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When in contact with the cantonal migration authority (in Geneva, the OCPM), whether by telephone, e-mail, letter or interview, you should keep the following in mind:

  • Think carefully before giving information that could be used against you.
  • Systematically stress that all the necessary criteria are being met (housing, financial situation, academic situation), even if the OCPM only asks for a specific piece of information, and avoid having to change your account. In case of doubt, contact the CUAE offices.
  • Where possible, choose written contact with the administration: keep all correspondence (including letters you have sent!) and file them by date.

This advice is also applicable when contacting any kind of administrative service. There may be traps where you did not expect them, and these could lead to the loss of your residence permit.

For example, on 1 October 2016, Switzerland amended its criminal code. All foreign nationals risk expulsion for a minimum of five years, especially if they are convicted under criminal law for unlawful claims on social insurance or social assistance benefits. No one knows exactly what this means, but failing to disclose financial circumstances when receiving a scholarship, for example, could fall into this category of offence.