Move to CH

























































Your work mailing address will be:

Station 19
CH-1015 Lausanne

When giving your address to someone or to a company, please insists on the fact that the station number has to appear clearly on the mailing information. Without this number, your mail may be lost in the EPFL and return to the sender.

Life Sciences Newcomer Website

Below you will find three links on the EPFL website that will help you answer questions that you have about life in Switzerland and at the EPFL.

Living in Switzerland:

Just joined EPFL:

Newcomers - Information & Tips:





Preparing your contract

In order to help us preparing your contractual documents in the best delay, please provide us with the below information and send it by e-mail to


Full name, permanent address, email address and phone numbers  
Passport PDF
Curriculum Vitae PDF
Diplomas and certificates PDF
Letters of recommendation PDF
AVS number (on your CH health insurance card or AVS card) PDF
Temporary "Attestation de Domicile", and eventually your Swiss Residency Permit Card (obtained from the Office of "Contrôle des habitants" upon arrival) PDF
Swiss bank information for salary and reimbursement deposits (you will most likely open an account upon arrival)  
Health records, vaccination card, and if applicable, home based health insurance information PDF
Documentation of experience with laboratory animals, if any (course listing, certificates, etc) PDF
Recent photography in passport-format 2x



You will then receive you contract that you need to sign and send back to HR at the EPFL

HR: BI building, access at level -1, entrance left of the post office, reception on the 1st floor

Obtaining your visa

In case you need a visa for working in Switzerland, you first need to obtain the documents for a visa application (work contract and job description provided by us), and then contact the Swiss Embassy or Swiss Consulate in your country of residency for requirements. The whole process takes 3 months.

Thanks not to forget to send us a copy of your VISA and the one you will received every year to extend you working contract.

The HR are taking care of the documents to get a VISA but ones it’s done you have to go to the Embassy of Switzerland to get the VISA that will be stick on your Passport!

Once visa is obtained


Plan & inform us the date of your arrival according to the Start Date on your contract
Inform us of the address and contact of your initial place of stay, if not booked by us
Ship any items to the lab address, and label “Your name - To be held until arrival”
Familiarize yourself with the city. General information about Lausanne, including hotels, places and rooms for rent, maps, fun, etc, may be found at
Familiarize yourself with EPFL. The school organization and structure are described at


In order to declare your arrival

Irrespective of your nationality, you will have to register and declare your arrival in Lausanne at the Foreign Residents’ Office (in French "Contrôle des habitants"). HR provides a full list with addresses & opening hours


The deadline to register is between one and two weeks after arrival.

However, if you stay more than 3 months at EPFL, you will have to provide the following documents that you can only get from your country:

Single, European or non-European: Birth certificate
Married, European and non-European Birth certificate
For each members of your family coming with you Birth certificate - Family book
    Wedding certificate


These documents are accepted only in English, French, German or Italian. Any other language is forbidden and must be officially translated.




Arrival at EPFL


Lausanne Train Station – EPFL

•      Take Metro M2 to the Lausanne Flon station

•      Change to Metro M1, Renens Gare direction

•      Get out of the metro at the EPFL station

Renens Train Station - EPFL

•      Take Metro M1, Lausanne Flon station direction

•      Get out of the metro at the EPFL station




Public transports

When you will start at the EPFL you will get a Half-Fare travelcard.

With this card you travel half price on all SBB routes and most other railways as well as on boats, buses and trams in Switzerland



Meet with lab members

Meet with the Lab Administrative Assistant to initiate your official activities at EPFL (schedule meetings, sign remaining papers, ask any personnel related questions) Vania Sergy AAB007
Obtain your lab keys
Meet other lab members and get settled at your desk




EPFL Directories

You need to find an EPFL collaborator, his mailing address, etc, Type his name in the search engine Directory:

Official check-in at EPFL

For the following meetings, please check with Vania Sergy, she will booked them for you

Obtain your CAMIPRO Card

Meet with Angèle Mittaine in BS 127 to have your photo taken (36666). You will receive a personal CAMIPRO card that is your EPFL identity.

