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Old 25.07.2015, 22:38
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Non-EU student visa vs. EU spouse reunification


My wife and I will be moving to Zurich this fall. I am a USA citizen and my wife is French. My wife starts a post-doc Oct 1. Through a combination of talking with the consulate, reading this forum, and HR. We have figured out the family reunification process (we think). We also have confirmed with both that there should be no problem even though we are a lesbian married couple.

Our understanding of the process is-
We will go to the Swiss consulate here in San Francisco and apply for a D visa for me. The consulate said if the visa isn't processed by the time we leave that I can enter on a tourist visa, and the USA consulate will transfer my visa to a consulate in France or Germany.
Right now we are only missing a temporary address to apply. (I will post separately about questions regarding this!).

This week I was offered a PhD position at ETH so if I wanted to I could get a student visa instead of getting a visa through EU family reunification.

I was wondering if anyone could answer any of my questions-
1) Which is less restrictive a non-EU student visa or a EU B-permit (gotten through family reunification)?
2) If something happens with my spouses work contract, would it be difficult to go from a EU-B permit to a non-EU student visa?
3) Does anyone have any opinion on the future quotas or political moments that would make one of these more favorable than the other?
4) My understanding is that with my spouses B-permit, I would be able to work and get paid as a PhD student? can anyone confirm this?

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Old 25.07.2015, 22:58
Medea Fleecestealer's Avatar
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Re: Non-EU student visa vs. EU spouse reunification

1. EU family reunification permit.

2. Probably yes as you would have to show you could support both of you if she's no longer working.

3. There are plans being made to limit immigration from the EU countries as per the recent vote by the Swiss public. If it actually happens then getting a permit even as an EU national will become difficult. One of the options being discussed is quota limits which would also apply to family members, which isn't the case at present. So it's better to do it now before the law changes.

4. Doesn't make any difference I don't think. If you get paid as a PhD student you get paid regardless of the permit type. Students are limited to 15 hours a week work-wise.

These may help:



Be warned as an American citizen you're still required to file US tax returns no matter where you live in the world and could owe the US tax on top of Swiss ones. Any bank account you open you will need to sign a W-9 form for so the bank can pass the account info on to the IRS. You will also need to report any account/s with an aggregate total of over $10,000 at any time of the year on a FBAR form. So keep your accounts totally separate from your wife's otherwise hers will have to be reported too and she would also have to sign a W-9.

Start your research here:

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