The Swiss government has recently changed the requirements to become a citizen of Switzerland, and we’ve written this guide to help you understand what exactly you need to do in order to make your life in Switzerland easier and less stressful.
In the eyes of many people, Switzerland has one of the best passports in the world – and for good reason! It gives you free access to over 180 countries without needing a visa, as well as providing excellent healthcare, safe food and water, financial stability, strong rule of law, and much more!
But if you want to become a citizen, it can be quite difficult to do so through legal means. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about Switzerland citizenship so that you can apply by 2022!
Introduction to Swiss citizenship
Switzerland is one of most beautiful and diverse countries in Europe, with idyllic snow-capped mountains, picturesque lakes and rivers, glamorous cities, traditional alpine villages and much more. It’s little wonder that nearly 30 million tourists visit Switzerland every year – drawn by its unique combination of stunning scenery, low crime rate and high quality of life.
Naturally then, Swiss citizenship is a very popular option for expats who are looking to make their home in Europe. In fact it’s one of our most searched pages on Expatistan! This page will tell you everything you need to know about obtaining Swiss citizenship – from eligibility requirements to tax obligations.
While these are distinct processes and each with its own requirements, one thing that unites them is that Switzerland is extremely protective of its citizenship status and has very strict laws regarding dual citizenship as well as expatriation. Before we get into specifics on how to apply for Swiss citizenship, let’s take a look at some basic information about acquiring it.
Swiss citizenship benefits
There are some benefits of becoming a Swiss citizen, including:
- the right to reside in Switzerland even if you spend a period of time living elsewhere
- right to vote in Swiss elections and stand for public office
- the right to a Swiss passport, which is ranked third on the passport power index with visa-free access to over 150 countries.
However, there are also obligations with Swiss citizenship. One of these is mandatory military service if you’re an able-bodied male adult.
Citizenship by birth or descent in Switzerland
A person is a Swiss citizen if at least one parent is a Swiss citizen. A child becomes a Swiss citizen at birth if both parents are unknown, and at least one of them has resided in Switzerland or in an adjacent state for 10 years after their 18th birthday, or five years after his 16th birthday if he has exercised parental authority over his minor siblings.
is acquired upon birth within Switzerland when at least one parent is a Swiss citizen or holds a permanent residence permit. Children of parents who have been naturalized as Swiss citizens, regardless of whether they themselves were born in Switzerland or not, are Swiss citizens.
However, even if you were born in Switzerland and one of your parents is a Swiss citizen but neither parent has been naturalized as a Swiss citizen, you may not be automatically entitled to citizenship. It depends on whether you satisfy all requirements set out by law.
Getting citizenship by naturalization in Switzerland
If you want to become a Swiss citizen by naturalization, it’s not enough to just live in Switzerland. To apply, you’ll need to have been married to a Swiss or be part of an inter-community family. If you can prove that you meet these criteria, your application will be successful in 70% of cases on average.
Whether or not your application is successful depends on whether there are any legal objections by authorities against granting citizenship. This particularly applies to someone who has lived less than five years in Switzerland as well as someone with close family ties abroad and whose spouse lives abroad more than six months a year.
You may be required to renounce your previous nationality if you wish to become a naturalized citizen of Switzerland. In general, you must have lived in Switzerland as a permanent resident for 12 years before applying. You will need to prove that you have adequate basic knowledge of one of Switzerland’s official languages—German, French or Italian—to become a citizen and take an exam on Swiss history and politics.
Getting citizenship by marriage in Switzerland
In most cases, you and your spouse must have been married for at least 2 years before filing a joint application. If you are filing a joint application together and are currently divorced, then there is no minimum marriage duration requirement. However, if your divorce hasn’t been finalized, but your divorce date is close to when you plan on filing then you should provide supporting documents such as current proof of status from all countries involved (US or Germany), death certificate from any previous marriages that were dissolved or nullified (if any), etc.
The easiest way to get citizenship is by marrying a Swiss citizen. To do so, however, you’ll need to meet certain requirements set by Swiss authorities and live in Switzerland for at least five years before applying. Our step-by-step guide explains everything you need to know about how to get citizenship by marriage.
