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Old 11.09.2011, 22:49
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Studying "under the table" - update

Hey all, Canadian citizen studying in Zurich here.
Just wanted to update on travelling to Switzerland while student visa is being processed. So far, there have been no problems.

I entered Switzerland 2 weeks ago. Shortly afterwards, the Swiss consulate in Montreal e-mailed me and informed me that my visa was ready (after a very short processing time! This was only 3-4 weeks after submitting my student visa application. Super impressed.)

They requested I come by and pick up the visa in person. I explained that I was already in Switzerland, and could they please send the visa to Stuttgart, Germany? They replied with something to the effect of "well, normally it's not done that way, but sure. Though you'll need to send an e-mail to the consulate in Stuttgart and explain why you're already in Switzerland, and they'll need to approve it first."

This I did gladly, with a formal e-mail explaining that the University of Zurich didn't get around to formally approving my autumn admission until Aug. 24, and I couldn't wait until then to arrive here. This explanation was apparently received favorably, as my visa is now waiting for me in Stuttgart. I'll pick it up this week, before the start of classes on the 19th.


Thus far the only disadvantage of having arrived here early is that I was already here by the time the university informed me of everything I would need for matriculation/registration. As a result, the necessary documents (i.e. ORIGINAL bachelors degrees and high school diploma) were left in Canada. Happily, after arguing with several different secretaries, I convinced them that these documents aren't needed, since the uni already has notarized copies from my initial application.
As for the visa, they didn't need to see it. As expected, they don't seem to care the least bit about it.

Has anyone else had a similarly positive (or contrastingly negative) student visa experience?

Best of luck to all other foreign students here in Switzerland!
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Old 17.11.2011, 10:54
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Re: Studying "under the table" - update

Hey that's awesome to hear. I sent mine on the 23rd of Sept.

Got an email 2 weeks ago saying that it was being held due to me not having a place at the moment (I explained that I was too stay at a hotel/hostel for the first 2 weeks as suggested by the Toronto and Montreal Consulates) sent a few emails to ask if it was completely necessary to have a place before I arrive and showed sufficient proof of income that I'd support myself in Bern. Butttt, I haven't been able to contact the police woman who emailed me by email or phone (every day I've been phoning).

So this week I started talking to people about getting an apartment. So far I have a couple leads that I'll know for sure next week.

All in all I'm kinda nervous now about it. I was hoping for a more positive response by now and I haven't been able to contact the woman from the Fachangestellte Fremdenpolizei, SpezD despite repeated efforts. Crossing fingers.

I was active in that discussion and I'm happy to see that you made it through without issues!
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Old 17.11.2011, 11:36
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Re: Studying "under the table" - update

Glad to hear it has gone fairly smoothly.

I don't know if this is the case in general, but as another Canadian, I can say that we do seem to have some privileges that other nationalities do not, when it comes to Swiss regulation...for example with driving permits, degree recognition, etc.

Living in Switzerland, has made me so much more thankful to be Canadian, to appreciate our country's reputation (despite it's inherent flaws and growing pains).
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Old 17.11.2011, 11:52
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Re: Studying "under the table" - update

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Living in Switzerland, has made me so much more thankful to be Canadian, to appreciate our country's reputation (despite it's inherent flaws and growing pains).
It helps if you can play hockey, they like to import the finest for their own league.

Actually, the similarities are obvious. The outdoors life, kind of similar relief and seasons, a couple of national languages. Switzerland is almost like a mini-Canadian-province, which is why I guess I'm here and lovin' it.
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Old 17.11.2011, 15:01
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Re: Studying "under the table" - update

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It helps if you can play hockey, they like to import the finest for their own league.

Actually, the similarities are obvious. The outdoors life, kind of similar relief and seasons, a couple of national languages. Switzerland is almost like a mini-Canadian-province, which is why I guess I'm here and lovin' it.
Canada is to the US as Switzerland is to Germany
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Old 03.09.2012, 12:30
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Re: Studying "under the table" - update

Dear all,
Here is a final update.

I've been studying in Switzerland for the past year and everything has gone 100% smoothly.

I picked up my student visa in Stuttgart, then registered as an inhabitant at my local town hall, and finally registered my visa at the cantonal migration office. It may have helped that I had my visa before I registered anywhere.

Some people have proposed that coming to Switzerland before the visa was ready was a risk. If it was, I didn't run into any repercussions whatsoever. At any rate, I still can't find any concrete evidence that it's illegal to be here while the visa's being processed. I think people are getting mixed up because it's illegal to RECEIVE the visa from within the country - you do have to leave Switzerland to pick it up. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to go all the way back to your home country! If your embassy/consulate agrees, you can have them send it to Germany or France.

However, as some have mentioned, the experiences may differ depending on the student's country of origin, 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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