Select Page

Legal basis: Art. 27 para. 1 let. a FNIA; Art. 24 para. 2 ASEO

The course of study and the duration of the education or advanced course must be determined.

The SEM’s guidelines (I No stipulate that the institution must offer a full-time course of study which comprises at least 20 hours of classes per week. The guidelines also state that teaching must be provided on every day of the week.

The SEM provides an illustrative list of institutions that meet these requirements:

  • baccalaureate schools
  • boarding schools
  • technical schools
  • higher secondary level commercial schools
  • agricultural schools
  • other professional education schools…

It appears that the SEM wanted above all to exclude evening schools.

To this list, we can add 1:

  • primary and secondary schools
  • conservatories
  • universities (cantonal universities, Federal Institutes of Technology ETH, for example)
  • universities of applied sciences (UAS)

Students must present a study plan and schedule which is then compared with the school’s course offering2.

There is no mention of education and training that uses the ECTS credit system in which students can, in certain cases, chose how to distribute credits during their course of study. In this way, students do more hours during certain periods, and fewer during others. From our point of view, the 20 hour rule should be treated as flexible. However, when in doubt, prudent students will make sure that they can justify an average of 20 hours per week throughout the entire duration of their study plan.

In addition, until 2009, the migration authorities required that the course of study lead to a diploma. However, this requirement has since been overturned by case law3.

  1. Favez in RDAF 2009 I p. 215.
  2. Annotated Code of Migration Law vol. II Ad Art. 27, N°29.
  3. Annotated Code of Migration Law vol. II Ad Art. 27, N°21.