Arrival in St.Gallen

Discover the city and region of St.Gallen

Entry and finding accommodation

Foreign nationals who stay in Switzerland for longer than three months require a residence permit. If you are not a citizen of an EU or EFTA member state, you must apply for a residence permit before you enter the country. EU and EFTA nationals can also submit the application after entering Switzerland. If you will be living in the canton of St.Gallen, you can check the information sheets of the Migration Office of the canton of St.Gallen to see which documents you need to submit.

If you come from a country outside the EU or EFTA, it depends on your nationality whether you need a visa: Overview of passport and visa regulations.

If you have any questions about your residence permit, you can contact the Dean's Advisory Office (Assessment, Bachelor and Master), the PhD Office (Doctorate) or Student Mobility Services (visiting students) at any time.

Entry: If you are arriving in Switzerland from abroad, you must register in person with the local community services (Gemeinde) within 14 days of your arrival.

Relocation: If you already live in Switzerland, you must also register your move with the Residents' Registration Office of your new municipality within 14 days.

A fine will be imposed for late registration or relocation. 

Please contact your municipality of residence to find out which documents are required for registration in addition to your identity card, tenancy agreement and health insurance card. 

If you are moving to the city of St.Gallen, you will find detailed information on this website.

St.Gallen has a wide range of flats and shared rooms to offer. In the Facebook group Sharing is Caring, on the SHSG marketplace as well as on Flatfox, and other portals, you will regularly find flats and shared rooms advertised. Please note that the Housing Service of the University of St.Gallen only offers furnished rooms to incoming students.

When looking for a flat, you should have the following documents ready, provided you have them:

  • Copy of your residence permit and personal ID
  • Copy of your employment contract
  • excerpt from the debt collection registry

It is also common for the landlord to ask for a security deposit of up to three months' rent. Usually, the landlord opens a Swiss bank account in the tenant’s name into which the deposit is paid. The deposit amount remains blocked for both the landlord and the tenant until the tenancy is terminated.

In some cases, landlords also require a personal liability and household insurance.

If you encounter any legal uncertainties when concluding a rental agreement, you can contact the Municipal Housing Office (only in German) for free legal advice.


You have to submit your application to the Swiss representative office. You need to apply for a national D-type visa to study in Switzerland. Ask the Swiss representative office in good time which documents and proof are required for a visa application. Prepare the visa application very carefully. A missing document or one that is not submitted properly may lead to week-long delays. You will be notified as soon as your visa is ready for collection at the Swiss representative office.

They will forward the application to the Swiss cantonal migration office. If you indicate the Canton of St.Gallen as your future place of residence, your visa application will be processed by the Migration Office of the Canton of St.Gallen. Should there be any unexplained delays, we can try to obtain information on the status of your entry application from the Migration Office of the Canton of St.Gallen.

Letter of admission: We will send you an official letter of admission to your Compass mailbox if you are admitted to your desired degree programme. Please print this document in colour and enclose the print-out with your visa application. (We do not send letters of admission by post)

Semester invoice: You will also receive an invoice for the tuition fees for the first semester with the letter of admission. Please pay this invoice and enclose the invoice and confirmation of payment with your visa application. If you also require an official payment confirmation from the University of St.Gallen, please contact the Dean's Advisory Office. We will be happy to email you this document as soon as your payment is credited to our account.

Confirmation of matriculation: If you also need a confirmation of matriculation for your visa application, please contact the Dean's Advisory Office. We will be happy to email this document to you.

Proof of sufficient financial means: The visa authorities request, among other things, proof that you have sufficient financial means to cover your stay in Switzerland. In your visa application you must, therefore, generally furnish proof that you have at least CHF 24,000. The visa authority accepts account statements from Swiss banks or from banks with a branch or representative office in Switzerland. The account must be in your name and you must have the money available in the account. Please note that documents will be issued in German or English.

Written pledge to leave: The migration authorities may also ask for a statement confirming that you will leave Switzerland after you complete your degree.   

Insurance and student financing

Health insurance

If you are studying in Switzerland for more than three months, you must be covered by health insurance from the date you move here. The scope of benefits of the compulsory basic insurance is standardised throughout Switzerland and is the same for all health insurance companies. It is advisable to use Comparis to compare premiums.

Holders of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and privately insured students whose health insurance company ensures equivalent insurance coverage according to the Swiss Health Insurance Act (KVG) can be exempted from compulsory health insurance. To do so, fill out the certificate form of the City of St.Gallen (only in German).

Old age insurance (OASI)

Everyone who is resident and/or gainfully employed in Switzerland is subject to the compulsory old age and survivors’ insurance (OASI). People who are not gainfully employed have to start paying their contributions as from January 1 after they have reached the age of 20. Foreign students who are not gainfully employed are only covered by the OASI and are liable to pay contributions if their place of residence under civil law is in Switzerland.

Personal liability insurance and household insurance

Personal liability insurance is a voluntary insurance that indemnifies you against third parties’ claims for damages to property or personal injuries. If, for instance, you cause some damage to your rented flat, the insurance company will bear the costs. Some landlords explicitly demand evidence of such an insurance policy. Again, many insurers combine personal liability insurance and household insurance. The latter bears the costs of damage to household effects within the amount insured.

According to the latest survey by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) in 2020, you should have a monthly budget of about CHF 2,200 to CHF 2,600.

Cost of studies

Students from EU and EFTA countries with a B permit may work up to 15 hours per week in a paid part-time job during the semester. During the semester break, a workload of 100% is possible. You must notify the cantonal migration office of your place of residence of the work activity in question.

Students from third countries with a B permit can apply to the Cantonal Office for Economic Affairs and Labour for the same amount of work.

Information on job vacancies can be found on the job portal of our Career & Corporate Service.

The HSG has a loan and scholarship fund with which we support students from the second regular semester at the earliest.

Financing your studies