Note that the number on your card is referred as your SCIPER number. You will need it as a password for several intranet applications.

This card will allow you as well to pay in the miscellaneous campus shops and stores without any ready cash (and to get a discount in some cases), to access some protected rooms, to borrow a bike, to get a discount in selected external stores, etc.

For more information about the card functionalities:


EPFL Security Course (upon receipt of CAMIPRO CARD) FOBA
Séance d’accueil "Welcome on board" (once a month)
Health interview (see Insurance section below)
Health Check up at the CHUV (see Insurance section below)
Slims intro
Fishroom intro
  IT issues
Obtain your network access, software, printer, email forwarding, etc.
  If you will be handling animals
Contact Marcel Gyger (34201)



Climate of Lausanne



























Organize your life in Switzerland

This is a very good website for expat moving in Switzerland:

This website will give you an idea about the prices:


You can be helped at the EPFL via the ACIDE group

ACIDE is the Association of Research Scientists and lecturers at EPFL which supports the professional interests of its members. It copes with everything affecting the professional live of the scientific collaborators and takes a standpoint during consultations on EPFL directives. However, ACIDE is not a trade union.

The scientific collaborators represents a large number of persons at EPFL.

Basically if you are working in research or teaching at EPFL and do not have a professor position, then you are a member of the scientific collaborators represented by ACIDE (and you should carry on reading…).

Who does ACIDE represent?

ACIDE represents more than 3000 scientists and lecturers (the “Corps Intermediaire”), including research assistants, PhD candidates, post-docs, lecturers and research associates. As the credibility of associations relies on the number of their members, scientists and lecturers provide ACIDE with strength when they become affiliated.

If you are not already a member of ACIDE then you can join our ranks, enabling us to better represent you. Also, you don’t need to take out a loan to join as the membership fee is only 40.- CHF per year. Click here to register online (40.- CHF).

If you are already a member and you would like to get more involved then you could help us in carrying out one of our many projects which always need extra people. If you would like to help do not hesitate to contact our representatives !


Administration process

01/12/2016 Workflow done by Daniele Soroldoni after having done it himself


This document should help newcomers to streamline their arrival at EPFL, minimise ATP spent on Swiss bureaucracy and maximise their time at the bench.

The entire workflow is based on a temporary/provisory Swiss address. A Swiss address is essential for

- Permis de séjour (residence permit/visa)

- Attestation d'établissement (confirms residence & visa application)

- Déclaration office des poursuites (states that you have no Swiss debt)


DOCUMENTS & ITEMS (all essential & provided by you)


Rental contract of your host (ask Andy or Daniele to be your host)

2x Passport pictures for permis de séjour

85 CHF in cash


FORMS (all essential & provided by EPFL)

Working contract (HR)

Job description (HR)

Demande permis de séjour (HR)

Confirmation of sublet filled by your host (℅, provided by HR upon request)



1. Get your work contract incl the demande permis de séjour

2. Go to the office service de la population

A. To hand in your application for you permis des séjour, this requires:

- 2 passport pictures

- 65 CHF

B. To ask for an attestation d'établissement, this requires:

- formed filled from your host

- your host’s rental contract

- 20 CHF

3. Go to office des poursuites

This requires:

- your attestation d'établissement

- 17 CHF

NOTABENE: this document expires after 3 months

4. Open a bank account

This requires:

- your working contract

- your attestation d'établissement

5. Apply for flats

Usually the min requirement for your ‘dossier’ are

- the attestation d'établissement which also states that you’ve filled a visa process

- the letter from the office des poursuites

- your working contract

- andy’s letter stating the duration of your employment and that you’re awesome (done by Vania)

6. Submit the questionnaire to HR incl your IBAN/bank details

7. Go to Satellite and celebrate your victory, offer a beer to your temporary host



Switzerland has 3 official languages, any of these can be used for official enquiries.

This workflow can be done within 1 working day.


Find a place to live

It is important to start your search for housing before you arrive in Switzerland, because furnished apartments and houses can be scarce in the Lausanne area. It is not necessary to live in the immediate vicinity of EPFL, because public transport is good.

