Living in Switzerland

UK/EU citizens do not require a visa to study in Switzerland. You can work for up to 15 hours per week in Switzerland if you have an EU/EEA passport and have registered with your local authorities.

Cost of Living

In most areas of Switzerland, the cost of living is cheaper than London, although some items, such as food, are on average more expensive than elsewhere in Europe. However, that hardly makes Switzerland a cheap destination. The Swiss government estimates monthly expenses for students to be somewhere between 1,500 CHF and 2,500 CHF (£1,000-£1,700).

Living expenses depend very much on the individual student. These figures should therefore be regarded as a guideline only:

Rent incl. heating 690 CHF
Additional expenses (telephone, internet, Billag [TV and radio license fees]) 140 CHF
Meals 450 CHF
Health insurance, insurance 100 CHF
Travel 95 CHF
Clothing, laundry, personal items 100 CHF
Leisure, spending money 150 CHF
Study materials 120 CHF
Total 2,000 CHF (£1390)

(Source: Student financial aid office:

On Arrival

You need to register with the local authorities (Einwohnerkontrolle, Residents' Registration Office) within 14 days of entering Switzerland.

The following documents are required:

  • Personal application for residence permit
  • Valid passport or identity card
  • Proof of registration at the university
  • Evidence of sufficient funds (bank certificate or certified document)
  • proof of address at place of residence
  • 2 passport-size photographs


It is unusual for Swiss universities to be able to provide you with their own housing. In Zurich, for example, none of the universities has their own accommodation for students.

The Housing Office of University / ETH Zurich issues an overview of useful addresses, if you’re looking for reasonably priced accommodation as well as accommodation at short notice.

Many universities also warn that scammers operate in the rental market so pay careful attention when negotiating with rental agents. This is a problem in many countries but it is not often that universities feel the need to mention it on their own pages.


Switzerland has a compulsory health insurance system that guarantees access to a range of quality medical care services and appropriate medical treatment to all people living in Switzerland. Every person living in Switzerland for more than three months, including international students, must have basic health insurance coverage.

Students from an EU state who are legally insured in their home country can apply for exemption from this obligation by using the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC for up to one year for British nationals) or a provisional certificate issued by the health insurance company in your home country.