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How to Get Citizenship in Switzerland

How to Get Citizenship in Switzerland

Delving into the realm of Swiss citizenship opens up several possibilities within a country renowned for its global diplomacy, and robust economic framework. This guide explains the various routes, requirements, and steps to navigate the process of acquiring citizenship in this country. You are also welcome to get in touch with our immigration lawyers to learn in detail about how to get citizenship in Switzerland

Different ways to get citizenship in Switzerland

Understanding how to get citizenship in Switzerland is a thorough and often complex process that involves meeting specific requirements and going through various stages of assessment. Switzerland’s allure extends beyond its idyllic landscapes, embracing a way of life that values innovation, inclusivity, and a high quality of living.

 Quick Facts 
 Swiss citizenshipSwiss citizenship is highly valued, granting individuals the right to live, work, and participate fully in Swiss society. 

 Citizenship by descent

Individuals with at least one Swiss parent are eligible for Swiss citizenship by descent, regardless of their place of birth.

 Residence period

 Foreigners must have lived in Switzerland for at least 10 years before applying for Swiss citizenship.

 Language proficiency Applicants need to demonstrate language proficiency in the local Swiss language of their canton (usually German, French, etc.)
Naturalization requirements

Foreigners can apply for Swiss citizenship through naturalization, if they have Settlement C permit.

 No dual citizenship restriction

Switzerland generally allows dual citizenship, so citizens may maintain their original nationality alongside Swiss citizenship. 

 Swiss political system

 Swiss citizens have the right to vote in referendums and elections, actively participating in the country’s political process.

 Cantonal and communal citizenship

Switzerland has a decentralized system, with cantonal and communal citizenships in addition to Swiss federal citizenship. 

Swiss passport 

 Swiss citizens hold one of the most powerful passports globally, granting visa-free access to 116 countries.

 Swiss abroadSwiss citizenship can also be acquired by Swiss citizens born abroad or through marriage to a Swiss citizen. 
 Military service

 Swiss men aged 18 to 34 are subject to compulsory military service, while women have the option to serve in the military.

 Swiss education system

Switzerland boasts an excellent education system, providing high-quality education from primary to tertiary levels. 

 Direct democracy

Switzerland is known for its direct democracy, where citizens can propose and vote on laws through referendums. 

 Swiss citizenship ceremony

The process of acquiring citizenship in Switzerland often includes a ceremony, symbolizing integration and acceptance. 

 Cultural integration   Integration into Swiss culture and society is assessed, including knowledge of Swiss customs, traditions, and values.

Here are three common ways described by our immigration lawyers to help you get Swiss citizenship:

  1. Naturalization through Regular Procedure

This is the most common way to get citizenship in Switzerland. It implies passing certain stages related to living, language, and integration, as well as other requirements. For instance;

  • Residence requirement: Typically, you need to have lived in Switzerland for almost 12 years, which can vary depending on your canton of residence and other factors. If you have fulfilled this requirement, please consult with our Swiss immigration lawyers to learn about the next steps. They can guide you on how to get citizenship in Switzerland;
  • Language proficiency: You need to have good spoken and writing levels in at least one of the official languages of the canton you are residing in. This usually involves passing language tests. Applicants must demonstrate at least a B1 level of proficiency in one of the national languages, which include German, French, Italian, and Romansh;
  • Integration and assimilation: You should have integrated into Swiss society, adhered to Swiss customs, and demonstrated a willingness to contribute positively to the community;
  • Criminal record check: You must have a clean criminal record and demonstrate good behavior;
  • Financial stability: You should be financially self-sufficient and not reliant on social assistance;
  • Application and approval: You should submit your application to the local authorities in your canton. These must approve the application, followed by its forwarding to the national immigration bodies.
  • Federal approval: The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) reviews your application at the federal level. If approved, you may be invited to a naturalization ceremony where you will take an oath of allegiance to Switzerland.

If you have any further questions about the requirements, please consult with our immigration attorneys in Switzerland.

2. Facilitated Naturalization for Third-Generation Immigrants

This process is designed for foreign nationals whose grandparents were Swiss citizens. It is a simplified procedure aimed at recognizing the historical ties of these individuals to Switzerland. If you are planning to immigrate to Switzerland by facilitated naturalization, please consult with our attorneys. Additionally, please note that the requirements have been made stricter. Applicants must possess a C permit in Switzerland, and complete a minimum of 5 years of schooling within the national education system. These last two conditions also extend to at least one of the parents. Furthermore, the parents must have resided in the country for a minimum of 10 years. It is also essential for at least one of the grandparents to either be a native or have held a C permit in Switzerland for a designated period.

If you have any further questions about how to get citizenship in Switzerland through facilitated naturalization, please get our legal help. Our immigration lawyers can also assist you if you are seeking help to apply for a residence permit in Switzerland

3. Citizenship in Switzerland by marriage 

Marrying a Swiss citizen does not grant immediate citizenship, but it can expedite the naturalization process. You need to be married to a Swiss citizen and have lived in Switzerland for a certain period, often shorter than the requirement for regular naturalization. For instance; if you and your partner are seeking citizenship as a couple, both of you will need to fulfill the 10-year residency requirement. These are the three pathways to moving to Switzerland and becoming a citizen. 

B-permit in Switzerland 

B permit in Switzerland refers to a residence permit. It is officially known as the “Residence Permit for Gainful Employment” (Aufenthaltsbewilligung) and is issued to foreign nationals who wish to live and work in Switzerland for an extended period. The B permit in Switzerland allows non-EU/EFTA citizens to reside and work for more than three months.

Immigrants in Switzerland 2022

Please find below the immigration statistics in Switzerland for the year 2022:

  • In the year 2022, the net migration of permanent foreign residents saw a year-on-year increase of 81,345 individuals, marking a rise of 19,819 compared to the preceding year; 
  • The overall influx of immigrants surged by 14.8 percent in 2022;
  • By the conclusion of December 2022, the permanent foreign national population residing in Switzerland numbered 2,241,854.

So, if you are interested in getting citizenship in Switzerland, it is crucial to thoroughly research the requirements of your specific canton. Or you can also contact our immigration lawyers in Switzerland for the most up-to-date information before starting the citizenship application process.