The communes adjacent to and to the west of EPFL (between 10 and 20 min with public transports): St-Sulpice, Ecublens, Préverenges, Denges, Lonay and Morges -- are worth looking into.

First decide which type of apartment you wish to live in and how many rooms you need. The number of rooms (les pièces) is literally that, but it does not include the kitchen or bathroom. The exception is a 1 room apartment (studio); which is a small kitchen, usually with two burners, a sink, a fridge but often an oven is NOT integrated into the single room apartment, as well as a separate bathroom. A 1.5 room apartment consists of a separate kitchen, a separate bathroom, a hallway and 1 bedroom.

Normally apartments are unfurnished so it is best to look for an apartment that has burners/and or oven and a fridge (cuisine agencée) in order to avoid having to buy them on top of everything else. Once you picked the place where you want to stay you will have to apply at the Real Estate Agency for the apartment.

In order to rent an apartment via an agency, and if you do not already have a Swiss Permit Card, you will need an "Attestation de Résidence", a temporary certificate of residency from the office of "Contrôle des Habitants" until you get your definitive Permit card.

Note: This "Attestation de Résidence" is also needed to open a bank account, which you need to receive your salary.

Ask the assistant to get an attestation that you are working at the EPFL. It might be useful.

Real Estate Agency procedure

You will need to go register the same day as you visit or the day after to maximize your chance to get the apartment.

Application to be filled in (you get it at the visit)
EPFL Contract
EPFL document explaining your visa/working permit
Last 3 pay slips
Copy of fellowship (might be useful if EPFL pays part of your salary)
Solvability attestation (This might be requested – you can obtain it at the “Office des Poursuites” office of the commune where you registered. If you are a foreigner and new to Switzerland you will not be able to obtain this document.)

They are going to ask if you have a personal liability insurance “Responsabilité civile”. It’s an insurance that cover the cost if you break something in the flat. (

The agency should get back to you with their decision. Once you receive the contract, you will be asked, before entering the apartment, to open a special bank account called “garantie de loyer”, which usually corresponds to the equivalent of 2-3 months’ rent. This deposit will stay at the bank and not be touched until the day you leave the apartment. You will also be required to pay the 1st month’s rent before you enter the apartment (Rent must always be paid for the 1st of the month).

The day you move in you will have to complete an "Etat des lieux" specifying the state of the apartment on the day of your arrival. Apartments are rented for 3, 6 or 12 months. If you do leave prior to the end of the contract, you are required to pay the rent until the end unless you find someone to take over the apartment. Attention you will have to return the apartment in the same condition as you received it. Swiss real estate agencies can be very picky.

You should not pay anything before or during the visit of a flat or to register. Usually you have a visit, if you like the flat you will have to send as quickly as possible a registration file (as explain in the real estate agency procedure previously). If you get the flat, the owner or real estate agency will contact you, you will sign a contract, open a bank account for the guarantee and then you will pay normally 3 months’ rent in the account and the first rent (paid at the beginning of the month).

List of the website to find a flat



Immoscout 24:

Home :


Tips: The total number of rooms -- not including the kitchen and bathrooms -- in the apartment is indicated by "pièces". The size is indicated in square meters. You will probably have to sign a rental contract for a fixed period, and often a deposit of as much as 3 months' rent is required. This is held in a bank account (a "garantie") and you will receive this, plus interest and minus damages, when your contract is over. Be sure to ask whether the rental price includes all charges such as electricity, heat, water and parking or whether they are billed separately. Your EPFL host should be able to help you translate ads and serve as an intermediary in your housing search.


Temporary housing

Available lodgings in the Lausanne area are very difficult to find. If you need help with temporary housing, please inform us on your housing preferences at least 2 months before your expected arrival date. Although the Lab Administrative Assistant will do her best to help you find 1-3 months of temporary housing, it is your responsibility to look for it also. The links below will help you:

Papaya Pods:

EPFL Logements:



Register with the office of "Contrôle des Habitants"

The address of the office depends on your home address. HR provides a full list with addresses & opening hours.

