Enrol in Swiss schools Enrolment requirements and deadlines

The enrolment process for public, private and international schools differ significantly. Enrolment requirements and deadlines should be integrated into your steps towards relocation. It is essential to know your options, to be organised, and to adhere to these specific enrolment requirements.

Identifying the right school for your child is an essential part of relocation. For guidance in this process, read the article, Choose the right school in Switzerland. Once you make your decision it's time to get them enroled. There are different requirements for enroling students, depending on if they will attend public or private schools. Here is what you need to know.


Local Schools

Admission to local schools is assigned by the local education board based on your home residence and class placement availability. 

Important: you do not choose the local school. Visits to the school are not scheduled until enrolment is confirmed.  

Class placement is based on birth date. It can still vary by canton so please inquire locally. 



  • Birth certificate
  • Swiss residence permit
  • Proof of local residence: lease
  • Health insurance certificate



Admissions can take place at any time during the school year but preferably at the beginning of a term or with at least one month's notice to prepare teacher support. Extra support is available in language instruction during the first year or special grading dispensation.

Please note that enrolment in a local school for a foreign language child will require approximately 2 or more years of commitment for the child to see full benefits from their instruction in the new language. Local schools should preferably not be chosen as a temporary solution due to the effort required from both student and school to make it successful. Placement tests may be required depending on the age of the student.

International and Private Schools


  • Application form: available on school web site 
  • Application fees: fees may be due with the application or maybe only registration fees are due on confirmation of the child's acceptance (this is dependent on school procedure) 
  • Photo, passport copy, personal essay, or picture, as stated on application form
  • Swiss residence permit or student visa possible for full time education


A visit to several schools in your requested area is strongly recommended before making final decisions. International and private schools offer excellent education, however each has its particular personality and curriculum details which can make all the difference between an acceptable and an excellent fit for your child.

Early filing of your applications is strongly advised since the reception date of your application will be a determining factor for your place on the waiting list. Admissions are not examination based, but placement examinations may be requested on arrival.


There is no application deadline, however admissions for the start of the academic year in September will normally not be confirmed before April/May of that year. Mid-year admissions are only possible on a space available basis and will normally be confirmed in the month prior to your arrival date.

Author: Josephine Topping-Atkinson

Born in the USA, I came to Switzerland for 2 years as a trailing spouse, and gradually became one of the many long term expats in Geneva for the last 40 years. Raising four children in Geneva and navigating through local and international school systems in French and English, I became familiar with all the choices we must make in a new place. I am happy to share this process and insights with arriving families as they search for their personal solution to education for their families in the Geneva/Lausanne area.

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