STUDENT PERMITS – DO YOU NEED ONE?
SHOULD YOU GET A STUDENT PERMIT?
AND WILL YOU NEED ONE?
Student Permits became something we needed to learn about as soon as the UK left the EU.
That’s because until that date, trainees (and anyone else) could stay in Switzerland as long as they wanted if they held an EU passport.
That’s still true for EU passport holders, as they have no limit to the time they can spend in the Schengen Area.
But British trainees became “Third Nation Nationals” as when Brexit happened, as there wasn’t a new deal to take the place of the old EU-Swiss one.
You could say they fell into a Black Hole – not EU members, but not complete outsiders. And the only legal position was to get treated as Third Nation Nationals.
And that in turn meant they have a maximum of 90 days in the Schengen Area (in a rolling 180 day period). Read more about the way to calculate it here.
SO CAN YOU GET A STUDENT PERMIT?
You can – but you don’t need one for a normal course.
A ten week course is, for example, 71 days. And you can stay in the Schengen Area (which Switzerland is a part of) for 90 days.
So you simply don’t need a permit.
In fact, the Swiss won’t issue one for any educational stay under 90 days long.
But if you take an extended course, which is usually about 100 days, you can apply.
For the purpose we run extended courses with extra shadowing and extra training to help you get to the next level – and fulfil the Student Permit requirements.
WHAT’S THE BENEFIT?
Well, when you are on a Student Permit you are temporarily resident in Switzerland.
That means the whole Schengen 90 days rule (which, yes, gets very confusing) simply doesn’t apply.
The clock is stopped or the duration of the permit.
So whatever you do before or after the course, whilst you’re on the course you don’t have to count days. So you could – for example – stay longer after the course.
BUT THERE’S ONE MASSIVE FACTOR…
We aren’t going to start making any applications for Student Permits yet.
The fact is that by next winter the Swiss and the UK might have a new relationship agreed.
In fact they have already started this process. You can read about it here.
So we might see new rules – in which case, why go through the paperwork and expense if you don’t need to?
SO WHAT NEXT?
We are keeping a very close eye on developments.
And if we get closer to the course start dates and believe that no new agreement will come in and that Student Permits will be needed for some trainees, then we won’t take any risks – we will tell all the trainees and get the ball rolling.
But for now, we think the smart choice is to wait and watch…