Bring 2 photos (picture machines are at Lausanne & Renens train stations), your passport, your RH documents, CHF 115.- cash, and fill out a form called "Rapport d’arrivée" which can be obtained on site.

Note: Please note that if you change communes you will have to announce your departure from the first commune and your arrival in the future commune.

Before permanently leaving Switzerland, return to the office of "Contrôle des Habitants" to fill out a Departure form. This enables cancellation of federal requirements; obligatory health insurance, etc.

Lausanne Mailing Address

Contrôle des habitants

Rue du Port-Franc 18


Case postale 5354

1002 Lausanne

Tel: 021 315 31 33

Opening Hours




Ecublens Mailing Address

Contrôle des habitants

Police des étrangers

Place du Motty 4

Case postale 133

1024 Ecublens

Tel: 021 695 33 72

Opening Hours



14h00-16h30 (Mon until 18h00)


Open a bank account

Credit Suisse (bank) and La Poste (post office) have offices on campus, where you can open a bank account. You will need your passport, your Swiss Permit Card (or "Attestation de Résidence") and a copy of your work contract.


Obtain public transportation pass for the Lausanne area

A global public transportation pass is available in Lausanne for train, metro and buses on a monthly and yearly basis. You should select the appropriate number of zones depending on where you live. The basic transportation pass includes Lausanne downtown and the EPFL area.

Through the Mobility fund, EPFL employees will get a 15% subsidy on Mobilis monthly and annual passes including zone 12 (Ecublens Campus).

By request, you will reveive a reduction coupon. It will be valid when purchasing your pass in a point of sale (SBB, TL) in the Canton of Vaud.

Go to the Lausanne train station or to any TL Mobilis office. Bring a photo, cash or credit card and EPFL reduction coupon. Prices vary with age, promotion cards, and number of transit zones.

Renewals can be done directly on campus, at the CFF office or at the TL Mobilis booth.


Health Insurance

This is mandatory in Switzerland and is the most important coverage needed, for health and non-work related accidents. The standard health coverage is the same for everybody but the price can be very different. It depends of:

The place of residence
The year of birth
The deductible (amount you will pay yourself, the bigger the amount, the less you pay)
You have to choose without accident for you (it is paid by the EPFL) but for your family (if not working) you have to take with accident


Note: If you have insurance from your home country, certify that they will cover you in Switzerland. Then wait for the papers from the Swiss government requesting your proof of insurance, fill it out and send it back to the Swiss authorities.


Accident Coverage

You receive it as a benefit when you work at the EPFL, but you must check in with the "Médecine du Personnel" in the CHUV hospital. Mrs. Camille Freyssenet (supervises the health security for the Life Sciences in EPFL). You should contact her to have a small health interview regarding your work practices. She will then register you with the CHUV, and the hospital should send you a confirmation of a date for your examination. The examination involves vaccines (bring your vaccination records), allergies, and other tests specific to the dangers you are exposed to in your work environment. Only after you have made your examination with the CHUV, you will be covered for all accidents that happen at the EPFL. Your family is not covered.


Further Coverage Required

For your personal coverage, there are two other insurances, which you should pursue and finance yourself, or show proof of equivalent coverage from an agency overseas.

Etablissement Cantonal d'Assurance (ECA)

This insurance is required by law. It covers any damage caused by fire in your apartment. A few weeks after settling down at your place, you will automatically receive a letter from this insurance company inviting you to assess the value of your furniture and personal belongings. The fare is based on what you have declared :

Civil Liability (in French: Responsabilité Civile - RC)

This insurance is mandatory in order to rent an apartment. It covers any damage you may produce to the property you are living in. You need to have rented an apartment to get the RC related to that address. If you move to another place you must change your RC records. Note that some landlords may sometimes request a letter from you certifying you will get it, as part of the documentation for rental agreement :


Salary and Taxes


Your host at EPFL will arrange with the EPFL human resources department any salary or housing allowance you will receive during your stay at EPFL. It is important to be sure this is arranged well in advance because the papers documenting any employment or financial remuneration in Switzerland will be part of your visa and residence permit applications.


