Obtaining Swiss nationality

I am of Swiss ancestry. How can I claim Swiss citizenship?

If you were born abroad to a Swiss parent and have another citizenship, you must be registered at a Swiss authority abroad or in Switzerland before reaching the age of 25 (Swiss Citizenship Act, entry into force 1.1.2018).  Once this period has expired, you may under certain conditions apply for your Swiss citizenship to be reinstated.

You must prove a close connection with Switzerland in order to have your citizenship reinstated.

Can I pass my Swiss citizenship on to my children?

Children with one Swiss parent are automatically born Swiss if the parents are married. They are also automatically Swiss if their mother is Swiss.

Children under 18 years of age with a Swiss father, but whose parents are not married, may automatically become Swiss if the father recognises them before they reach the age of majority.

Children of at least one parent with Swiss citizenship may apply for naturalisation up until their 22nd birthday.

 To do so, they will have to prove close ties with Switzerland, including at least five years of residence in Switzerland.

After the age of 22, they will be treated no differently from other foreign nationals applying for Swiss citizenship.

Am I eligible for Swiss nationality?

If you have been resident in Switzerland for 12 years you may apply for naturalisation. Years spent in Switzerland between the ages of 10 and 20 count as double.

Foreign nationals married to Swiss citizens can apply for facilitated naturalisation. You must have been in a stable marriage for at least three years, and have lived in Switzerland for a total of five years.  The last 12 months must have been spent entirely in Switzerland.  Like all applicants, foreign spouses must show that they are well integrated in Switzerland.

Your initial application is examined by the State Secretariat for Migration, but both the canton and commune of residence have their own requirements.   The fee payable also varies according to your place of residence.

The final decision is taken by the commune in which you are resident.  In some places this decision is taken by a panel, in others by a vote of all citizens of the commune.

How do I acquire Swiss citizenship?

In addition to naturalisation and adoption (for minors only), Swiss citizenship can also be obtained by descent. Acquiring nationality by descent from the father or mother is referred to as “ius sanguinis”, and this law is also applicable in for example Germany and Austria. In other countries including the United States, Canada and Australia, nationality is acquired by “ius soli”, based on the country in which you are born.