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Old 12.07.2007, 04:35
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Change visa type while in Switzerland?

Dear bloggers,

I am a citizen of Colombia currently working for the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) as Project Manager for Latin America. I work from Colombia, although I spend quite some time in Switzerland attending academic events during the summer. For this, I currently hold an Entretiens D'Affaires visa, and do not require a working or residence permit.

Additionally I have been admitted to a Masters program at ETH commencing on September this year. While Swiss Student visas take from 2 to 3 months to be issued, during the months of July through September I must be in Switzerland for work (I will depart already next week).

1. Can I change my Entretiens D'Affaires visa to a Student visa while in Switzerland?
2. Which authority should I contact for advice on this matter once in Zurich?

I appreciate sincerely any guidance you can provide on these topics.
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  #2  
Old 12.07.2007, 23:59
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Re: Change visa type while in Switzerland?

I presume the period of work you are speaking about is for the ETH. Since they will be your employer, I suggest you contact them for guidance. It is your employer's responsibility to organise any work permits since you are not an EU citizen.
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Old 13.07.2007, 00:22
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Re: Change visa type while in Switzerland?

Thanks for your reply Mark,

I believe I have not made myself entirely clear (and my situation is all bizarre). While in Switzerland for work this summer, I will need to apply for a STUDENT visa, as I will enrol in a Masters programe beggining in september. I do not hold a residence or working permit, only an Entretiens D'Affaires visa.

Can I change from Entretiens D'Affairs to a student visa once in Switzerland?

Once again thanks for the valuable guidance?
In peace,
Fabio.
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  #4  
Old 13.07.2007, 08:14
swissbob
 
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Re: Change visa type while in Switzerland?

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Thanks for your reply Mark,

I believe I have not made myself entirely clear (and my situation is all bizarre). While in Switzerland for work this summer, I will need to apply for a STUDENT visa, as I will enrol in a Masters programe beggining in september. I do not hold a residence or working permit, only an Entretiens D'Affaires visa.

Can I change from Entretiens D'Affairs to a student visa once in Switzerland?

Once again thanks for the valuable guidance?
In peace,
Fabio.
The rules say no - you should apply for the visa from outside of the country.

In practice, though, you will probably be ok but may have to get a stamp from the embassy back in your home country (or at least outside Switzerland).
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Old 14.07.2007, 11:44
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Re: Change visa type while in Switzerland?

Thanks for your reply Swissbob,

I have contacted a few authorities via email and phone, and I would like to share their answers with the forum in case they are useful for someone in a similiar case.

1. As soon as I received the official confirmation of acceptance from
ETH I approached the Swiss Embassy in Bogota to apply for a student
visa. Their answer was that I cannot apply for a student visa in Colombia
because I already have a valid Entretiens D'Affaires Visa.

Because I cannot have two visas at the same time, they would have to
cancel my current visa in order to receive and file my student visa
application (thus I would not be able to enter the country next week). They suggested I did this directly in Switzerland.

2. I wrote an email and called the Federal Office of Migration in
Bern, as well as the Office of Migration for the Zurich Canton to ask if I
could change my visa in Switzerland when I am there next week. Their
answer was negative. I can only apply for a student visa in the Embassy
of Switzerland in
Bogota(OEArr. Art 10 part I SR 142.211).

3. I asked the embassy of Bogota if I could apply for my student visa
when I return from fulfilling my summer commitments, but their reply was negative: the answer for the application for a student visa takes two to three months to be processed. Because the program I was accepted to begins already in September, my application would not be welcomed after I return from Switzerland.

In the light of this, I will continue to try the following options:

a) That the Federal Office of Migration makes an exeption to Art. 10
OEArr. (They are legally entitled to do this).
b) That the Canton Zurich accepts my application while in
Switzerland.
c) That the Embassy in Colombia accepts my application without
cancelling my current visa.
d) That I can commence the semester at ETH later than other students,
and,
e) That ETH reserves my place at the program for next year.