Social Security

Anyone drawing a salary in Switzerland, for any length of time, must contribute to AVS, "old age and invalidity insurance." Even if you leave after just a few months, the amount you have contributed will remain in your name and once you retire you will be eligible to draw upon this amount. For more information, please read the Swiss authority brochure:



If you are receiving any money (salary or stipend, housing allowance) from EPFL, it will be taxed at the source, i.e. before you receive it. You are not taxed in Switzerland for any salary you are drawing from your home institution while you are in Switzerland. (You are probably not exempt from tax in your home country on at least some of that salary, unless you declare non residence, and possibly on your Swiss salary as well. Best check with an accountant.

Your taxes are deducted each month from your salary. You do not have to file a return form. However, there are three cases in which you must fill out a simplified declaration which can be found on the site of the taxes at source ( /) and to deliver it until March 31st of the following year (for example, Tax 2016 = document to be completed until 31 March 2017). The document is online between mid-December and January.

Cases when the document must be completed:

- If your annual gross salary is higher than 120’000 CHF
- If your fortune is higher than 56'000 CHF (single person) or 112'000 CHF (couple)
- If you have real estate in Switzerland (if your property is abroad, there is currently no rule but you have to declare it to the tax office at source)

We can advise you the person below (French and English speaking):

Raphaël Mingard

Fiduciaire Lambelet Fidal S.A.

Avenue Louis-Ruchonnet 15 

1003 Lausanne

Tél. 021/342.50.20


You will pay yearly a recycle tax (come from the state) and you have to pay for special plastic bags (2 CHF per bag) to put your trash. If you do not use the official trash bags (white) you will have to pay 350.-- (ask Daniele ;O). You can buy those bags at the Migros - Coop - La Poste



Once you've found your new Swiss home, you'll need to organise utility and communication services for your Swiss house, although some rental properties will have certain utilities included in the monthly rent. To connect television and radio, you'll also have to pay an annual Swiss licence fee.



The Swiss energy market is privatised, with consumers offered a wide choice of service providers. Many companies cover all three services: electricity, gas and water.

When renting a house, utilities are usually excluded from the monthly rent. Apartments, however, commonly include heating and hot water in the rent.

Companies send bills every two to four months. Tenants pay an estimated charge which is re-calculated every six to 12 months based on metre readings.

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy is responsible for regulating the energy market and increasing energy efficiency in the home. As environmental awareness increases, incentives for decreasing energy use are emerging.

Electricity in Switzerland is between 220–240 volts, and the electrical plug has three round prongs. You may need to replace your electrical appliances from home or purchase adapters.

Gas is uncommon in Switzerland for household use due to its high cost. If your house requires gas you can contact one of the listed suppliers.

Main suppliers:

    Swiss Electric




Telephone and internet

Swisscom is the national telephone supplier, providing the following services:

    Landlines: Swisscom Fixnet

    ISDN internet: Multiline ISDN

    DSL Internet: Bluewin

    Mobile phones: Swisscom Mobile (other mobile phone providers include Orange and Sunrise)


To set up internet or telephone service you will need a copy of a residence permit (or other photo ID) and a one-time connection payment. Service can usually be installed within a few days.

Mobile phones can be paid with a 12- or 24-month subscription or by prepaid card. Some providers have facilities for recharging the card at train ticket dispensers, the post office or ATMs.


Phone/internet providers:



Television and radio

Swiss residents pay a tax for TV and radio access. The annual cost of CHF 451.10 allows unlimited access to television and radio programmes. Failure to pay can result in fines of up to CHF 5,000. You have to register to the website : Once you have the licence there is a wide range of regional and national radio stations available, including the English-language World Radio Switzerland. Each linguistic region of Switzerland has their own state-owned and private range of television channels which are obtained from a standard receiver. Most television programmes are shown in the regional language, although some channels have dual-language options. For a wider range of programs, you can subscribe to a monthly cable service. Many city apartments already have a cable TV connection, enabling you to receive national and international channels. Satellite dishes are also an option if you require a specific selection of channels. However, some landlords may require approval before dish installation.

Television service providers: