For many years, the Swiss citizenship has been one of the most prestigious in the world. This is explained by the fact that it allows you to visit practically all countries in the world without visa, and it also gives you the opportunity to live in one of the most developed and stable nations on earth. In the following article, we are going to discuss the new requirements for naturalization that came into effect on 1 January 2018. It is important to mention that the present article deals exclusively with the ordinary naturalization procedure and not the simplified procedure (applicable to the partner of a Swiss citizen).
Criteria for the acquisition of Swiss citizenship through naturalization
Duration of stay in Switzerland: At the time of filing the application for naturalization, the candidate must have resided in Switzerland for at least 10 years, three of which must have been in the five years prior to filing the application.
Duration of residency in a canton or a town: Since this criterion varies from one canton to another, we are putting at your disposal a link to the official website of the State Secretariat for Migration, where you will find the requirements applicable to each Swiss canton.
Special system for the computation of children’s duration of stay: The time spent in Switzerland between the ages of 8 and 18 counts as double, but requires a minimum stay of 6 years in Switzerland.
Types of permits taken into account for the computation of the duration of stay: When calculating 10 years of residence, the years spent as a holder of B and C Permits are only taken into account (L and N permits are not taken into account, while half of the period of residence is computed when holding an F permit).
When can I apply for naturalization? : The application is only deemed valid insofar as the 10-year-residency requirement is met at the time of filing the application.
Under which provisions will my application be processed? : Should you meet all the requirements and submit your application after 01.01.2018, it will be processed under new regulations.
Which type of Permit entitles me to apply for naturalization? : An application for naturalization is open to holders of a permanent residence permit. In this regard, you may be interested to read our article on the requirements for obtaining the C Permit.
A candidate aspiring for the obtainment of Swiss citizenship:
- Shows respect for the fundamental principles enshrined in the Federal Constitution;
- Does not violate the Swiss law (Having a criminal record or facing criminal charges is an obstacle to obtaining the Swiss citizenship);
- Does not rely on social assistance and is not prosecuted for unpaid debts (the new legislation points out that the candidate must not have benefited from social assistance in the three years prior to filing the application) *;
- Participates in economic life (as employee or by running his own business) or acquires an education;
- Participates in social and cultural life of the town / Canton (Candidate’s affiliation with local sports, cultural or musical associations impacts positively his naturalization procedure);
- Establishes contacts with local population;
- Demonstrates sufficient knowledge of Switzerland’s geographical, historic and political features;
- Demonstrates sufficient knowledge of one of the official languages (The level of proficiency required by law is level B1 in Oral and level A2 in writing).
As you may have noticed, most of the criteria are similar to the requirements for obtaining the permanent residence permit (C Permit). Some of the integration criteria are not innovative (They had been used by some Swiss cantons prior to entry into force of the new legislation), but the Parliament has chosen to enshrine them in the new legislation in order to unify the procedure on federal level.
It is important to point out that the average duration of a general naturalization procedure amounts to two years.
*Nevertheless, a candidate could file an application for naturalization, should he fully reimburse the social assistance allowances that he had collected in the three years prior to filing the application.
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