Visa Information

Swiss Visa Information for Students

What is a visa?

A visa is passport stamp or document that authorizes the passport holder to enter a country for a specific purpose and particular period of time. Every country has different visa policies and arrangements with every other country. Different types of visas are available for different purposes; common types include tourist visas, student visas, or business visas. Different visas last for different durations of time. Visas are issued through the embassy or consulate of the appropriate host country. The process is extensive and can take up to eight weeks (or more) to receive your visa. To avoid early expiration, the consulate will issue your visa no more than 90 days prior to your program's departure.

Do I need a visa?

Academic Year, Fall Only and Spring Only Programs:

  • U.S. passport holders attending fall, spring or academic year programs are required to obtain a visa before arrival in Lausanne.
  • If you are a non-U.S. passport holder, find your home country on this list and look to the fourth column ("Visa required for stays of more than 90 days") to determine if you will need a visa.

Summer Programs:

  • U.S. passport holders attending summer programs are not required to obtain a visa before arrival in Lausanne. You will enter as a tourist and remain in the country for less than 90 days.
  • If you are a non-U.S. passport holder, find your home country on this list and look to the fourth column ("Visa required for stays of more than 90 days") to determine if you will need a visa.

How do I obtain a visa?

Academic Year, Fall Only and Spring Only Programs:

Step 1: Ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months past your return date. Your passport should be signed and have blank pages available. More information on passports is available here.

Step 2: Attend the Mandatory Preparation & Visa Workshop for your Program:

Lausanne Spring Only 2019 Mandatory Preparation & Visa Workshop
September 12, 2018
8 AM - 9:30 AM
PLC 153 (Pendleton Learning Center 153)

Lausanne Academic Year 2019-2020 & Fall Only 2019 Mandatory Preparation & Visa Workshop
March 20, 2019
8 AM - 9:30 AM
Elkins Auditorium

Lausanne Spring Only 2020 Mandatory Preparation & Visa Workshop
Date, Time and Location TBD - check back in summer 2019

  • Non-U.S. Passport Holders and students who will be traveling internationally within 90 days prior to their departure should follow up with Beverly Cawyer and schedule additional meetings if necessary to ensure you understand your unique requirements.
  • Students who fail to attend their visa workshop are at risk of removal from their program and will be responsible for all eligible withdrawal fees.

Step 3: Gather your Visa Materials

  • Please refer to the Lausanne Visa Manual and/or the Workshop slides for detailed instructions on the visa application process (below). Note that this information is accurate for U.S. passport holders only. International students are responsible for researching the visa requirements for their country and obtaining any necessary visas or permits.

Lausanne Visa Manuals & Workshop Slides:

  • Spring 2019 Lausanne Visa Manual
  • Spring 2019 Lausanne Visa Workshop Slides (will be posted after workshop)
  • Academic Year & Fall Only 2019 Lausanne Visa Manual (coming soon)
  • Academic Year & Fall Only 2019 Lausanne Visa Workshop Slides (will be posted after workshop)
  • Spring 2020 Lausanne Visa Manual (coming summer 2019)
  • Spring 2020 Lausanne Visa Workshop Slides (will be posted after workshop in Fall 2019)

Blank Forms and Sample Materials:

Step 4: Submit Your Materials to the International Programs Office

  • After your visa workshop, you will have the opportunity to make a Visa Materials Submission Appointment with Beverly Cawyer. Please sign up for a time within the dates indicated below. At your appointment, your application and materials will be checked for accuracy. All materials are due at this time, including your original passport.

Spring Only 2019 Visa Materials Submission Dates:

October 10, 2018 - October 12, 2018
Click Here to Make an Appointment with Beverly Cawyer.

Academic Year 2019 & Fall Only 2019 Visa Materials Submission Dates:

April 15, 2019 - April 19, 2019
Click Here to Make an Appointment with Beverly Cawyer.

Spring Only 2020 Visa Materials Submission Dates:

TBD (check back in summer 2019)
Click Here to Make an Appointment with Beverly Cawyer.

  • After you have submitted your items, the International Programs Office will submit your materials and passport to the Swiss Consulate for processing. When your visa has been approved, IP will mail your passport back to you with your Swiss visa inside.
  • Note: If you will be traveling internationally in the 90 days prior to your departure, you will need to submit your visa materials to the Italian consulate independently. Please see below for more information.

