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Old 22.07.2019, 20:31
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Student visas

I am over 30 years old, and I would like to pursue a masters in Switzerland. The universities I have spoken with tell me that my age will not be a factor in the admissions process - i.e., they will not exclude me because of my age.


However, on the website of one of the Zurich universities, I read that the migration authorities would only grant a student visa for a person over 30 only with the most compelling of reasons.


So my question. Is the decision on a student visa made at the federal or the cantonal level? If the former, getting a student visa will be extremely difficult anywhere in Switzerland. If the latter, there is the chance that some cantons might have a less rigorous policy. Thanks.
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Old 22.07.2019, 22:12
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Re: Student visas

This seems pretty clear.

"Visa applications from students older than 30 years are normally rejected by the cantonal migration offices! The legal basis can be found here (Migrationsamt des Kantons Zürich; Art. 2.4.3.4.)."

https://ethz.ch/en/studies/internati...sing/visa.html
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Old 23.07.2019, 00:24
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Re: Student visas

Thanks, but is the decision made at the canton or federal level.
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Old 23.07.2019, 00:33
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Re: Student visas

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Thanks, but is the decision made at the canton or federal level.
The ETH page links to a bylaw of Canton Zurich but it actually just repeats the federal guidelines (see here, 5.1.1.5).
All first-time non-EU work and study permits have to be approved both at cantonal and federal levels, so if there even were a canton that wouldn't mind, the permit would be rejected by SEM (the federal immigration office).
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Old 18.08.2019, 13:15
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Re: Student visas

Hi SFRanger,

Did you get visa finally? I am in same situation as yours.
Thanks,
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Old 29.02.2020, 20:21
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Re: Student visas

Well, I finally applied and found out Friday that ETH accepted me. I realize that the migration authorities normally reject someone my age. But "normally" does not mean "always." Does anyone have a strategy or argument that I could make to increase my chances of getting a student visa. Would the fact that I would be paying several thousand francs in wealth tax (whereas the twenty something would pay nothing) make a difference. Thanks..
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Old 29.02.2020, 20:51
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Re: Student visas

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Well, I finally applied and found out Friday that ETH accepted me. I realize that the migration authorities normally reject someone my age. But "normally" does not mean "always." Does anyone have a strategy or argument that I could make to increase my chances of getting a student visa. Would the fact that I would be paying several thousand francs in wealth tax (whereas the twenty something would pay nothing) make a difference. Thanks..
So you're a multi-millionaire? Sure, the Swiss love that

(the table on this page shows with a wealth of 1 million you'd pay tax of 1,945, so when you say "several thousands" I assume your overall wealth is well above 1 million)
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Old 29.02.2020, 21:25
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Re: Student visas

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So you're a multi-millionaire? Sure, the Swiss love that

(the table on this page shows with a wealth of 1 million you'd pay tax of 1,945, so when you say "several thousands" I assume your overall wealth is well above 1 million)
Was wondering the same
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Old 29.02.2020, 22:26
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Re: Student visas

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So you're a multi-millionaire? Sure, the Swiss love that

(the table on this page shows with a wealth of 1 million you'd pay tax of 1,945, so when you say "several thousands" I assume your overall wealth is well above 1 million)
I am not an expert on Swiss taxes, but it is my understanding that you do not need much wealth to reach a liability of several thousands under the wealth tax. The point is, being an older guy, I have had time to develop a nest egg of sorts, something that most 20 somethings have not had time to do.
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Old 29.02.2020, 22:39
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Re: Student visas

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I am not an expert on Swiss taxes, but it is my understanding that you do not need much wealth to reach a liability of several thousands under the wealth tax. The point is, being an older guy, I have had time to develop a nest egg of sorts, something that most 20 somethings have not had time to do.
It certainly doesn't hurt that you have sufficient funds to live here and not just scrape by. At this point I'm not sure there's anything else you can do to influence the process. You might have to let it play out and then appeal. Hopefully someone with more direct experience can shed some light. Good luck and please keep us posted.
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Old 01.03.2020, 07:20
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Re: Student visas

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Well, I finally applied and found out Friday that ETH accepted me. I realize that the migration authorities normally reject someone my age. But "normally" does not mean "always." Does anyone have a strategy or argument that I could make to increase my chances of getting a student visa. Would the fact that I would be paying several thousand francs in wealth tax (whereas the twenty something would pay nothing) make a difference. Thanks..
As a student why would you be obligated to pay wealth tax?
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Old 01.03.2020, 12:13
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Re: Student visas

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As a student why would you be obligated to pay wealth tax?
Students file and pay taxes too as residents of Switzerland, don't they? Wealth tax is part of it, if you have any wealth. Most younger students probably don't have much wealth as they haven't yet worked and saved for a long time.
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Old 01.03.2020, 18:36
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Re: Student visas

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Students file and pay taxes too as residents of Switzerland, don't they? Wealth tax is part of it, if you have any wealth. Most younger students probably don't have much wealth as they haven't yet worked and saved for a long time.
I don't know. But on a student visa/student permit, wouldn't the person be on non-immigrant status, and not considered domiciled in Switzerland? And not allowed to work except for 15 hours a week, and only after completing the first six months of studies...
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Old 20.03.2020, 21:24
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Re: Student visas

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I don't know. But on a student visa/student permit, wouldn't the person be on non-immigrant status, and not considered domiciled in Switzerland? And not allowed to work except for 15 hours a week, and only after completing the first six months of studies...
I do not know. My reading of the Swiss US tax treaty has convinced me that I would have to pay income taxes only on income (if any) earned in Switzerland. The treaty does not seem to apply to wealth taxes. It is my understanding ( which is imperfect here) that anyone in Switzerland for more than 90 days is subject to the wealth tax.
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Old 20.03.2020, 21:34
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Re: Student visas

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I do not know. My reading of the Swiss US tax treaty has convinced me that I would have to pay income taxes only on income (if any) earned in Switzerland. The treaty does not seem to apply to wealth taxes. It is my understanding ( which is imperfect here) that anyone in Switzerland for more than 90 days is subject to the wealth tax.
No, a student permit is considered temporary and as such the domicile for tax purposes of a student permit holder is in their home country i.e. they do not pay taxes (unless they work in Switzerland up to the maximum of 15h/week allowed, where income tax is deducted at source).
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