Work authorisation and administrative support

We invite students interested in combining work and studies to carefully read the following, which provides them important information to begin their career journey.



Check out our wonderful visual to help you understand when to ask for a work authorisation and the process itself!

A work authorisation is mandatory for non-Swiss nationals residing in Switzerland with a B Permit, classified as formation, and whom have already received an employment offer in Switzerland. Here are the important information to know about the work authorisation:

  • Students should send a work authorisation request to the OCPM before the start of their job/internship.
  • A work authorisation is valid for one employer, should you receive an offer from a different employer in the future, you would have to request another work authorisation.
  • If your contract with an employer gets extended, you do not have to ask for another work authorisation as long as your student B permit is valid until the end of your contract.

In addition, non-Swiss students are subject to the following work restrictions :

  • Employment activity cannot exceed 37.5%, which is equivalent to 15 hours per week during the academic semester and 40 hours per week during the official holiday (winter and summer break). See the academic calendar to know the dates of each period.
  • An exception can be made for students to work full time during the academic semester if they are getting ECTS for their internship (and we recommend to do so ideally in their 4th semester where they have less classes). Students can get an internship validated for credits once during their studies. Contact your department for more information.
  • Non-EU/EFTA nationals are not allowed to start a work activity for 6 months upon their arrival date in Geneva unless they are getting ECTS for their internship. EU/EFTA nationals can start immediately upon their arrival in Geneva.

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).

If your internship/job is abroad, you do not need to request a work authorisation from the OCPM.

REQUEST A Work authorisation


If you need any assistance for your work authorisation request, please reach out to the Career Services by providing us with the following information:

  • Employer's name

  • Start and end date of the internship

  • Number of working hours per week

  • Your arrival date in Switzerland

  • Whether you will validate this internship as ECTS

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 OCPM attestation from the Career Services confirming the internship/employment is compatible with your studies (please contact us at providing the information requested above)

The employer will be receiving the invoice of 65CHF.- (for European citizens) or 95CHF.- (for non-European citizens).

Send your request before the start of the work activity to the OCPM per post or 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

Tripartite AGREEMENT


If you need a tripartite agreement or internship agreement (convention de stage) for your future employment, send your request to with the following information:

  • Employer's name

  • Start and end date of the internship

  • Number of working hours per week

  • Your arrival date in Switzerland

  • Whether you will validate this internship as ECTS

Please specify in the email subject line "Your name - internship agreement".

Important information: for legal reasons, we cannot provide an internship agreement for an internship that goes beyond your graduation date.



Students in the Interdisciplinary or Disciplinary Masters Programmes can earn 3 ECTS credits if they intern during their studies. An internship can be validated once during their studies. Please be so kind as to fill in this internship proposal form and send it to your master's programme team by email 15 days before the start of your internship:

Interdisciplinary Masters:

Disciplinary Masters:

Although students can do multiple internships during their studies, it is only possible to receive ECTS credits for one internship. Please note that students cannot ask for their internship to count as credits when they are on a leave of absence.

In addition, you are legally allowed to work full-time when you earn credits for an internship.

Residence permit extension (L permit)

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 working B permit. Please keep in mind that this request may be denied by the Swiss authorities depending on a variety of factors.

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

  • Form K if you already have a job when making a request OR fill in a Form E if you do not have a job

    • Select "renouvellement/prolongation"

  • Copy of your passport

  • Copy of your current permit B

  • Copy of your official transcripts (to be sent later upon receipt)

  • Your CV

  • A letter from the Career Services confirming you graduated from the Institute and requesting your student permit extension (send an email to 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)*

There is a processing fee (CHF 65 for European citizens and CHF 102 for non-European citizens). The canton will send you the bill in the post after you submit your L permit extension. You do not pay it in advance.

Important information: if you already have an employer for a job 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


Other important information for the L permit extension:

Your address in Geneva:
For your L permit application, you must indicate an address in Geneva. If your housing situation in Geneva is not stable or not continuous after graduation (for example, your student housing contract is ending and you are looking for new accommodation), one common solution is to sublet or to be hosted on the address of a friend of family member in Geneva. This is allowed by the Canton of Geneva. If you choose this option, you need to include the following 2 documents in your L permit application:

  • Copy of the housing contract of your friend or family member
  • Letter from your friend or family member that attests they are hosting you OR you can ask for the friend/landlord to fill in this attestation AL

Don't forget to physically put your name on your friend's letterbox so that you can actually receive letters from the Canton.

If you change your address within the Geneva Canton, you must submit a changement d'addresse form, by mail or online, within 14 days of moving prior to requesting your L permit.


Proof of financial means (justificatifs des moyens financiers):
On the Form E it states that you must have "Proof of financial means or sponsorship certificate (Form O)" for the L permit application.  This can be either bank statements in your name, or, if you are being supported by a family member, bank statements in their name plus a letter explaining that they are supporting you. (Alternatively, you and your sponsoring family member can fill out Form O, but usually it's easier to do the bank statements and letter.)

Young professionals "interns" (jeunes professionnels "stagiaires")

For students coming from these following countries, you have the possibility after graduation to get a working permit that allows for you to work full time and for 18 months in Switzerland once you receive an internship offer:

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Tunisia, United States, and Ukraine.

See below the criteria to be eligible:

  • You are a citizen of a partner country (see above);
  • You are between 18 and 35 years old (Australia: between 20 and 30 years old, New Zealand and Russia: between 18 and 30 years old);
  • You have completed a university degree
  • The internship can only be completed in the field in line with their previous studies
  • Access is possible for any type of profession
  • The remuneration must be in accordance with the standards in use in the locality and the branch, as for a person at the beginning of their career. If there is a convention collective de travail (CCT), their remuneration will be in accordance with the provisions of the CCT; otherwise, the cantonal salary guidelines and the recommendations of the industry associations apply
  • The permit is issued for a maximum period of 18 months (multiple stays are permitted, provided that the total duration of the stays does not exceed 18 months)
  • Self-employment and part-time work are not permitted

If you wish to learn more, please check out this website.


Information on Visa and residence permit



Business Cards


PhD and master students, as well as exchange students and students enrolled in Executive Education programmes, can order business cards at the price of CHF 50 per 100 cards.  Please use the following procedure:

  • Complete the order form electronically. Ensure that your information is filled out correctly.

  • Pay the CHF 50 fee to the cashier at our accounting department (P1 - 421) and get the stamp on your order form.

  • Send the completed form and the proof of payment by email to:

Only titles pertaining to the Graduate Institute and validated by Career Services will be accepted. Academic enrollment years can be cited on the card. Please keep in mind that your order may take some time to process (several weeks, sometimes months if you order close to the summer) as orders go out once Reception receives 10 business card orders.


John Doe
Master in International Affairs, 2014-201