Welcome to the University of Lucerne!

The information contained on this website is intended to assist you as an internationally mobile researcher and/or lecturer with the planning and completion of your stay at the University of Lucerne. It also provides help with issues such as entry to Switzerland, residence permits, insurance, accommodation, pensions, schools, life in Switzerland, etc.

Before your arrival

Before your arrival 

Foreign nationals require a valid travel document that is recognised by Switzerland (passport, ID card) in order to enter the country. 

Visa Requirements  

Please note that different visa requirements apply to entry for study or work purposes than to entry as a tourist. All foreigners who intend to stay in Switzerland for more than 90 days for work or study must have a visa. It takes at least 8 weeks to process a visa application, so please ensure that you submit your application in sufficient time. Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Area, i.e. visas issued for the Schengen Area are also valid in Switzerland. 

Please contact the relevant Swiss diplomatic representation abroad for details of the exact entry requirements for citizens from your home country.

Health insurance  

It is vital that you deal with the issue of health insurance before entering Switzerland. Private medical insurance is compulsory for all persons residing in Switzerland. You must take out a policy within the first three months of your stay in Switzerland. A separate policy is required for each family member. Additional private insurance policies can be taken out voluntarily in addition to compulsory health insurance, which is not income-related. Compulsory health insurance does not cover the cost of dental treatment. You can take out an additional insurance policy to cover this. Please remember to cancel your health insurance in your home country in good time. 

The online portal comparis provides an impartial overview of Swiss health insurance companies: overview of Swiss health insurance companies in Switzerland.

Comprehensive information on compulsory health insurance can be found on website oft the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and in the brochure issued, entitled "The compulsory health insurance – your questions, our answers" (brochure FOPH).

Documents  

To ensure that you are adequately prepared for your stay, please bring with you the following documents which are required for registration with the resident services in Lucerne and when applying for a residence permit. 

  • A valid form of official personal ID/passport (one for each family member taking up residence in Switzerland)
  • One passport photograph per family member
  • Civil status documents (e.g. family record book or birth certificates of minors, marriage certificate etc.)
  • Work contract
  • Health insurance ID card 

Accommodation  

Finding accommodation in Switzerland can be a time-consuming process. You should therefore allow sufficient time to look for accommodation. Housing in Switzerland is relatively scarce and is expensive compared to other countries. There are usually multiple applications for a single apartment. Part of the application involves filling in a form. Most landlords require proof of personal liability insurance (details can be found in the section headed "After your arrival") and the payment of a deposit (1–3 months’ rent). The monthly rent does not include secondary costs such as electricity, water, heating, telephone/internet, cable TV and Billag (a state radio and television licence fee). As a consumer you are required to register with the billag, the website is available in German, French and Italian.  

The University of Lucerne does not own any guest houses, but it does work with the Student Mentor Foundation, which offers one-room studio apartments in addition to student rooms. For details of rental prices and availability, please visit the website of the Student Mentor Foundation Lucerne

The following websites can be used to search for accommodation:

Further information on entry to Switzerland can be found in the FAQ on the website of the Federal Office for Migration.

After your arrival

Registration 

You must register with the local authorities in your residential district within 14 days of arriving in Switzerland. In Lucerne, this is the Einwohnerdienste Luzern (Immigration Control Office; website in German only)

Residence permit  

You must apply for a residence permit from the Office for Migration (website in German only) after you have registered with the local authorities. 

A fee is charged for registration with the local authorities and for submitting a residence permit application. 

Work permit  

Your work permit application is dealt with through Human Resources (rubric University).

Bank account 

Lucerne has plenty of options for opening a Swiss bank account, e.g.

Insurance 

Private liability insurance  

We recommend that you take out a private liability insurance policy. This is usually required when signing a rental contract. You can find overview of Swiss insurance points (comparis).  

Occupational accident insurance (BUV) 

All persons employed in Switzerland are insured (by their employer) against occupational accidents and work-related illness. 

Non-occupational accident insurance (NBUV)  

All persons employed in Switzerland are insured against leisure-time accidents, including on the journey to work, provided that they work for the same employer for at least 8 hours per week. This insurance is arranged by the employer and deducted directly from the employee’s salary. 

