During the course of your studies, you might receive a letter from OCAS (Cantonal Social Insurance Office) asking you to pay their contribution towards de AVS, AI and APG insurances.
The Cantonal Social Insurance Office (OCAS) is an autonomous institution governed by public law which coordinates the activities of the Geneva Compensation Fund and those of the Invalidity Insurance Office. Their mission is to ensure that everyone is insured against the economic consequences of age, disability, illness, unemployment, maternity, orphanhood and widowhood. This results in the collection (contributions) and payment (benefits) of 1st pillar social insurance in order to cover the vital needs of the insured.
Contributing to the Old Age and Survivor Insurance (AVS), Disability Insurance (AI) and Loss of Income Insurance (APG) is compulsory for anyone having a civil domicile or working in Switzerland.
Civil domicile is the place where the person lives with the intention to stay permanently. Students who come to Switzerland with the only intention of pursuing studies are not considered to have their civil domicile in Switzerland.
Students may therefore be exempt from paying fees:
- Should they prove with a certificate from their employer or a compensation fund that they have already made contributions of at least CHF 503 out of their income or on their Loss of Income Allowances;
- Should they be staying in Switzerland only for study purposes;
- Should their spouse be affiliated with the Swiss AVS/AI/APG and have paid at least twice the minimum required contribution (CHF 1’006).
Other than the above mentioned cases, from the age of 20, Swiss and foreign students domiciled in Switzerland are required to pay an annual fee of CHF 503.00 (minimum contribution) to the AVS/AI/APG. Administrative costs are added to this amount.
Students who are working start paying fees as of January 1st of the year following their 17th birthday.
Students working who have paid fees of less than CHF 503 (minimum contribution) per year out of their income must only pay the balance.
Students concerned must provide OCAS with a copy of their salary certificate so that OCAS can correct the amount of contributions and send them a new invoice.
Information as to the amount of contributions to be paid is sent directly to students from the Compensation Fund of the Social Insurance Office (OCAS).
If you receive the letter from OCAS with the request for payment your contribution towards the AVS/AI/APG, and you do not have your civil domicile in Switzerland and have not worked in Switzerland, it will suffice to write back to OCAS stating that you are a student in Switzerland who came only for the purpose of conducting studies at The Graduate Institute, enclose the enrolment attestation you have available on Campus and a copy of your Student B permit issued by OCPM. Students with a legitimation card (carte de légitimation) issued by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs may be exempted from paying membership fees by sending OCAS a copy of the card.
In order to contact OCAS, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating (as provided on the letter you will receive) your "n° affilié" and "n° AVS(NSS)".
More information on OCAS and its implications for students can be found (in French) here: https://www.ocas.ch/avs/cotisations/etudiants/
Office cantonal des assurances sociales
Rue des Gares 12
Case postale 2696
1211 Genève 2
+41 22 327 27 27
Please contact email@example.com if you need further assistance.