Any other ideas? Except for (e), all the above seem to be quite
unlikely, so the chances that I stay in Switzerland this time are pretty low
at this moment.
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Old 20.07.2007, 16:22
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Re: Change visa type while in Switzerland?

Dear Bloggers,

Greetings from Zurich.
For those of you interested / in a similar situation, here is an update of my case. I have obtained some official replies on my case via email from different offices (some more encouraging than others).

Here is one from the Federal Department of Justice and Police FDJP in Bern:

----------------------------------------------------------------
Dear Sir

Only our Cantons are giving permissions and they are also responsable for the corresponding applications. If you have no possibility to make your application in Bogota, then you do the same with the Migrationsamt des Kantons Zürich including your explanation for that reason.
----------------------------------------------------------------

And here is another from the Migrationsamt des Kantons Zürich

-----------------------------------------------------------------
Referenz-Nr. : 8392098

Sehr geehrter Herr Ventura

Ihre Anfrage vom 13. Juli beantworten wir wie folgt:

Sie sind mit einem Visum eingereist, das lediglich für einen Aufenthalt von
90 Tagen für geschäftliche Besprechungen berechtigt. Gemäss Art. 11 Abs. 3
der Verordnung über die Einreise und Anmeldung von Ausländerinnen und
Ausländern vom 14. Januar 1998 sind Sie an den im Visum festgelegten Reise-
und Aufenthaltszweck gebunden. Bei Ablauf der gemäss Visum bewilligten
Aufenthaltsdauer sind Sie verpflichtet die Schweiz zu verlassen.

Nach erfolgter Ausreise können Sie bei der für Ihren Wohnort zuständigen
schweizerischen Auslandvertretung ein entsprechendes Visum bzw.
Einreisegesuch beantragen und somit den ordentlichen Verfahrensweg
beschreiten.
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Also, my lawyer has adviced me to go there personally and with the support documents from both my work and the university. I will keep you posted.
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  #7  
Old 20.07.2007, 17:18
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Re: Change visa type while in Switzerland?

It should be noted that although have to do your visa paperwork in the country in which you are a resident you don't physically have to show up to do it. It can all be done via mail.
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  #8  
Old 22.06.2009, 11:53
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Re: Change visa type while in Switzerland?

Hi Fabio

I have had many a situation with Swiss embassies where information is crossed and one person says yes while another says no. To avoid the
frustration my advice to everyone is to ALWAYS ask the name of
the person you are talking too. It seems that if you have a reference
you are more likely to find a way to do what you where told you could
do in the first place.

Good luck
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  #9  
Old 22.06.2009, 19:45
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Re: Change visa type while in Switzerland?

Quote:
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Hi Fabio

I have had many a situation with Swiss embassies where information is crossed and one person says yes while another says no. To avoid the
frustration my advice to everyone is to ALWAYS ask the name of
the person you are talking too. It seems that if you have a reference
you are more likely to find a way to do what you where told you could
do in the first place.

Good luck
Fabio was last online in July 2008 .

Your advice is sound though.
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Old 10.10.2009, 02:06
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Re: Change visa type while in Switzerland?

Hi all,

I am about to start my postdoc at EPFL this January but am stuck with closely related above issues of visa.

I was told by the Swiss embassy that my wife will receive a visa (family reunion) which does not permit her to be employed. In order for her to get a work permit she needs to apply individually and present the proper paperwork which includes a letter of invitation.
The problem is that we have two small daughters which will need some time to adjust. My wife has taken on this role but we need her second income to be able to afford the child care costs.
Its not an issue of getting a letter of invitation, she already has offers for postdoc, its just the starting date she cant commit to (might take 2 months, might take 6 for the girls to settle in).
We asked if the visa could be changed during our stay but the answer was negative. This is quite pigheaded in my opinion since the reason for the letter of invitation is to prove you can afford your stay - well wasn't that established when we got the family reunion visa? Wont a second income make things even safer for the authorities?

In any case My wife cannot leave CH just to change her visa, thats simply impossible family wise.
Any ideas on how to approach this problem?
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