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
Under the Swiss-EU Agreement on the free movement of persons and the EFTA Convention, students from an EU/EFTA country 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.
Students and trainees from other countries
Students and trainees from non-EU/EFTA countries 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. 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).
Participation in treatment costs during a stay in Switzerland (for persons domiciled and insured in the EU/EFTA)
Last modification 20.01.2022
Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Health and Accident Insurance Directorate
Section Legal Supervision of Health Insurance
Tel. +41 58 462 21 11