Foreign students can apply for exemption from Swiss compulsory health insurance, provided that they have a policy offering equivalent cover. The exemption rules for students from EU/EFTA countries are different from those for other countries.
Students from EU/EFTA countries or United Kingdom (UK)
Under the Swiss-EU Agreement on the free movement of persons, the EFTA Convention and the new social security Agreement with the United Kingdom, students from EU/EFTA/UK undergoing education or training in Switzerland are not required to take out Swiss health insurance, provided that they are not working and thus remain insured under the social security system of their country of residence. They are entitled to receive medical treatment in Switzerland upon presentation of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). However, if they start working, they are required to take out Swiss health insurance (place-of-work principle).
Students that have private insurance can apply for exemption if their cover is equivalent. The application should be made to the responsible cantonal authority. For more information, please contact the authority responsible for your canton of your whereabouts directly (see the list of cantonal authorities below).
Students and trainees from other countries
Students and trainees from a country outside EU/EFTA/UK undergoing education or training in Switzerland can apply for exemption from Swiss compulsory health insurance, provided that they have private insurance offering cover equivalent to that of a Swiss health insurer. The application should be made to the responsible cantonal authority (see the list of cantonal authorities below). They can be exempted for a period of three years; this can be extended for another three years. Thereafter, they are required to take out health insurance in Switzerland.
Students taking out Swiss health insurance
Students who are subject to compulsory health insurance must obtain cover from an authorised Swiss health insurer. They are then subject to the same rules as persons resident in Switzerland (see below: compulsory health insurance, premiums, co-payment, premium subsidies).
Last modification 06.07.2023