(Source: www.suva.ch/english

Pension  

The retirement age in Switzerland is 65 for men, and 64 for women. The pension provision in Switzerland is divided into three sections (pillars) as follows: 

Pillar 1 
This section of the pension is financed by all persons who are capable of work (employees, employers and the unemployed), the federal government and the cantons. In addition to old-age pensions, contributions for the disabled and people who are unable to work for health reasons are paid from the basic state old-age and survivors’ insurance scheme (AHV). Employees of the University of Lucerne are insured with Ausgleichskasse Luzern (website in German only)

Pillar 2
The 2nd pillar is the pension fund that is only compulsory for employees. The pension contribution is deducted directly from the employee’s salary every month. Employers also make the same contribution as their employees. The income from the first two pillars is intended to guarantee a pension of 60% of the worker’s final salary before retirement. Employees of the University of Lucerne are insured through the pension fund of the Canton of Lucerne (Pensionskasse des Kantons Luzern website in German only). 

Pillar 3 
The third form of old-age pension is intended to top up the pension of 60% of the worker’s final salary from the first two pillars. This scheme is voluntary. Workers have the option of paying into a special savings account, which brings tax and interest benefits. You can ask for information on this pension option at any Swiss bank. It is known as "Vorsorgekonto 3a". 

(Source: www.swissworld.org)

Taxes  

Foreign employees registered as resident or tax resident in Switzerland (Permit L or B), but without a permanent residence permit (Permit C) are subject to withholding tax. This means that the employee’s tax contribution is deducted directly from his/her salary by the employer each month and submitted to the tax office. The amount varies depending on the canton and is subject to change. Swiss nationals and foreign nationals with a permanent residence permit (Permit C) pay their taxes at the end of each year. 

The witholding tax calculator (comparis) can provide an overview of payable tax. Please note that the social insurance contributions are also deducted from the gross salary.

Researching and working at the University of Lucerne

The University of Lucerne and its four faculties

With 2,700 students, the University of Lucerne is the smallest of the twelve Universities and Federal Institutes of Technology in Switzerland. Although its roots stretch back as fas as the 16th centurs, it has actually only existed in its present form since 2000.

It has four faculties:

The university building is also home to the University of Teacher Education (Pädagogische Hochschule). 

Starter pack and information event for new employees  

When starting work you will receive a starter pack from the relevant faculty or human resources. This contains important information for starting work at the University of Lucerne. Human Resources arranges regular information events for new employees. Details of dates can be found in the starter pack. 

CampusCard 

When you start work you will receive a CampusCard, a smart card which you can use as employee identification. You can also load credit onto it to make payments in the canteen/cafeteria. The CampusCard is also your library card and can be used for University Sport. 

Employment terms 

Please address any questions related to your employment terms to the Human resources department (rubric University). You will find plenty of information at "All topics A – Z"

Main & University Library of Lucerne (ZHB) 

The Main & University Library of Lucerne (ZHB) is the largest library in Central Switzerland, with 300,000 books that are freely available to users. Just under half of the books can be borrowed. The ZHB has 670 reading areas and work stations. The ZHB located on the 1st floor of the university building. The opening hours are as follows: 

  • Monday – Friday 07.00 – 21.30
  • Saturday 07.00 – 15.00
  • Sunday closed 

Equal opportunities/Dual Career 

The University of Lucerne has an office for equal opportunities that is committed to equal opportunities for women and men in their studies, and in their academic and professional careers. 

Career and study counseling for partners 

The cantonal website "Advanced vocational training (website in German only) gives information on career counseling for employed persons of all ages, for returnees after a maternity leave and/or break for child education, after a traineeship or university studies. Comprehensive information for the job search and working in Switzerland in general is provided on the website of the regional job centre ("Regionales Arbeitsvermittlungszentrum RAV", website in German only), they also provide a list of online-jobsearch-portals and private employment agencies.   

Invalidity 

Informationen der Universität Luzern zum Thema "Barrierefreies Studium" erhalten Sie bei der Fachstelle Chancengleichheit. Weitere Informationen finden sie bei der Dienststelle Soziales und Gesellschaft des Kantons Luzern sowie beim Behindertenforum Zentralschweiz.  

Mensa/Cafeteria 

Die Mensa (Rubrik Uni-Leben) bietet täglich wechselnde Menüs, die Cafeteria im Mensa Foyer Snacks und Kaffee an. Als Mitarbeiter/innen erhalten Sie gegen Vorlage der CampusCard einen speziellen Rabatt.

Researchers with family

If you are planning a stay in Lucerne with the whole family, you should deal with the issues of childcare and school attendance as early as possible, and prior to entering Switzerland if possible. Detailed information is also available on the website University-and-family.

Infant childcare

In conjunction with the University of Teacher Education and the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, the University of Lucerne provides childcare for infants aged between 4 months and 5 years in the Kita Campus daycare centre. Register by completing the form available on the website and submitting it directly to the Kita Campus Geschäftsleitung, Museggstrasse 2, 6004 Lucerne.

