Health insurance: Foreign students in Switzerland

Foreign students can request exemption from Swiss compulsory health insurance provided they have a policy offering equivalent cover. The exemption rules for students from EU/EFTA countries are different from those for other countries.

EU/EFTA students

In accordance with the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons with the EU (AFMP) and the EFTA Convention, students from an EU/EFTA country residing in Switzerland to attend a course of study are not required to take out Swiss health insurance provided they are not in gainful employment and thus remain insured by the social security system in their country of domicile. They are entitled to receive medical treatment in Switzerland on presentation of their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). However, should they enter gainful employment, the principle of health insurance at the place of work requires that they take out Swiss health insurance.

Students and trainees from other countries

Students and trainees from non EU/EFTA countries residing in Switzerland for study purposes can request exemption from compulsory Swiss health insurance provided that they have private cover equivalent to that provided under a Swiss policy. An initial exemption of three years can be granted, which can be extended for a maximum of another three years. Thereafter, they are required to take out health insurance in Switzerland.

Students taking out Swiss health insurance

Students subject to the compulsory Swiss health insurance requirement must take out cover with an approved Swiss insurer. This makes them subject to the rules applicable to persons domiciled in Switzerland (see below : insurance requirement, premiums and cost participation, premium reductions).

Last modification 04.07.2018

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Health and Accident Insurance Directorate
Section Legal Supervision of Health Insurance
Schwarzenburgstrasse 157
3003 Berne
Tel. +41 58 462 21 11

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