Before contacting us, try to find the answers to your questions below. 



General rules


Non-European students are not allowed to work during the first six months of their stay in Switzerland.
European students can start working immediately upon their arrival in Switzerland.

Work activity during your studies:

Students can work up to 15 hours per week (37.5%) during the course period and 40 hours (100%) during the official academic holidays. See the academic calendar to know the dates of each period. An exception can be made for students who are getting ECTS for their internship and who are on their 4th semester. Contact career@graduateinstitute.ch for more information.

PhD students can work 20 hours per week if the work is directly related to the thesis. The position must also be in the Institute (teaching assistants and research assistants). If these conditions are not met, students are only allowed to work up to 15 hours per week.
For more information about teaching and research assistants, please visit the Assistant Association (ADA).

Work authorisation

A work authorisation is mandatory to start an activity, whether paid or not. Once you have found an employer, you must gather and complete the following documents:

  • E form

    • Select "activité accessoire" for internships/jobs up to 15h per week

    • Select "stage dans le cadre des études" for internships validated as ECTS (important: make sure you include the ECTS validation attestation in your OCPM request)

    • Ask your employer to sign the form

  • Copy of your passport

  • Copy of your current B permit

  • An attestation from the Career Services confirming the internship/employment is compatible with your studies

  • Proof of payment of fee* (CHF 65 for European citizens and  CHF 95 for non-European citizens)

Send your request before the start of the work activity to the OCPM per post or in person. (Important: if you are interning for a permanent mission or an IGO you must go in person).


You can send or drop your work authorisation application at:

Office cantonal de la population et des migrations (OCPM)
Service des étrangers
Route de Chancy 88
Case Postale 2652
1211 Genève 2

*Some employers do support students with the fee payment related to the work authorisation. Make sure you clarify this with your employer. OCPM banking details are available at the bottom of the E form.

Information on Visa and residence permit


Residence permit extension

After graduation, you can extend your student residence permit for a period of six months according to the Neirynck law, in order to find a job in line with your degree. This period is non renewable and the work permit thereafter cannot be guaranteed.

During this six-month period, you will receive a permit L however you can only work for a maximum of 15 hours per week. These six months should give you time to find a job in line with your degree, but do not replace a work permit. To work beyond the 15-hour limit, your potential employer will need to request a work permit. This request may be denied by the Swiss authorities.

To extend your student residence permit, you must provide the following documents 3-4 weeks before your student residence permit expires:

  • Form K 

    • Select "renouvellement/prolongation"

  • Copy of your passport

  • Copy of your current permit B

  • Copy of official transcripts

  • Your CV

  • A letter from the Career Services confirming you graduated from the Institute and requesting your student permit extension (send an email to career@graduateinstitute.ch with "student permit extension letter" in the subject line)

  • Proof of financial means (there is no minimum required, but you should have enough in your account to cover the period)

  • Proof of residence (housing contract or letter from landlord)

  • Proof of payment of fee (CHF 65 for European citizens and CHF 102 for non-European citizens)

Important information: if you already have an employer for a job/internship for maximum 15 hours a week, you will need a work authorisation. You should add the following documents to your student permit extension request:

  • Ask your employer to sign Form K (you can use the same form for both permit extension and work authorisation request)

  • Work contract

  • Letter signed by yourself explaining that you are applying for a permit extension in line with the Neirynck Law and that you are requesting the "autorisation pour l'exercice d'une activité accessoire" of 15 hours per week during this period

The student permit extension request should be sent by post to the OCPM:
Office cantonal de la population et des migrations (OCPM)
Service des étrangers
Case Postale 2652
1211 Genève 2

*OCPM banking details are available at the bottom of the K form. You can make your payment via ebanking or by payment slip. Please indicate your name, first name, date of birth and the reason for your request.

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