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 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.

More information: Immigration formalities

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 should have completed your current degree prior to your enrollment with EDIC.

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

A scanned copy of your final and complete transcripts, as well as your diploma, should be sent to [email protected] 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 these documents.

If the above documents are not available by the time of the program start, please provide a degree certificate.

You should register in the commune (Contrôle des habitants) where you live within 14 days after your arrival in Switzerland.

If you are living in 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, so the sooner you start the process, the better it is.

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

You are required to register at the Biometric Center in Lausanne.

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

To open a bank or Postfinance account, you will need an attestation de domicile, so be sure to obtain this document when registering at the commune. On the campus, there is a Post Office close to Rolex Learning Center and a bank (Credit Suisse) at the Esplanade.

When you meet with the EDIC secretariat for your program enrollment, you will receive a form to order your CAMIPRO (student or staff) card. You should then set up an appointment with the CAMIPRO Card Office.

The card is issued very quickly. Once you are enrolled in the program, you will be able to update your CAMIPRO card from staff to doctoral student at one of the terminals situated on the campus.

More information: CAMIPRO campus card

This is a mandatory course about basic safety on campus.

More information: FOBS

The EDIC secretariat will give you the relevant forms.

More information: CFF half-fare travel card

EDIC Contact Person (first-year)

In the first year, all incoming students are assigned a faculty member from the EDIC program committee to guide them through the first-year program requirements. Incoming students should not hesitate to reach out to their contact persons for any questions or support they might need prior to their arrival on the campus and throughout their first-year. Advice may especially be valuable in the spring semester where fellowship students are deciding on their lab affiliation.

EDIC Mentor (second year onwards)

EDIC doctoral students should complete an online form listing in order of priority their four preferences for an IC faculty member to replace the first-year contact person. Doctoral students should choose a mentor who is independent of their thesis advisor(s), and outside of their research area. The EDIC program attributes the final mentor. The role of the mentor is to mediate between the doctoral student and the thesis advisor, other faculty, or the administration. EDIC doctoral students should meet their assigned mentor at least once or twice a year or whenever some guidance might be required.


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 the length of the process (which can take up to three months or more). Applications are processed on a first come first serve basis by the relevant authority. It is therefore solely your responsibility to submit your complete and correct application as early as possible to the authorities.

From 6 July 2020, any person arriving in Switzerland from a country or territory with a high risk of COVID-19 infection is required to go into quarantine for ten days. You will find the list of countries and further information on this page. The list of countries is regularly updated. We recommend that you check the list to make the necessary arrangements before traveling. Upon arrival, you will have to:

  • Go immediately to your home or to other suitable accommodation.
  • Stay there for 10 days from the day of your arrival without going out.
  • Report your arrival within two days to the cantonal authority responsible.
  • Follow the instructions you are given by the authorities.

As of July 6, it is compulsory to wear a face mask on public transport throughout Switzerland.

More information: FAQs on quarantine (Swiss Confederation)