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Legal basis: Art. 27 para. 1 let. c FNIA

In every application (including those for renewal), students must demonstrate that they have sufficient financial resources to live in Switzerland without needing to rely on social assistance.

Note that even if a student has the right to work during their stay, the system is designed so that the they cannot use this income to finance their stay (see the specific section).

In practical terms, a student must demonstrate that they have a monthly disposable sum that is above the eligibility threshold for social assistance.

The guarantee of these financial means must be provided in one of the following ways:

A declaration of commitment by a financially solvent person domiciled in Switzerland. This person then acts as a guarantor for the student.

Only a Swiss national, a permanent residence permit (permit C) holder or a residence permit (permit B or L) holder can be a guarantor. The guarantor must provide the following documents:

  • a declaration of commitment (in Geneva, this is Form O available in French on the OCPM website)
  • a certificate of income or wealth (pay slip/bank statement etc.) that meets the threshold requirements
  • a certificate of solvency (statement issued by the Debt Collection Office), which in Geneva can be requested online (only in French).

Without a guarantor, a student must provide confirmation that they have sufficient funds (cash or other assets such as securities) in a recognised bank in Switzerland.

A list of recognised banks can be found on the website of the Financial Market Supervisory Authority: Authorisation > Licensed institutions and persons > Authorised banks and securities firms.

Finally, a student can present a firm guarantee of a scholarship or loan for educational purposes. This implies that they have already taken the necessary steps for obtaining this financing.

Legal basis: Art 23 para. 1 ASEO

In Geneva, the thresholds for access to social assistance are set according to the number of dependents and are as follows (for november 2023):

 Number of persons Assistance
(article 2 RIASI)
(article 3 RIASI)
11006 CHFUp to 1.100 CHF
21.539 CHFUp to 1.300 CHF
31.871 CHFUp to 1.500 CHF
42.153 CHFUp to 1.650 CHF
52.435 CHFUp to 1.800 CHF
Health insurance
(article 4 RIASI)
– 0-18 years: 149 CHF (average cantonal premium)
– 19-25 years: 358 CHF (cantonal reference premium)
– dès 26 years: 517 CHF (cantonal reference premium)

(source: Form O available inn French on the OCPM website).

Therefore, a 20 years old single student without family responsibilities must demonstrate that they have an amount equivalent to CHF 2,464. Note that these amounts constitute thresholds. To take a specific case, a student can show that their rent and medical insurance amount to an inferior sum.

According to SEM guidelines, the above is not a complete list of the possible ways in which one can prove sufficient financial means. Authorities seem to allow for “hardship cases”, for example when a university itself acts as guarantor.