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Hahaha, fixed!



Sorry, I'm not super versed in this process yet, but hopefully will be soon and will be able to help others.

Anyway, what is the permit route exactly? I don't understand how the paperwork could "originate" in the US without my going there?

I don't mind leaving Switzerland, but the U.S. is far and I'd have to be there for a few months probably if I have to start from zero and then have to wait a while until I get a passport back with the visa in it. Also, I'm a student living in Switzerland with no job, it's already expensive and my GF says she really doesn't want to do long-distance. It's a tough place to be.
Put it this way, you need to have a permit to be able to study here and as a non-EU national you'll need a Type D visa to enter the country for longer than 3 months. If your place of residence outside of Switzerland is the US then that's where you need to go and apply for it.

https://www.ethz.ch/en/studies/inter...sing/visa.html

In either case it will mean you leaving Switzerland and waiting in either the US or Ukraine until the permit/visa is approved - sorry. And if your gf can't stand a few months of long distance romancing then it's unlikely the relationship will last longer term anyway.
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Old 11.04.2015, 14:59
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Re: Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

I am not an expert on student permits, but I see this being a bit of a difficult road for you in the short term. How many of your 90 days have you used up so far?

You've not yet been accepted to ETH, so at the moment you can't even apply for a D-visa and residence permit. So you're still stuck eating up tourist days until you are accepted.

Unfortunately, the odds of you getting accepted and getting all the paperwork done for your permit in 90 days is not fantastic. First-time permits can take 4-12 weeks to process. If I'm reading you correctly, it sounds like you want to live in Basel but study in Zürich, which also adds another wrinkle.

I know it sounds harsh, but you and the girlfriend might have to settle for long-distance for a bit longer. My then-boyfriend (now-husband) and I did it for nearly 2 years (also USA-CH), and we survived.
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Old 11.04.2015, 15:18
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Re: Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

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Unfortunately, the odds of you getting accepted and getting all the paperwork done for your permit in 90 days is not fantastic.
I don't think a permit would be given now for a September course start date anyway! If think you'd get your student permit a week or two before the course start date!
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Old 12.04.2015, 15:57
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Re: Do I really need to leave Switzerland to get my visa?

you have to apply in your country of residence. If you are a tourist here you cannot apply here. And if you try they will realize your intentions and make it harder.
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