Visas and residence permits
There are a number of regulations governing the right to reside in Canton Ticino. Foreign students who plan to enrol on an educational programme in Ticino must follow the general procedures given here below.

Any query regarding visas or residence permits must be addressed to the Ufficio della Sezione della popolazione del Canton Ticino (Canton Ticino Population Section Office).

Students from EU/EFTA Countries

Students who are citizens of EU/EFTA Countries and who wish to stay in Switzerland for their studies must apply to the inhabitants control office of their host Municipality for permission to reside for study purposes, and register their presence.

Applications must be forwarded to the Servizio regionale degli stranieri (Regional Foreigners’ Service) of the city in which the student wishes to live.

Residence permits are usually issued only for the period of time scheduled for the study programme, and, depending on the circumstances, are extended on an annual basis.

Students from other Countries (non-EU/EFTA)

Applicants from other Countries (non EU-EFTA) must first undergo preliminary checks regarding their eligibility for the course, and pass any competitive and/or ability examinations that may be required. Matriculation then depends on the permit of stay being issued by the appropriate Cantonal and Federal Authorities.

Foreigners who are required to obtain a visa must make a visa application to the Swiss Consular representation abroad that has jurisdiction for their place of domicile. The visa application form is issued free of charge by this representation office abroad. It must be accompanied by the travel document, and, if requested, by further documentation testifying the reason for the journey.

For administrative reasons, applications to SUPSI must be made by 15 April, while applications to the Cantonal Authorities for foreigners, together with the required documents, must be received by the SUPSI Executive by 30 June.

Matriculation remains provisional until the applicant presents a copy of the residence certificate obtained, and becomes final only once this document has been received.

Should applicants be required to undergo selection tests conducted well before the course start date, the appropriate Swiss representation office abroad will usually issues a short-term entry visa for study purposes, allowing applicants to sit this examination. For further information, click here.

Cross border students

Students who return to their domiciles abroad every day are no longer issued with an “Attestazione per stranieri residenti nella zona di frontiera" (Certificate for Foreigners Residing in Border Zones).

They can therefore attend public or private educational insitutios in Canton Ticino without obtaining specific authorisation from the Migration Office.