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Old 18.07.2012, 12:54
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Switching from tourist entry to student visa

Hey everyone:

This question may have been answered before, but I couldn't find the answer while browsing through the forum, so I'm going to go ahead and ask anyway. I am going to be starting a master's program in Geneva in late August, and I applied for my student visa in early May. I called the OCP today and learned that they had not even begun to consider my application yet (despite assurances from the Swiss consulate in New York City that my application was being processed). The person on the phone told me that they would process my application within 7-10 days and then let me know the result, but even if they do it within that time frame, I will be getting close to my departure date with no student visa.

The question, then, is this: can I enter Switzerland as a regular US citizen (with no visa at all) and then get my student visa while in Geneva? Will I be allowed to enroll in my master's program without a student visa if my visa is still being processed?

Thanks!
Adam
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Old 18.07.2012, 13:43
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Re: Switching from tourist entry to student visa

Hi Adam,

From my own experience (in France), your student visa can not be issued if you are within the borders of the country. So you will be asked to go back to your country of residence and obtain a visa from the closest consulate. However, if I remember right you can enroll for the master's program without a problem. However, again you will not be authorized to register to the kreisburo.


cheers
Pinar
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Old 20.07.2012, 10:13
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Re: Switching from tourist entry to student visa

Hey there,

My course starts early September and I submitted my application in Mid-May. I think the prospective travel date factors in, as in they deal with the application in terms of urgency, which probably means you might get your visa very close to you flight date. I any case, please inform us once you get your visa.
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Old 02.08.2012, 14:28
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Re: Switching from tourist entry to student visa

Even though you can get the student visa within Switzerland, I believe you still need to leave Schengen area and re-enter the country with a valid student visa.
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Old 02.08.2012, 15:58
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Re: Switching from tourist entry to student visa

See, when your visa is ready you'll have to ship out your passport to the consulate so they can put it in there. Then they'll ship it out back to your home address for you to pick up. If your in Switzerland, this leads to the "awkward" situation that you'll be passport-less for a little while as you wait for your parents to send your passport back.

After that's done, you'll have to leave the country, if not Schengen, and reenter on your student visa.

Will your uni allow you to study without your student visa, most likely yes. The universities don't care here about beaurocracy outside of their own. The issue though, it is illegal to study without a student visa. That's what the government says, and that's where it counts.

As for getting the passport back. When you send it off, you can request that it gets forwarded to another consulate outside of Switzerland. So theoretically you could send it from Geneva back to DC or where-ever your consulate was, and have it sent back to Paris. Which is only a 3 hour TGV away and not too pricey for pick up.
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