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Old 03.09.2012, 13:32
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Re: Studying "under the table"

Hi all,
Just thought I'd post a final update.

To recap: I came here as a tourist and got my visa later. I've been studying in Switzerland for the past year and everything has gone 100% smoothly.

As it turned out, my visa was processed so quickly that I didn't have to attend classes before I received it. (Granted, since I was completely lost, it took me until October just to figure out how to sign up for a class. sigh.)

But anyway, here's how the whole thing went down:

1. While my visa was being processed, I entered the country as a tourist. For all legal intents and purposes, this was true (and having looked at the articles, I'm still not convinced there's anything illegal about it).

2. I stayed with my boyfriend's family while the visa was being processed. Because I was still legally a tourist, I didn't yet have to register as an inhabitant at any town hall. I was able to stay with my boyfriend's family until the visa was ready.

3. The consulate in Montreal approved my visa within 3 weeks. They agreed to forward it to Stuttgart, Germany, for issuing. But they also told me I would have to send an e-mail to Stuttgart to explain what the heck I was already doing in Switzerland. I did this, and explained the truth. They replied that it was fine, and agreed to issue it to me.
I took a train to Stuttgart, presented my passport at their Swiss consulate, and hung out there for an afternoon while they processed the visa.
I took a rideshare back to Switzerland. No one asked to see our passports, either on the trip there or back, since the borders are almost never controlled anymore. But still pretty sure I didn't do anything illegal, anyway.

4. With student visa in hand, I found an apartment via JUWO and registered at the local Gemeindebüro, and then at the cantonal migration office. Yayyy, big processing fees!

5. I registered successfully at the University of Zurich, and received my student card. They didn't want to see my visa, even though I offered it. By this time it was late September, and some classes had already started, but as I soon discovered, new classes (i.e. Blockkurse) begin every month, so it didn't matter that I was late.


WARNING
The only snag: since I'd rushed off to Switzerland, I didn't find out until too late that the uni needed my original degrees and high school diploma for registration. This was upsetting since I'd already gone through hell to get the damn things copied and notarized for the application. I told them as much, and after much e-mail/telephone hassle, they finally agreed that the copies were acceptable. But if I could do it all again, I would just bring the originals.



Some have speculated that coming to Switzerland before the visa's ready is a risk. If so, I didn't run into any legal difficulties whatsoever.

However, as some have mentioned, the experiences may differ depending on the student's country of origin, or maybe on luck too, so I can't speak for everyone. At any rate, if there are other Canadian students biting their nails because the semester is approaching quickly but they don't have their visa in their hands yet... just take a deep breath and know you've got options!

Good luck to all,

Juliet
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  #42  
Old 03.09.2012, 13:43
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Re: Studying "under the table"

Great to hear it all worked well Juliet
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Old 03.09.2012, 15:38
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Re: Studying "under the table"

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Some have speculated that coming to Switzerland before the visa's ready is a risk. If so, I didn't run into any legal difficulties whatsoever.
Doing anything against the legal prescriptions is a risk (and that isn't speculation).

Using your reasoning one could assert that drunk driving isn't a risk simply because one hasn't run into legal difficulties owing to a misfortunate breathalyser check.
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