EDIC New PhD Students

The webpages of EPFL Student Services and the Doctoral School provide a lot of useful information in terms of your PhD studies and life on the campus. We encourage you to browse through the relevant links to find the latest updates on insurance, salary, well-being, and generally about living in Switzerland.

In addition, please review the following sections to prepare for your arrival on campus as well as your enrolment in the EDIC program.

Arrival guide

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate *
  • Marriage certificate (with a marriage certificate, a birth certificate is not required) *
  • Swiss rental contract, also for sub/temporary rentals
  • EDIC employment contract
  • AE and 40 OASA forms (provided by EPFL)

*A legalized translation is required (English, French, German, or Italian) if the documents are not originally issued in one of these languages.

Depending on your nationality, you will need a visa to enter the country. The application should be submitted in good time as the process may take up to 3 months or more.

You should apply for a long-term work/study visa, type D, for doctoral students (more than 90 days).

In general, visa applicants are received by appointment only. The passport must be valid for more than 3 months beyond the validity of the requested visa.

The documents that must be submitted along with the visa application, as well as the procedure, differ depending on the applicant’s country of residence. To find out which documents you need to submit, follow this link, to view the visa application conditions for your country.

You will also need the following documents: EDIC employment contract, EDIC admission letter, and in some cases the original diploma of your highest degree.

Please note that you are responsible of your visa application at the Embassy. EPFL/EDIC is not involved or part of the procedure to obtain the visas at the Embassy. It is therefore not possible to help to speed up the process or influence the decision made by the Embassy.

We strongly recommend to contact the Embassy to get the necessary details about the visa application and to book an appointment in good time having in mind that it takes upto 3 months to obtain the visa. 

More information: Immigration formalities

If you will be looking for a place to live we recommend to start the search as early as possible. The EPFL Housing Information Office offers a list of resources to help you find a place to stay. You can also contact them at [email protected] for assistance. Please note that it can be difficult to organize a rental contract through an estate agency from abroad. We recommend renting temporary accommodation for the first couple of months and search for more permanent accommodation at a later stage. Start your search as early as possible!

Your GASPAR account will be sent to you by email. Your EPFL email address will be activated by the time of the program start.

More information: EPFL Housing Information Office

We expect that you have carefully studied the EDIC program requirements and that you will attend the EDIC Orientation in September.

Please note that you must have completed your current degree before you can start in the program.

A scanned copy of your degree and complet transcripts, should be sent to [email protected] before the program start. The documents must clearly mention that you have succesfully obtained the degree. 

If the above documents are not available by the time of the program start, please inform EDIC and provide a temporary degree certificate which clearly mentions that you have successully obtained the degree in the meantime.

If these were uploaded with your EDIC application form or if you have graduated from an EPFL Master program, there is no need to resend them.

For your program enrollment, please contact the EDIC administration [email protected] to set up a time to meet for the program registration (see FAQ on quarantine below).

You should register in the commune (Contrôle des habitants) where you live within 10 days after your arrival in Switzerland.

If you stay in a temporary accommodation, you must nonetheless report to the commune where this temporary accommodation is located in order to start the process of obtaining your residence permit.

This also applies to Swiss citizens coming from another canton.

Make sure that you ask the commune to give you an “attestation de domicile.” This document will allow you to open a bank account until you receive your residency permit.

Note that it may take some weeks or even months to get your residence permit.

More information: Residence Permit (procedure, documents, costs, etc.)

You are also required to register at the Biometric Center in Lausanne. EDIC will provide an invitation letter for this purpuse which you should bring to the center. It is needed to make an appointment by email or by phone.

More information: Population Office Flyer (procedure, documents, costs, etc.)

To open a bank or Postfinance account, you will need an attestation de domicile from the commune, so be sure to ask forthis document when registering at the commune.

The EPFL campus is equipped with a microprocessor card access control (CAMIPRO). This card also serves as identification for employees.
In order to receive your CAMIPRO card, it is imperative to follow and pass the mandatory basic online safety training.

