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Old 04.06.2008, 00:47
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Studying and Working in CH from Non-EU country

Hi everyone,

I'm coming from the U.S. to study in St Gallen and will be working for my company in our Swiss office. I understand those on Student Visas (SV) are allowed to work as well. I think I will get an L permit (?) to work because the SV only allows you to live . I have heard varying information on whether there is a maximum # of hrs you are allowed to work. Anyone know?

I am a little confused as to how the Student Visa works. I have to get it stamped when I arrive in CH but I am waiting on some documents from Uni St Gallen to hand in with my SV application. They tell me I wont get them until July. But the Swiss authorities, on their website, state the app process could take two months. Am I missing something? Can I enter CH without my SV?

Next question is - Can my company go ahead and apply for the work permit before I get the SV?

Many thanks in advance. I have searched and googled and my HR department is about as clueless as I on this.

-bk
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  #2  
Old 04.06.2008, 04:39
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Re: Studying and Working in CH from Non-EU country

Hi buckkitty

My (limited) understanding from experience is this:

Student visa --> residence permit --> work permit.

The student visa allows you to enter the country, after which you will have to go register at the Kreisburo and a couple (could be up to 3 or 4) months later you will receive your residence permit. You can enter the country as a tourist but it will be a pain to get your residence permit after and generally it is recommended that you don't go this route.

As for working, you will need a separate work permit on top of your residence permit. I don't know how flexible the administration is, but as far as I know you need a residence permit first (so will probably need your visa before then) before applying for the work permit (which can also take a while). The maximum in Zurich (might be different in St. Gallen -- it's a different canton!) is 15 hours per week.

Good luck with your work and studies!
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Old 04.06.2008, 09:22
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Re: Studying and Working in CH from Non-EU country

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I am a little confused as to how the Student Visa works. I have to get it stamped when I arrive in CH but I am waiting on some documents from Uni St Gallen to hand in with my SV application. They tell me I wont get them until July. But the Swiss authorities, on their website, state the app process could take two months. Am I missing something? Can I enter CH without my SV?
The "student" visa is the thing that is pasted in your passport, once you have the acceptance letter from the university and you have filled the proper document. This allows you to enter Switzerland as a student as opposed to a tourist and collect your student residence permit once you are here. The student residence permit allows you in principle to work 15 hours during the semesters, and full-time during the holidays. Be very aware of the fact that you need the approval of the university to be able to work - and the university will not greenlight your work application during the first six months of your stay.

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Next question is - Can my company go ahead and apply for the work permit before I get the SV?
No, it cannot. Or else you do not come here as a student but as an employee.
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Old 04.06.2008, 16:38
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Re: Studying and Working in CH from Non-EU country

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The "student" visa is the thing that is pasted in your passport, once you have the acceptance letter from the university and you have filled the proper document. This allows you to enter Switzerland as a student as opposed to a tourist and collect your student residence permit once you are here.
But the way this is going I wont have the SV by the time I enter CH as one of the documents I need, the Uni claims I cannot get until sometime in July. 6-8 weeks to process the visa would put me well into September. Can I enter first as a tourist and then re-enter as a Student? I'm sorry if these questions seem ridiculous it's just not logical to me.
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Old 04.06.2008, 16:39
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Re: Studying and Working in CH from Non-EU country

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But the way this is going I wont have the SV by the time I enter CH classes even start as one of the documents I need, the Uni claims I cannot get until sometime in July. 6-8 weeks to process the visa would put me well into September. Can I enter first as a tourist and then re-enter as a Student? I'm sorry if these questions seem ridiculous it's just not logical to me.
I'd be extremely surprised if a student visa takes eight weeks to process.
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Old 04.06.2008, 16:53
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Re: Studying and Working in CH from Non-EU country

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I'd be extremely surprised if a student visa takes eight weeks to process.
I mean, I totally agree and I hope you're right, but straight from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs website:

*************
Student Visa
Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
Requirements
  • 3 visa application forms, fully completed and signed by the applicant
  • 3 copies of confirmation/registration letter from the school, university, etc. in Switzerland
  • 3 copies of confirmation of payment of school tuition fees
  • Proof of financial resources, i.e. recent bank statements (3copies each)
  • 3 copies of previous diplomas and school certificates
  • 3 copies of a resume (biographical data, schools attended, etc.)
  • 3 copies of the applicant's passport
  • 3 recent passport pictures
The applicant's request will be forwarded for a decision to the immigration authority where you intend to study, and the Swiss Embassy or Consulates General are only allowed to issue a student visa upon receipt of the authorization. Please note that the procedure takes approx. 6-8 weeks
**************

My attempts to light a fire under the university administration to get this process moving have been futile.
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Old 05.06.2008, 02:11
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Re: Studying and Working in CH from Non-EU country

If you don't mind me askng, what is this document that you need from your school? Is it the confirmation letter? I think it *should* be sufficient just to send a letter to show that you were accepted at that school. This requirement for tuition payment looks new though... I definitely didn't have to pay my tuition until afterwards.

Sorry to be a damper, but it took them over 3 months to give me my Student Visa! I sent all of the things on the list you gave, and then, two months later, they sent me a letter say they've received my Visa application, and needed a list of things (pretty much everything I sent them already! Got billed twice too...but that's another story). I then waited another 5 or 6 weeks before I got my student visa. In fact, amongst my two friends who came with me from Canada, we all waited about 3-4 months. You can try to enter as a tourist and then request to pick up your Visa at another embassy. One of my friends did this and got his at the Paris Embassy. I think there may be consequences though if you're caught studying without the proper documents, though I have no idea who would "catch" you - the baddies at the Kreisburo?
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Old 05.06.2008, 16:38
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Re: Studying and Working in CH from Non-EU country

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If you don't mind me askng, what is this document that you need from your school? Is it the confirmation letter? I think it *should* be sufficient just to send a letter to show that you were accepted at that school. This requirement for tuition payment looks new though... I definitely didn't have to pay my tuition until afterwards.

Sorry to be a damper, but it took them over 3 months to give me my Student Visa! I sent all of the things on the list you gave, and then, two months later, they sent me a letter say they've received my Visa application, and needed a list of things (pretty much everything I sent them already! Got billed twice too...but that's another story). I then waited another 5 or 6 weeks before I got my student visa. In fact, amongst my two friends who came with me from Canada, we all waited about 3-4 months. You can try to enter as a tourist and then request to pick up your Visa at another embassy. One of my friends did this and got his at the Paris Embassy. I think there may be consequences though if you're caught studying without the proper documents, though I have no idea who would "catch" you - the baddies at the Kreisburo?
I am waiting on the Confirm letter but that has already been sent snail mail. What poses a problem is the receipt of payment for tuition. Like you mentioned, this bill does not come until later. I was thinking of submiting the receipt of payment for the application fee along with the confirm letter. Maybe this way, I can get the application process rolling.

I am not surprised that it took you 3-4 mos, although that is very discouraging! I guess I was surprised to learn that the Uni's don't have anything to do with the visa - they basically just tell you to come but dont care "how" you get here. I dont blame them, I suppose, being public, state funded institutions.

Thanks for the info. Its helpful to at least know what to expect
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