Switzerland’s exact immigration policies can change regularly and vary greatly depending on your individual situation; we recommend speaking with an immigration attorney or qualified advisor if you’re considering applying under one of these programs. Always keep in mind that no matter how well-researched or accurate any information may be it is always wise to conduct your own due diligence before making any decisions regarding citizenship programs offered within foreign countries like Switzerland.
Requirements for citizenship
The additional requirements for citizenship through regular naturalization in Switzerland at the federal level are:
- knowledge of a Swiss national language spoken to B1 level and written to A2 level (introduced as part of the 2018 Swiss Citizenship Act)
- integration into Swiss life and familiarity with Swiss customs
- compliance with Swiss rule of law
- posing no danger to Switzerland’s internal or external security
- no period spent on social welfare benefits within the past three years, unless you give back the amount received.
How to apply for citizenship through naturalization
The application process, fees, and processing time varies across the Swiss cantons and communes. Typically it takes over a year and can cost over CHF 1,000. This is because of the multi-stage process.
You need to make your application through your local canton or commune. The exact process depends on the laws within your canton. Contact your cantonal naturalization authority for information or see here to find the addresses of federal, cantonal, and communal authorities in Switzerland.
You will need to submit:
- application form (available through your cantonal naturalization authority)
- proof of C residence permit
- proof of language proficiency acquired from a registered language school in Switzerland
Additional documents will depend on your Swiss canton or commune.
Getting citizenship as a refugee in Switzerland
Since 2005, if you are a stateless person and have been living in Switzerland or a Schengen country since 2013. It’s possible to apply for citizenship as a refugee. To qualify as a refugee, you will need to prove that you have no nationality and that returning to your home country is not an option. For most people who live in Switzerland, they can apply after five years.
If you’re a refugee in Switzerland, your legal status and ability to live in Switzerland is regulated by Swiss Asylum Law. As a citizen of another country and without valid documents. You don’t have citizenship rights and are typically banned from working.
If you are granted asylum or residence in Switzerland (also called subsidiary protection), you’ll be given permission to live in Switzerland, but not to work. Once your application has been accepted, however, it’s possible to apply for Swiss citizenship after 12 years of legal residence.
Dual nationality in Switzerland
Article 12 of Switzerland’s Federal Constitution requires that any individual seeking naturalization as a Swiss citizen must renounce their old nationality. However, many people who are otherwise eligible to become Swiss citizens have found exceptions to Article 12; in some cases, they have managed to obtain dual citizenship without ever having to renounce their original nationality. This post will introduce you to exceptions to Article 12 and explain how they can be applied by anyone looking for a Swiss passport.
Citizenship appeals and complaints in Switzerland
Switzerland citizenship is a popular route for foreign nationals seeking legal residency and eventual naturalization. Switzerland has strict naturalization laws and requires that applicants reside in Switzerland after becoming residents. But it’s possible to become a Swiss citizen through either citizenship by descent or naturalization. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements in both categories before they can apply.
Those with criminal records are automatically disqualified from Swiss citizenship by descent or naturalization. But those applying through naturalization can have their application dismissed. If they have multiple convictions within a five-year period. There are numerous benefits to living and working in Switzerland. As well as numerous potential pitfalls to be aware of if you’re considering moving there. The following guide should help you make an informed decision about your application.
When you live in a country that is one of world’s strongest economies. It’s easy to understand why they would be so selective. When it comes to allowing foreign residents into their borders. For those with a passion for Switzerland and a substantial net worth. There are options available – but only if you follow all of their rules. Switzerland Citizenship:
The Complete Guide for 2022 should help anyone interested in gaining citizenship in Switzerland find everything they need. This resource will also be an important asset if you plan on applying. And obtaining citizenship in other countries too (considering it serves as a template you can easily use as needed).
Applying to become a citizen of Switzerland should be a long-term goal. As it will take time for all documents to clear properly before you can actually become eligible for citizenship. When your family is ready to move, work with an experienced immigration professional who understands Swiss immigration law and how it relates to new citizens from other countries. Good Luck!!!
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