Kindergarten

Kindergarten attendance is compulsory for at least one year in the canton of Lucerne, and most children usually attend Kindergarten voluntarily for two years. Your child will be offered attendance for two years to ensure that children who speak a foreign language are exposed to German at an early age. More information available at Volksschulbildung.lu.ch

Childcare (all ages)

You can find a variety of individual childcare services such as daycare centres, childcare with supplementary schooling, daycare, home-based childcare, playgroups, babysitters, childminders etc. on the website of the Canton of Lucerne (in German only)

 

School

Children usually start school at 6 years of age, with 6 years of primary and 6 years of secondary school. The secondary phase is divided into levels A, B, C and long-term secondary school (Langzeitgymnasium). Attendance of the different levels is performance-related and is decided at the end of primary school.

Comprehensive information on the school system in the Canton of Lucerne and a list of all schools in the canton can be found at http://www.volksschulbildung.lu.ch/index/syst_schulen/ss_schulsystem.htm.

International School

If you are looking for an English-language school for your children, the private (fee-paying) International School of Lucerne and Zug offers lessons up to 5th grade (primary school) at the campus in Lucerne. Grades 6–8 are taught in Zug, while grades 9–12 are taught in Hünenberg. You can find more information and details on enrolment and tuition fees on the International School’s website.

Activities for families

Information on activities for families in Lucerne can be found on the following websites: Familienstadtführer (only available in German) and City of Lucerne.

Eldercare

A list with frequently asked questions regarding eldercare and a list of cantonal special-care homes are available at the website of the Canton Lucerne. The city of Lucerne’s website "Pflege und Betreuung im Alter" gives more information on consultation services, financing and special-care homes.

Language courses

The acquisition of basic knowledge of the German language is highly recommended if you are planning a long stay in Switzerland. 

The University of Lucerne does not offer private German courses. However, an arrangement is in place with the Bénédict School Luzern that entitles employees of the University of Lucerne to a discount of 20%, or 25% for groups of 7 or more people from the university. 

Other langugage schools in Lucern include: 
Alemania
Migros Klubschule Luzern

Culture and leisure

view onto the lake

Central Switzerland offers a variety of culture and leisure options. Be inspired by the myriad offerings ...

Culture 

Top Events/Festivals 

Lucerne hosts a diverse range of high-profile festivals, from the Lucerne Festival in summer, during which world-famous orchestras, conductors and ensembles visit the KKL Culture and Conference Centre, to the traditional Lucerne Blues Festival in November and the original Carnival (Fasnacht) in February.

A calendar of events

KKLCulture and Conference Centre 

Lucerne’s Culture and Convention Centre, which is located in the immediate vicinity of the university, hosts a diverse and first-rate programme of events throughout the year. Take the opportunity to watch world-famous artists and orchestras performing live. For more information on the current programme and advance ticket sales, please visit their website

Theatre in Lucerne 

  • The Lucerne Theatre (Luzerner Theater) is the only multi-stand theatre in Central Switzerland. Have a look at the performance schedule.
  • The "Kleintheater Luzern" is known throughout Central Switzerland for its top-class cabaret programme.
  • Le Théâtre Kriens Lucerne stages musicals, comedy, light classical music and shows.
  • The Figure Theatre (Figurentheater) in Industriestrasse, which is part of the Lucerne Theatre, stages magical and exciting plays for children aged 4 years and over, and provides hours of enchanting theatrical experiences for young and old alike. You can find the programme as part of the performance schedule of the Lucerne Theatre.

Museums in Lucerne  

  • The Swiss Transport Museum (Verkehrshaus der Schweiz), the Museum of Art (Kunstmuseum Luzern), Rosengart Collection (Sammlung Rosengart) and the Glacier Garden (Gletschergarten) are just some of the museums available to visit in Lucerne. View the entire range at the following website

Trips 

The beautiful area around Lucerne is perfect for a variety of excursions in summer and winter. Whether you want to enjoy a ride on a steam ship on Lake Lucerne, a hike up the Stanserhorn Mountain or a spot of skiing in Engelberg, you are bound to be inspired by the unlimited options.  

Lucerne University Sports (HSCL)  

As an employee of the University of Lucerne, you receive automatic membership of the HSCL. Your employee card (CampusCard) with HSCL logo acts as your ID. You can choose from the vast array of activities on offer at the HSCL

Contact

University of Lucerne
Welcome Centre
Frohburgstrasse 3, Room 4.A21
P.O. Box 4466
6002 Lucerne
Switzerland

Opening hours
Monday - Friday 10.00 am – 12.00 pm
or by appointment