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






According to the Swiss law, as a non-Swiss student, you can work full time if:

  • You work for an organisation abroad may it be working abroad physically or working remotely from Switzerland. The Swiss laws do not apply - the regulations of the country apply - and you do not need to request a work authorisation from the OCPM.
  • OR, you ask for your internship to count as credits. This can only be done once during your studies. For this, you must reach out to your department (mint@graduateinstitute.ch / madis@graduateinstitute.ch) for them to approve your request.
  • OR, you work for an intergovernmental organisation that could provide you with a legitimate card (CDL) that would replace your student B permit. See the list of organisations that can usually provide you with a CDL.


Can I get several internships approved for credits?


You can get your internship approved for credits once during your studies however it is possible to get your credits transferred from a previous internship to a new internship.


Can I benefit from the 6-month extension stay if I was on a CDL during graduation?


Yes, you can.  You are entitled to a 6-month extension stay after your graduation regardless of whether you hold a resident B permit or a CDL at the time of your graduation. Your graduation date will determine the start date of the 6-month extension.


What is a carte de légitimation (CDL) and which organisations in Geneva offer it?


A carte de légitimation (CDL) is a special type of residence and work permit offered by certain organisations in Switzerland, mainly UN agencies, diplomatic missions, international and intergovernmental organisations. The CDL differs from the traditional Swiss residence and work permits (for example, your student B permit, or a working C permit) in a few ways.

However, most importantly for non-EU students, if an organisation is able to offer their employees a CDL, it means that they are able to hire non-Swiss and non-EU candidates without restriction. Therefore, if you are a non-EU student, targeting these organisations can be an effective strategy if your goal is to stay and work in Switzerland. There are over 70 employers in and around Geneva that offer CDLs to their employees. See the full list here.


Where can i find the password to the job portal?


You can find it at the bottom of our weekly career newsletter. If you are an alumnus/a, you can reach out to us at career@graduateinstitute.ch and we will gladly share the password with you.


As a Non-EU/EFTA citizen, if I wish to work before the 6-month latency period, how can I do that?


You have two options to work prior to the 6-month latency period, you can:

  • work remotely for an organisation that is located outside of Switzerland and therefore, the Swiss laws do not apply.
  • get your internship/job validated as credits by your department. However, please keep in mind that you can get your internship/job validated as credits only once during your studies.


Can The Institute provide an internship agreement after I graduate?


No, for legal reasons, we cannot provide an internship/tripartite agreement (convention de stage) beyond your graduation date.


If my internship contract gets extended, do I need to request another work authorisation?


It isn't necessary for you to request another work authorisation if your contract gets extended with the same employer as long as your B permit is valid for the duration of the extended contract.




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 etudiants@ocas.ch 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 studentreception@graduateinstitute.ch if you need further assistance.

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