Citizenship

This page contains the information you may need if you are considering applying for Swiss citizenship, whether for yourself, your child or your partner.

However, if you are unable to find the information you were looking for on this page, the Swiss representation covering your place of residence will be pleased to answer any questions you may have.

Swiss citizenship: Act before it’s too late

The Federal Assembly has decided in 2014 to tighten the rules regarding Swiss citizenship. It had been widely felt in the country that foreigners can obtain it too easily and without being sufficiently integrated in our society. In future, citizenship applicants have to know one of our national languages, may not be social aid beneficiaries, must respect our public order and the principles of our Constitution, participate in the economic life, encourage the integration of their families into Swiss society, respect our way of life and of course not be a potential threat to the security of our nation. These changes were all overdue.

This revision of the citizenship law had been caused by abuses in Switzerland and had nothing to do with the descendants of Swiss citizens living in other countries, for example New Zealand, who might want to recover Swiss citizenship. However, the Federal Assembly has decided that also these people must fulfill the same conditions in the future if they want to become Swiss citizens. In particular, they must legally reside in Switzerland. This is an important change compared to the actual situation when Swiss descendants with close ties to Switzerland, for example to a Swiss Club, had been able to recover the citizenship of their ancestors while living abroad, for example in New Zealand.

The new law will enter into force on 1 January 2018. Complete applications by residents of New Zealand in this situation can be received by the Embassy of Switzerland in Wellington before, but not anymore after that date.

The Embassy furthermore strongly encourages Swiss parents resident in New Zealand to register the birth of their children with the Embassy without delay. Certainly New Zealand hospitals will not do that for them. Children thus registered will automatically be Swiss citizens. This registration has currently been possible until the age of 22. Under the new law it will be raised to the age of 25. After that date, they will be able to apply for Swiss citizenship only when residing in Switzerland.

Embassy of Switzerland