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Insurance in the course of study

Swiss and foreign students whose place of residence under civil law is in Switzerland must pay annual contributions to the compulsory social insurance schemes after reaching the age of 20. Exceptions to this rule and further information can be found here.

  • Employed persons who are resident in Switzerland under civil law must pay these contributions as soon as they reach the age of 17 (from 1 January of the year of their 18th birthday).
  • Students who earn income from gainful employment in the calendar year in question automatically pay into this contribution (above a certain income) via their employer. However, if this amount contributed is less than the current minimum contribution that must be paid, you must still pay the difference to the minimum contribution.
  • Missing years of contributions can lead to a reduction in pensions.

General information on social insurance

An overview of social insurance contributions can be found on the webpage of the Federal Social Insurance Office (BSV).

The service webpage of the Swiss authorities «ch.ch» also provides information:

AHV and IV

The official information office «AHV/IV» works for the compensation offices and IV offices in Switzerland. It publishes comprehensive and helpful information material on 1st pillar social insurance. On this webpage you will find information on social insurance, contact persons as well as information sheets and forms.

Accident insurance

  • Persons residing in Switzerland are required to be insured against accidents.

You are either insured under the employer's collective accident insurance scheme if you work more than 8 hours a week for a single company.
Or you must take out individual accident insurance under the compulsory health insurance scheme if you are self-employed or not gainfully employed, as is the case for many students.

Health insurance

Students are obliged to take out compulsory health and accident insurance. It protects them in the event of illness or accident and basically offers the same scope of benefits to all insured persons.

In other words, it provides the medically necessary basic health care for persons registered and residing in Switzerland.

You are free to choose your health insurance (health insurance fund) from among the approved insurers in Switzerland. See the corresponding list of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH):

Basic health insurance is regulated by law and covers the same benefits with all insurers. However, the premiums vary between about CHF 80 and CHF 350 per month depending on age – it is worth your while to compare premiums before signing a contract! The Federal Office of Public Health offers a non-commercial premium comparison service:

If you are on a tight budget, you may be able to benefit from a premium reduction. You can find more information about this on the webpage of the Social Insurance Office of the Canton of Bern:

Health insurance for foreign students

All persons staying in Switzerland for more than 3 months are subject to compulsory health insurance. This compulsory basic insurance covers medical treatment in the event of illness or accident. You are free to choose your insurance from around 90 different providers:

Persons from abroad who are in education or training may apply for exemption from compulsory health insurance in Switzerland, provided they have proof of equivalent health insurance abroad:

Some insurance companies offer special packages for foreign students with very good conditions. You can find more information on the ETH Zurich website (incl. video in English):

Universities of Bern

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  • Strengthen your well-being (overview) 

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