  1. As soon as you start your job (1st day of work), please follow the mandatory online basic safety training FOBS using your GASPAR login: https://go.epfl.ch/safety-training. If you have login/technical problems, please contact the IT department at [email protected].
  2. As soon as you have successfully completed your training, please contact the CAMIPRO office in order to obtain an appointment.

Important: Please bring the following documents with you to your CAMIPRO appointment:

  • Confirmation e-mail received after completing the online safety training course.
  • ID photo by email to [email protected] (see below details)
  • Your passport or identity card
  • Your individual CAMIPRO card voucher/letter which you received with the hiring contract.

If you already have the card, please consult the FOBS agenda on the website: https://securite.epfl.ch and send an email to [email protected] indicating the date of your choice.

The online training and practical workshops are mandatory and the quiz FOBS 1 has to be achieved with minimum 6 points and the quiz of FOBS 1 + 2 with minimum 16 points.

Details for the ID photo for your camipro card:

Please email a digital photo to [email protected] (JPEG or PNG in color)

Resolution: 640x480px (1000x750px recommended), Proportion: 4:3,
File name: firstname_name.jpg or firstname_name.png

  • The face must cover the majority of the photo (passport photo)
  • The background must be plain
  • The person must be facing forwards and looking straight at the camera-
  • No headgear or other objects that obstruct the face

The EDIC secretariat will give you the relevant forms.

More information: CFF half-fare travel card

Here is a list which you can use to tick off each step you have taken care of : Tick Off List EDIC Program Start Fall 2021

Image par Gerd Altmann de Pixabay

Each doctoral program has a pool of professors who are willing to serve as student mentors. These professors are interested in mediation, offering advice and supporting PhD students in the context of their training. They are the first person of reference for the PhD student in case of problems with the thesis director or the laboratory.

As part of the annual report, mentors meet with the PhD students to discuss the progress of their work and their well-being in the laboratory.

Each pool of mentors meets regularly with the program director who, only with the agreement of the PhD student, takes the necessary measures in case of reported problems.

The mentor remains anonymous with respect to the thesis director to ensure confidentiality. It is your decision if you would like to keep this anonymity or not.

Your mentor is a valuable resource and is available to discuss your academic progress and provide guidance. Please feel free to contact your mentor whenever you deem necessary

More information: EDIC Mentor 

FAQ – Visa application and entering Switzerland

Correct, you should apply for a national visa, type-D (which is a long-term visa). EPFL doctoral candidates are employed as doctoral assistants and hold a dual status of student and employee, so it could either be for work or for study. Based on our experience, whilst some embassies/consulates will issue a work visa, others will prefer to issue a study visa. Your local embassy/consulate will guide you with this and will let you know which visa you need to apply for. Both are fine and EPFL will coordinate with the Swiss immigration authorities so that you receive your work permit once you are in Switzerland.

For a job position in industry the authorization letter should be available from the employer before you apply for the visa. On the other hand, for doctoral students, the authorization letter is available only after you have applied for the visa and only after the visa application has been accepted by the cantonal migration office. This is also the reason why your embassy/consulate might prefer to issue a study visa instead of a work visa. EPFL will receive the authorization letter when the visa is accepted and will forward it to you electronically. The authorization letter is needed at the commune when you register for the permit.

EPFL is not a government authority responsible for issuing visas and cannot influence on the duration of the process (which can take up to three months or more) or on the decision from the Embassy.  It is your responsibility to submit your complete and correct application as early as possible to the authorities.  We strongly recommend not to book a steady flight ticket before you have obtained the visa.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic there are special rules for people entering Switzerland. Depending on the type of travel, you might have to fill out a form for incoming travelers, show proof of a negative test and/or go into quarantine.

We recommend that you review the following links to make the necessary arrangements before traveling.

The provisions regarding the entry form and the negative test result apply from Monday, 8 February.