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 enrollment 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 fully completed your current degree before you can enroll in the EDIC program.

For the program start and enrollment it is required to provide a scanned copy of your latest degree and a complet transcript to [email protected] before the program start. The documents must clearly mention that you have succesfully obtained the degree.

If you have a double degree, the degree and complete transcript from both universities are required for the program enrollment.

If the above documents are not available by the time of the program start you can provide a temporary degree certificate in the meantime. Note that this certifiate must clearly mention that you have successully obtained the degree. For any questions please contact EDIC.

If you have graduated from the EPFL Master program it is not required to provide the degree or the transcript.

Please contact the EDIC administration at [email protected] to set up a time to meet for the program registration (see FAQ on quarantine below).



You need to 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 for this document when registering at the commune.

The CAMIPRO card is your student and employee card. This card also serves as identification for employees.

  • Camipro card and mandatory online training
    You have to follow and pass the two mandatory online training courses before you can register to obtain the Camipro card:
  1. Basic safety training course
  2. IT Security training course

The access to the training is through the portal The Essentials and the password to use is [email protected].

Once you have passed the mandatory training you can make an appointment with the Camipro card office [email protected] and provide the below for the picture:

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 4 remaining training courses at The Essentials can be passed at a later point.




The relevant form regarding the half-fare CFF travel card will be emailed to you along with the employment contract.

More information: CFF half-fare travel card

Here is a list which you can use to tick off each administrative steps for the program start : Tick Off List EDICprogram2024

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.