Swiss naturalization procedures are known to be the most strict and stringent, for many seeking to obtain a Swiss citizenship is both a long and troublesome odyssey. Nevertheless Swiss citizenship laws have experienced a number of dramatic changes enabling eligible individuals to obtain a Swiss citizenship easily. In this blog we answer a few of the mind-boggling questions on obtaining a Swiss citizenship and offer some hands-on advice on applying for a Swiss passport.
Who is Eligible for Naturalization?
Naturalization procedures differ from one country to the other, new rules in Switzerland have eased the process for some. For example as opposed to the past, a Swiss woman will no longer have to relinquish her Swiss citizenship if she marries a foreigner. Unlike other countries including the United States for example, Switzerland does not grant a child citizenship if he or she is born in Switzerland.
If a child is born to one parent who is Swiss then he is automatically granted citizenship. Switzerland allows individuals to hold multiple nationalities if they choose to do so. If an individual losses previous citizenship, that will depend on the rules of the other country not on Swiss rules.
How to Obtain Swiss Citizenship
Foreigners who have been living in Switzerland continuously for 12 years or more are eligible to apply for Swiss citizenship. A number of factors are taken into account; these include integration into Swiss life and its customs and traditions. A citizen seeking to obtain a citizenship will have to speak one of the country’s official languages, comply with Swiss rules of law, and not endanger Switzerland’s internal or external security.
Once an individual has his track record checked, the State Secretariat for Migration will then decide whether to grant the request for the process of naturalization, nevertheless this does not mean that citizenship is certain. Cantons and municipalities will also have their say, after submitting your application you may be invited for an interview.
The naturalization process differs from canton to the other. In some cantons you might be required to take a verbal or written test, in other circumstances the naturalization process could be relegated to the communal assembly to decide.
Fast Track Citizenship Procedures
Foreign individuals married to a Swiss citizen, or children of one Swiss parent are eligible to apply for fast track citizenship. Spouses of foreigners married to a Swiss for at least three years and have lived in Switzerland for five years can also apply for fast track citizenship. Individuals with ‘close-knit ties’ to Switzerland are eligible to apply for the fast track procedure even if they live abroad.
Children of Swiss parents who are not yet 22 years old and did not get their citizenship can use the fast track application procedure, provided that they have lived in Switzerland for five years continuously. Children born out of wedlock to Swiss fathers can apply for fast track citizenship before they turn 22 years old, provided that the father recognizes the child as his.
How to Apply for a Swiss Passport
Obtaining a Swiss passport will require that you provide a number of identities at the official registration office in your commune or at your local canton’s passport office, you can apply online or by phone. Upon examining your information and credentials you will have to visit the passport office to provide personal information, i.e. fingerprints, photo and signature and pay your passport fees. After your interview you will be receive the passport within 10 working days by registered mail or within 30 days to an address outside Switzerland.
FERZ SA provides extensive information on all naturalization and immigration processes along with the ability to help clients navigate passport applications smoothly and efficiently.