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What I have to know upon my arrival

The first thing to do upon your arrival at the Department of Biochemistry | Working in Switzerland | Accommodation | Working permit | I have a car | My children | Useful links

The first thing to do upon your arrival at the Department of Biochemistry

You should see Monique Jayet Herzstein, office F405.


Working in Switzerland

Switzerland signed « bilateral agreements » with the European Union and one of them deals with the free movement of citizens. This agreement came into force on the first of June 2002 and opens progressively the labour market on both sides. All restrictions will be completely abolished by 2014 and only citizens of the EU and the EFTA will benefit of those measures. We therefore present below successively the situation for Europeans and for citizens of other countries:

1. European citizens (EU/EFTA)
As of the first of June 2002, two residence permits have been introduced, one for a short period stay (12 months) and the other for a long period stay (5 years). Holders of those permits will be  allowed to work on the entire Swiss territory, to live with their families and also to change  employer or move to another canton. However, for hiring and during the transitory period, priority will be given to Swiss citizens and quotas (limited number of permits for each employment category) will be maintained respectively until 2004 and 2007. The right to settle in Switzerland  will also be granted to persons without profit-making activity who have enough financial means to live.
Other fields will be concerned by this agreement:
- Switzerland will coordinate its social security system with the system of the EU in order to allow the free movement of persons. Swiss nationals and citizens from the Community will  benefit alike from the equality of treatment.
- Degrees and certificates will be acknowledged on both parts. The national priority will be abolished after two years.
Entry in Switzerland
As of the first of June, any European citizen can enter Switzerland freely with his passport (or identity card) and look for work. When he has found a job, the DB will send in a hiring request to the « Contrôle des habitants » (Civil registration Office). The authorities will check the work and  salary conditions, the social security benefits, etc. The employee is not allowed to start working before this procedure has been completed.

2. Nationals of other countries
This procedure is more complicated. Before coming to Switzerland, a non-European alien who would like to work in the country must obtain an entry authorization (assurance of residence permit). Once this authorization is granted, the residence and work permits will normally follow.




Lausanne is a small city of 200,000 inhabitants. Due to its small size, it does not have a residence facility for its university campus and thus, it is up to each individual to find somewhere to live.
Please note that the small size vs. its relatively large population makes Lausanne’s housing situation particularly difficult, and the UNIL cannot guarantee accommodation to all of its students. Nevertheless, we do everything in our power to find accommodation where possible as well as provide advice and assistance to those struggling to find accommodation on their own.

For more information : Accommodation Service website of the University of Lausanne


➢ Real estate and rental agencies or “gerances”
➢ Specialist Internet search engines
➢ Ads in local newspapers
➢ House hunters
➢ Flat sharing options and sublet

List of Real estate and rental agencies

Bernard Nicod - Avenue de la Gare 26 - 021 311 11 11
Cofideco SA - Place de la Palud 7 - 021 311 32 42 
Cogestim SA - Etraz 5 - 021 321 77 77 
De Rham - Av. Mon-Repos 14 - 021 345 11 45 
Domicim - Rue Centrale 26 - 021 213 70 00 
Duboux SA - Av. Georgette 6 - 021 321 50 70 
Galland & Cie - Rue St-Pierre 3 - 021 310 25 25 
Gestimmob Sàrl - Av. Villamont 23 - 021 340 68 68 
NewHome.ch - régie "on-line"
Livit SA - Montchoisi 35 - 021 613 28 28 
NAEF Immobilier SA - Pl. Chauderon 16 - 021 318 77 77 
OK Logements - Rue de Bourg 27 - 021 323 55 16 
PBBG - Rue Beau-Séjour 15 - 021 345 36 36 
Privamob SA - Av. Tissot 18 - 021 321 50 50 
Privera SA - Rue des Terreaux 17 - 021 340 92 00 
Publiaz - 021 633 51 44 
Régie Braun - Rue Centrale 5 - 021 342 52 52 
Régimo Lausanne SA - Ch. de Mornex 38 - 021 317 58 58 
Retraites Populaires - "on-line" 
Rilsa - Rue du Lion-d'Or 6 - 021 321 52 10 
Rosset SA - Av. Tivoli 2 - 021 313 43 13 
Wincasa - Av. Rumine 20 - 021 310 61 00 
Foncia Léman - Pl. Benjamin-Constant 2 - 021 310 15 15

Specialist Internet search engines

Immoscout 24

Flat sharing options and sublet



House hunters


Homequest carries out intensive research and gives objective advice during all phases of your search for an apartment to rent. They provide an in-depth service, right up to the transfer of keys to your new apartment. The fees are calculated in proportion the rental budget and are borne by the renter for the chosen apartment.

