The foreign spouse of a Swiss national abroad may apply for simplified naturalisation under certain circumstances (Article 21 para. 2 of the Swiss Citizenship Act, SCA).
Simplified naturalisation of the foreign spouses
have lived for six years in matrimony with their Swiss spouse and;
have close ties with Switzerland.
stayed in Switzerland at least three times for a minimum of five days each time during the six years preceding the filing of the application;
are able to engage in everyday spoken communication in a national language;
have a basic knowledge of the geographical, historical, political and social particularities of Switzerland, and
maintain contacts with Swiss people.
Art. 21 para. 2 of the Swiss Citizenship Act (SCA) provides that the foreign spouse of a Swiss citizen who lives or has lived abroad may apply for simplified naturalisation if they:
The applicant has close ties with Switzerland under Art. 11 of the Ordinance on Swiss Citizenship (SCO) if they:
In addition, simplified naturalisation is granted provided that the applicant respects public security and public order, respects the values of the Federal Constitution, participates in economic life or completes an education or training programme, encourages their family members to integrate and does not compromise Switzerland's internal or external security.
The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) is the competent authority for deciding whether an application for simplified naturalisation is granted.
If you meet these conditions, please contact the competent Swiss representation in your country of residence, which will provide you with the relevant forms and information.
the applicant submits to the competent representation their application file consisting of duly completed, dated and signed forms and the required annexes;
upon submission of the application, the applicant pays an advance application processing fee – see 'Fees';
the representation invites the applicant for a personal interview to examine, among other things, whether they have close links with Switzerland and meet the other required conditions;
the representation sends the SEM the application file together with a report on the collected data;
the SEM issues its decision on the application, subject to appeal before the Federal Administrative Court in Switzerland;
the representation notifies the applicant of the SEM's decision.
The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) is responsible for handling applications submitted abroad at a Swiss representation.
The usual procedure for submitting an application to the competent Swiss representation in the country of residence is as follows:
- Form «Application for simplified naturalisation Art. 21 para. 2 Swiss Citizenship Act SCA»
- Information sheet on Art. 21 para. 2 Swiss Citizenship Act SCA
- Declaration concerning matrimonial union
- Declaration concerning respect for public security and order
- Authorisation to obtain information
- Questionnaire on close connections with Switzerland
- List of documents required for the application in accordance with Art. 21 para. 2 Swiss Citizenship Act SCA
- Criminal record extract;
- Debt claims register extract;
- Tax certificate;
- Confirmation concerning receipt or non-receipt of social welfare benefits;
- Confirmation concerning record, or absence of record, of criminal offences in the case of minors.
- Documents which are not completed in full in a Swiss national language, dated and signed, or illegible documents, will be sent back to you.
- The originals of the foreign documents requested may not be more than three months old (six months for civil status documents) and must be certified by the competent foreign authority.
- Documents which are not in German, French or Italian must be accompanied by a certified translation into a Swiss national language.
Upon request, the representation will send you the following documents, which you must return to it, completed in a Swiss national language, dated and signed:
The following documents, including documents about respect for public security and order, must also be submitted – the representation can give you information about the documents which can be issued in your country of residence abroad:
Foreign civil status documents which have not yet been registered in the Infostar register can be submitted together with the application for simplified naturalisation.
The originals of the foreign documents may not be more than six months old and must be certified by the competent foreign authority.
Documents which are not in German, French or Italian must be accompanied by a certified translation into a Swiss national language.
The competent civil status authorities in Switzerland can separately charge fees for their services of civil status (verification of foreign documents with aim to register the civil status data into the register Infostar), according to the Ordinance on fees for civil status matters (Fee-OCS; CC 172.042.110), and have the fees collected by the Swiss representation.
If necessary, Swiss civil status documents (e.g. Swiss family certificate) can be ordered from the competent civil status authority in Switzerland. You will find the addresses of the competent civil registry authorities on the website of the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ): www.bj.admin.ch (de) > Gesellschaft > Zivilstandswesen > Zuständigkeiten und Behörden / www.ofj.admin.ch (fr) > Société > Etat civil > Compétences et autorités / www.ufg.admin.ch (it) > Società > Stato civile > Competenze e autorità.
You can also order Swiss civil status documents via your local representation. Costs must be paid in advance.
- close connection with Switzerland i.e. in particular:
- regular stays in Switzerland (at least three stays of at least five days each in Switzerland in the past six years);
- knowledge of a Swiss national language;
- general knowledge about Switzerland (geography, history, politics, society etc.) – see the «Links» section for useful links to prepare for the personal interview;
- contacts with Swiss nationals;
- persons resident in Switzerland to whom reference can be made;
- respect for public security and order;
- respect for the values of the Swiss Federal Constitution,
- participation in gainful activity or acquiring an education;
- promoting and supporting the integration of family members, i.e. in particular:
- learning a Swiss national language;
- participation in gainful activity or acquiring an education in the country of residence;
After the representation has received your application pack for simplified naturalisation, it will arrange a mutually convenient date for a personal interview which will, as a matter of principle, be conducted in a Swiss national language.
You will be invited to come to the representation in person for the interview, accompanied by your Swiss spouse and minor children aged 12 and above who are included in the application.
During the personal interview with the applicant (as part of the process a separate interview will take place with minor children aged 12 and above who are included in the application) the following points, among others, will be examined:
participation in the social and cultural life of Swiss nationals.
The Swiss representation generally submits its report on the collected data to the SEM within 12 months (Art. 22 SCO).
The SEM generally rules on simplified naturalisation or reinstatement of citizenship applications within 12 months of receiving the application file and the report on the collected data from the competent Swiss representation (Art. 23 SCO).
The competent Swiss representation must be notified of any change of address or any event affecting the civil status (marriage, separation, divorce, death, adoption, etc.) during this period.
The Ordinance on Swiss Citizenship (SCO) stipulates the relevant fees.
To cover the costs of processing a simplified naturalisation application, the representation requires applicants to pay an advance fee upon submission of the application.
The amount of the advance on the costs shall be fixed in the currency stipulated by the Swiss representation at the current exchange rate. The advance on costs must cover among other things the following fees and does not include any fees charged separately by the authorities of civil status for their services.
|Fees and disbursements||CHF|
|SEM and the cantonal authority fees||600.00|
|Swiss representation fee||75.00 per half hour|
|Transmission costs (abroad> Switzerland)||5.00|
These fees are in general non-refundable if the SEM rejects the application or the application is withdrawn during the procedure.
For further information, please contact the competent Swiss representation in your country of residence.
Swiss law recognises dual citizenship. You can in principle keep your original citizenship. Acquisition of Swiss citizenship may, however, result in loss of your original citizenship if the law of your country of origin requires it. Relevant official information can be obtained from the authorities of the country of origin.
SEM: FAQ – Swiss citizenship (de, fr, it)
SEM: Swiss citizenship manual (de, fr, it)
Ordinance on Swiss Citizenship (SCO; CC 141.01) (de, fr, it)