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An institution’s “accredited” status and the “professional” character of the education and training offered

Both the ordinance regulating the implementation of the AFMP and its provisions are silent on accredited establishments. According to legal doctrine, a professional course of study is one that prepares students for a specific profession, trade or job1. However, in our opinion, this notion should be interpreted broadly to include any course of study offered by the UNIGE.


Migration law requires that students provide evidence of their enrolment at an educational institution when applying for a permit.

Enrolment procedures vary from one institution to another and change every year. One should contact specific institutions for further information.

A discussion of the rules governing the international recognition of diplomas is beyond the scope of this guide. General information is available on this website:

For the UNIGE, you should check which degrees are required (and the minimum average grades) and what additional exams may be needed. These exams can either be linguistic only (a French language test) or may cover general subjects (ECUS). A complete list by country is available in French on the admissions website.

The language requirements for admission to UNIGE are distinct from those required under migration law for the issuing of a residence permit.

Payment of tuition fees

For the past few years, there has been a tendency in Switzerland to increase these fees. Often, these policies are put into place by applying differentiated fee increases depending on whether a student is a Swiss or foreign national. Thus the ETH and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland have implemented substantial fee increases for foreign nationals with a view to increasing them for everyone.

The University of Geneva is no exception. In the autumn of 2016, the university’s Rectorate attempted to introduce a differential enrolment fee for foreign nationals. After being met with student organising, it was forced to withdraw the measure. More information in French here:

There is controversy as to whether or not differentiated tuition fees between EU and Swiss students violate the AFMP. The migration authorities consider differentiated fees acceptable, while some legal scholars do not2.

  1. Annotated Code of Migration Law vol. III Ad. Art. 6 FMP, N°15.
  2. Annotated Code of Migration Law vol. III Ad. Art. 6, N°19.