Bed and Breakfast Epalinges

Bed and Breakfast "La Renardière"

The bed and Breakfast La Renardière in Epalinges (near the Department of Biochemistry) offers long-term accommodation to guests staying for several weeks or months. A further possibility of long-term accommodation is a renovated duplex situated 200m from the metro M2. Four bedrooms sharing a bathroom are available from CHF 40. - Per day. For more information please contact: info@bnb-epalinges.ch

Accommodation listings

To receive a listing of available accommodation for students studying at the Department of Biochemistry in Epalinges, please contact esmeralda.cuzzupe@unil.ch


Accommodation listings are reserved exclusively for students who are pre-registered at the University of Lausanne, who do not yet have personal access to the resources of the University’s IT Services via a username and password.

Rental guarantee


A company helping to pay rental deposits at a low interest rate.


Working permit

The type of permit you will be given depends on the kind of work you are seeking in Switzerland and also on the country you are from. A difference is made between citizens of the European  Union and the EFTA and the citizens of all other third party countries.

1. Permits for Europeans (EU/EFTA)

1.1 Two new permits are available for citizens of the EU and the EFTA: the L Permit is a short-term residence authorization valid for maximum one year. This permit replaces the former permit for seasonal workers. This permit allows the employee to bring his family along to live with him in Switzerland.
The B Permit is given to a salaried employee who has a work contract for a year or more. It is valid one year and is automatically renewed annually for a maximum of 5 years.
1.2 Authorization for cross-border commuters (G Permit). There are no quotas fixed for this type of permit and to qualify you have to prove that you have lived in the border region for at least 6 months. Cross-border commuters must return home once a week.
1.3 PhD students and postgraduates: B Permit valid for a limited period. The European educational programs are not included in the bilateral agreements. However, European students benefit from a simplified procedure for obtaining this permit (see 2.5). The students will have to be insured against illness and accidents. A rejoicing innovation is that their family is allowed to come along to live with them.

2. Citizens of other countries
2.1 Salaried employees: B Permit. The annual quotas will be abolished for Europeans in 2007. This will not be the case for non- European citizens. A limited number of permits are issued every year. The decision of the Labour and Employment Office of the local canton is based on the overall economic situation and on the justification given by the employer. This permit is valid one year, but it is almost surely renewed automatically - on request - if you do not change employer or move to another canton. Moreover, it can be converted into a C Permit after a certain number of years (depending on the country of origin). The B Permit allows you and your whole family to live in Switzerland; but you are the only one authorized to work. The spouse or husband may be granted a second work permit depending on her or his profession and the economic situation.


I have a car

Epalinges is situated near the motorway exit in the direction of Berne. You can find information and a map on the homepage of the Department of Biochemistry. If you want to use the car park you have to buy at the reception a sticker valid for a year.
The foreign driving license and number plates are valid for a year. During this period your car will be insured by your foreign insurance company.

1. Driving license

Before the end of the first year of their stay, European citizens will have to pay a certain fee to exchange the driving license from their home country for the Swiss driving license. (After this deadline, it might be necessary to pass the tests to obtain the Swiss driving license). Citizens of other countries may be asked to pass the written driving test or even the practical driving test.

2. Licence plates
After a year your car must be registered in Switzerland and be equipped with Swiss license plates, unless you can prove that you go back twice a month to your home country.
· Students (postgraduates and doctorants) will only be granted a temporary status, i.e. they will only be granted the "Z" number plates which are expensive and have to be renewed every year.
· Holders of other types of residence permits will be allowed to clear their car through customs and to take Swiss license plates.  The car will have to be insured in Switzerland: you will be asked to show a certificate of insurance in order to obtain the plate.

3. Car parks in Lausanne

There are five peripheral car parks at the outskirts of Lausanne. You can buy a seasonal ticket and park your car there then take the public transport to get to the center of the city. If you drive to the center of the city you can go to one of the many relatively well indicated underground car parks (they are more expensive though).

4. Information
Service des automobiles et de la navigation de Lausanne (Road traffic and navigation office of the city of Lausanne): 110, Av. du Grey, 1014 Lausanne. Tel. 41 (0)21 316 82 10.


My children

Achieving a scientific career often involves a lot of traveling and frequent moving. This becomes more complicated when you have children and you need to plan to integrate them into a new environment.

