Swiss citizenship – naturalisation

Swiss passport
Swiss passport

If you want to become Swiss, there are two ways to get Swiss citizenship, simplified naturalisation and regular naturalisation.

Simplified naturalisation

These are the requirements for simplified naturalisation.

  • You must have been married for at least three years to a Swiss citizen and also have lived in Switzerland for one whole year without interruption and in total five years. Your Swiss spouse must have had Swiss citizenship before getting married.
  • If you live abroad, you must have been married to a Swiss citizen for at least six years. Should this be the case, you must also prove a close connection to Switzerland. You can apply through the Swiss Consulate or other relevant Swiss authority responsible for your area.
  • One of your parents is Swiss; in this case, you must apply for citizenship before the age of 22.

However, these are just the basic requirements. The following aspects are also taken into consideration.

  • You must be integrated into Switzerland (or be willing to undergo integration).
  • You must not endanger either the internal or external security of Switzerland.
  • You must comply with the Swiss rule of law.

If you are interested in applying for citizenship, you can request an application for simplified naturalisation by email from the State Secretariat for Migration, Naturalisation Section. The email address is einbuergerung@bfm.admin.ch. You may also submit your application by email.

The federal government retains the power of decision whether to grant your application or not. However, the cantons and communes retain the right of appeal and the right to be heard. A decision is normally taken within 1.5 years. You will still need patience after receiving the decision from the federal government; the canton or commune have the right to appeal within two months of the decision. If they do not appeal, you will receive your definitive citizenship papers. These can then be used to obtain a passport or ID card.

The costs for the whole procedure for the naturalisation of spouses are approximately 1,500 CHF. This is without the extra costs for a passport or ID card. Minors and applicants who live abroad generally pay less. The State Secretariat for Migration can give you a more detailed breakdown of the costs.

Regular naturalisation

Regular naturalisation is a process that goes through three authorities: federal, cantonal and communal.

These are the requirements for regular naturalisation.

  • You must have lived in Switzerland for at least 12 years. Years between the ages of 10 and 12 count as double.
  • You must be both socially and culturally integrated into the community.
  • You must not endanger either the internal or external security of Switzerland.
  • You must comply with the Swiss rule of law.

In practise, the length of time required for processing citizenship requests depends on where you live; it varies from canton to canton and from commune to commune.

Some steps on the way to citizenship may include handing in a CV, a vote by the communal assembly as well as citizenship and language tests. Depending on the cantonal requirements, you might have to submit an application for regular naturalisation to the canton, the commune or the State Secretariat for Migration. Information on how to go about this is available from the cantonal or communal authorities.

It is worth keeping in mind, however, that every move you make within Switzerland can affect the naturalisation process. If you absolutely have to move, you should get permission from the commune / canton.

There are even differences in costs depending on where you apply for naturalisation. They are usually around 3,000 CHF. Additional costs which may occur are for obtaining a proof of residence, a no criminal record certificate, a no debt certificate and an ID card or passport.

 

Swiss citizenship is a good thing to have and if you want to achieve this goal, you can do so. We would like to help you on your way and provide many ways for you to learn our language.

 

We can only give you some advice on the subject of naturalisation and are not liable for the information provided n this site. To get current information on this subject, please refer to www.admin.ch.

 

Naturalisation as a Swiss citizen
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