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Old 28.08.2017, 13:14
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Non-EU student B permit - expiration process?

Hi all! I'm hoping you can help me shed some light on this situation.

I'm a non-EU (American) master's student at ETH Zurich.

Here's a bit of background so you can follow the timing:

I got my first B permit at the beginning of July 2015 but didn't start studying until the Spring semester 2016 because I had to retake the Goethe C1 German test. During that time I enrolled for a semester at Uni Zürich so that there wouldn't be any debate about the legitimacy of my student permit. I also took some required coursework at ETH while enrolled at Uni, so it was a productive semester.
After switching schools, I've been officially studying at ETH now for 3 semesters. What with all the additional requirements (Auflagen) it took a little longer than expected and I will likely end up doing 3 more semesters. That puts me at 3 years total (not counting the uni semester), rather than the normal 2-2.5 (I originally told the Migrationsamt I would be done after 2.5y in summer of 2018). Now I will probably write my thesis in Autumn 2018 and defend it/graduate in Dec/Jan/Feb of 2018/19.

My questions are:

1. Has anyone run into problems with having to extend their studies by a semester? The school says it will be fine because my only limitation on their end is that I have to be done by 2020, but I don't know if the Migrationsamt will feel the same, especially since I already started a semester later than expected.

2. I got my first B permit in July 2015 and have been renewing it every year in July. When I go to get my next one in July 2018 is it valid for a whole year?? Even if I'm done studying in Jan 2019? How does this expiration process play out? (e.g. when would I have to deregister, as compared to when I finish courses/thesis vs. get my diploma, and would that be early spring 2019 or do I have the full B-permit year until July 2019)

3. Regardless of if my July 2018 permit will be valid for a whole year or not, if I want to look for jobs in Switzerland and benefit from the 6 month-long 'graduate looking for work' visa, how challenging is it to get that these days? I can speak German and, while my permit doesn't allow me to get an internship, I have part-time jobs and hope to write my thesis with a company, so I am doing my best to integrate. I also hope that having a master's in my field from ETH will help me prove that I want to contribute something of "economic or scientific importance" to Switzerland. Or, if for some reason it works to stay on my B permit for a full year until July 2019, can I just job search with that?

As you can tell, my long-term plan is to stay in Switzerland. My boyfriend is Swiss we have both decided it would be ideal for us to work for a few years here before settling elsewhere. Although it's very important for us to be in the same country, we are independent and motivated people and would prefer to go around the permit/visa process from an employment angle rather than a marriage angle (if we can!), so I would appreciate any and all advice you have on these trickier student/worker transitions.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 28.08.2017, 15:04
Medea Fleecestealer's Avatar
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Re: Non-EU student B permit - expiration process?

1. It shouldn't be a problem to extend the permit until you graduate.

2-3. Once you graduate your student permit is no longer valid. You either have to arrange to leave the country or, if you want to look for a job here, apply for an L job seekers permit. This may only be for 3 months with another 3 month extension possible to make up the 6 months allowed.
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