1. Small children
Day nurseries (crèches) are of two kinds: institutions subsidized by public funds and private institutions. State nurseries give priority to children living in the municipality (commune) and their fees are established according to the parents' income. Private nurseries accept all children but their fees are much higher.
Since the number of available places does not meet the demand, most of these institutions are overwhelmed with applications and you may have to register a year in advance to be on a waiting list. Moreover you have to find out if their opening times correspond to your working hours.
An alternative is to turn to the official child minder network (called «mamans de jour»). But this again is insufficient to meet all working parents' needs. The last possibility is to pin up a notice in your neighborhood to appeal to a non official child minder and then rely on your instinct to find the ideal person.
Parents or future parents can obtain a list of day nurseries classified to residential area from the following address:
Bureau d'information aux parents BIP
Tour, 41
1004 Lausanne
Tel. 41 (0)21 323 10 51
The website http://www.lausanne-famille.ch gives you all relevant addresses on this subject as well as on other matters relating to children (in French only).
Another website includes the French part of Switzerland: http://www.LaFamily.ch

2. Schooling
Schooling is compulsory from the age of 6 (primary school followed by secondary school).
Before compulsory school, two years of optional kindergarten are highly recommended. The state school is non-religious and free, including textbooks; but other school material is paid by parents. Some schools have a canteen where pupils can eat lunch. As the lunch break is quite long, parents who work all day should find a child minder to whom their children can go at noon.

3. Schedules and ages

Kindergarten: Children can start kindergarten from the age of 4. During the first year they only go in the morning at 8.30. During the second year they also go in progressively on afternoons.
The schedule varies from one school to another.
Primary school: for children aged 6 to 10. Schedule from 8.30am to 11.50am and from 2pm to 3.40pm.
Secondary school: for children aged 11 to 15. This is the end of the compulsory school.
Children can then stay on and go to high school which is optional and lasts 2 to 4 years
according to the chosen subjects.
Exceptions can be allowed if it is clearly in the child's benefit.
Children who do not speak French are sent to the department of foreign pupils where they will receive a test and be directed to the classes corresponding to their level: normal classes with extra French lessons or special classes for non French speaking background.

4. How to register your child in the state schools of Lausanne

· Register at the "Contrôle des habitants" (Civil registration office) rue Beauséjour 8
· Register at the "Administration communale des écoles" (School authorities) Place
Chauderon 9, Tel. 41 (0)21 617 72 55
· Call at the "Service de santé des écoles de la ville de Lausanne" (School Health Service), in
the same building, to show the vaccination booklet of your child and to fill out a form on your
child's health condition.
Parents living outside Lausanne should call at the local authorities of their commune.
If you wish to send your child to a private school, contact the "Association vaudoise des écoles privées" AVDEP (Private schools association of the canton de Vaud)
Tel. 41 (0)21 617 72 55 or: www.avdep.ch

Here are the addresses of the nurseries around the BIL:

La Pépinière (nursery)
Bois-Murat, 34
41 (0)21 652 55 83

La Ribambelle (nursery)
Marcel-Régamey, 1
41 (0)21 784 09 10

La Trottinette (school children)
Bois-Murat, 13
41 (0)21 653 70 53

La Courte échelle (school children)
Croix Blanche, 46
41 (0)21 784 09 62

Lausanne 1010 (Chailly area)
Centre de la Petite Enfance (6 weeks - 7 years)
Boissonnet, 43
41 (0)21 652 83 47

Centre de vie enfantine de la Grangette (2 months - 7 years)
Eterpeys 5, 24-28
41 (0)21 653 21 72

La Gardoche (2,5 - 7 years)
Rte de Berne, 19-21
41 (0)21 653 13 53

Lausanne 1012 (Sallaz area)
La Maison des Enfants (2 months - 6 years)
Temple, 3
41 (0)21 653 11 35

La Pouponnière et l'Abri (6 weeks - 6 years)
Beaumont, 48
41 (0)21 651 61 51

Les Pitchounet (18 months - 6 years)
Devin, 74
41 (0)21 652 54 40

Ecublens (University Campus)
Garderie la Croquignole (2 months - 4 years)
Chemin des Triaudes, 16
41 (0)21 693 73 00

Garderie Polychinelle (2 months - 5 years)
EPFL Pavillon A
1015 Ecublens
41 (0)21 693 73 14


Chemin des Boveresses 155 - CH-1066 Epalinges  - Switzerland  -  Tel. +41 21 692 5700  -  Fax +41 21 692 5705
Swiss University