Helpful Links and Information:

Information for Students Completing the Visa Process Independently:

The majority of students should participate in IP's Swiss Visa Processing. However, some students may choose to do the process independently if they are traveling internationally in the 90 days prior to their departure, and therefore require their passport during that time. International students traveling to their home country within 90 days prior to their departure may also need to complete the process independently.

The state of your permanent residence (likely parents' home) or Pepperdine if you are on campus at the time of your application will determine which consulate will accept and process your application. For U.S. passport holders, please see the list of consulates and their "jurisdiction" here to determine where you can apply. Please follow the link to the consulate's website to find information about the process, required documents, and processing time for a National/Long Stay Visa.

For non-U.S. passport holders in your home country, please refer to the consulate's website in that country for more information.

Please first determine if you must attend an in-person appointment, and, if so, if you must schedule this appointment ahead of time. If you do not need an appointment, you can likely mail your documents in.

Please give yourself plenty of time to prepare, apply, and receive your visa. The San Francisco consulate, for example, can process a visa in 8 to 10 weeks.

The IP Office will provide an Entry Letter, which will state that you have suitable lodging for your entire stay, information about the courses you will be attending, and state that you will be attending Pepperdine's campus, all of which are usually listed separately on the documentation requirements.

If you are on the group flight, the IP Office can also provide your itinerary.

Summer Students

Note: U.S. passport holders attending summer programs are not required to obtain a visa before arrival in Lausanne. You will enter as a tourist and remain in the country for less than 90 days.

If you are a non-U.S. passport holder, find your home country on this list and look to the third column ("Visa required for stays of up to 90 days") to determine if you will need a visa.

Step 1: Ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months past your return date. Your passport should be signed and have blank pages available. More information on passports is available here.

Step 2: Contact the Swiss consulate in your country for detailed information on requirements and processing time. For U.S. passport holders, please see the list of consulates and their "jurisdiction" here to determine where you can apply. Please follow the link to the consulate's website to find information about the process, required documents, and processing time for a Schengen visa.

  • For non-U.S. passport holders in your home country, please refer to the consulate's website in that country for more information.
  • If you need additional assistance understanding the materials required and planning your visa timeline, please contact Beverly Cawyer.

Step 3: Make an Appointment at the Swiss Consulate.

  • Please note: Non-U.S. passport holders requesting short-term visas are frequently asked to appear in person at the Swiss Consulate in San Francisco. Please be prepared to travel to San Francisco if needed.
  • Please note that appointments can fill up months in advance, so you should make your appointment right away. If no appointments are available within your desired time frame, consider using a visa expeditor such as A Briggs, applying at a different consulate (if allowed, check with the consulate first), or continuing to call your consulate of choice to check for openings. If you cannot get an appointment within the recommended time frame, please contact the IP Office immediately.

Step 4: Gather your Visa Materials.

  • Please refer to the Visa Manual for Non-U.S. Passport Holders for detailed instructions on the visa application requirements. Note that this information may differ depending on your country of origin and changes frequently. Students should always contact the Italian consulate in their home country to validate information.
  • The IP Office will provide an Entry Letter, which will state that you have suitable lodging for your entire stay, information about the courses you will be attending, and state that you will be attending Pepperdine's campus, all of which are usually listed separately on the documentation requirements.
  • The IP Office can also provide proof of health insurance. To request this, students should email Beverly Cawyer and include the following information:
    • STUDENT'S NAME:
    • GENDER:
    • DATE OF BIRTH (month/day/year):
    • COUNTRY OF TRAVEL:
    • DATES OF TRAVEL:
    • LIST ANY SPECIFIC COVERAGE INFORMATION NEEDED:

Step 5: Attend your Visa application appointment.

  • Be sure to follow instructions provided by the consulate and bring all of your materials, including your original passport, with you. Be prepared to surrender your passport for a period of time to allow time for visa processing (processing times differ by consulate). Be prepared to pay a visa fee and check the consulate's website for the most up-to-date fees and acceptable payment methods.

Step 6: Collect your v\Visa.

  • At your initial appointment, the consulate will tell you when to return to the consulate to pick up your passport and visa. They may also be able to mail your passport back to you. When you pick up or receive your visa, check the dates and visa type for accuracy right away. Then submit a photo or scan of your Swiss visa to the International Programs Office.

Helpful Links: