Switzerland is the most popular country in Europe for many immigrants who aspire to become ‘Swiss’ citizens. It is impossible to buy swiss citizenship. It does not matter how many millions you invest and citizenship is not for sale. You have to really work hard to own the coveted red swiss passport.
Switzerland does not have a citizenship by investment programme. But there is a quick path of becoming a swiss resident by investing by setting up a swiss company creating local jobs or pay a lump sum tax every year to canton and later naturalize for citizenship under ordinary path.
Swiss citizenship is one of the hardest in the world, and it is not guaranteed to many, despite meeting the 10+ years living requirement in Switzerland. On top of that you have to get approved both at cantonal level and federal level. Plus added conditions such as citizenship test, integration to society and speak the language.
Before you aspire you should know first, Switzerland is not a EU member state, therefore swiss nationals are not EU citizens but the alpine nation participates in schengen area. German, French and Italian are spoken in this country, there is no such language as swiss language.
Switzerland recognises three ways of acquiring Swiss citizenship through an official decision. These take account of the various circumstances that may apply to foreign citizens:
- Ordinary naturalisation is the option for foreign citizens who have lived for at least 10 years in Switzerland, three of which must be in the five years before they file their application for citizenship, and who hold a permanent residence permit (C permit);
- Simplified naturalisation is the option primarily for persons who:
– are married to a Swiss citizen;
– were born in Switzerland and belong to the third generation of a family of foreign citizens living in Switzerland.
In addition, Switzerland has other simplified naturalisation procedures, such as the procedure for people who are stateless. If you are a young foreign citizen whose grandparents emigrated to Switzerland, you can apply for simplified naturalisation
- Reinstatement of citizenship is the option for people who have lost their Swiss citizenship at some point in the past following forfeiture, relief or loss of citizenship.
Foreign nationals who have lived in Switzerland for ten years and who hold a permanent residence permit (C permit) can submit an application for ordinary naturalisation to their commune or canton of residence.
Requirements under federal law
The years you have spent in Switzerland between the ages of 8 and 18 count double, but you must have actually lived in Switzerland for at least six years. The length of time you have lived in Switzerland includes the time spent living here
- while holding a B or C permit;
- while holding a legitimation card issued by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA or while holding a Ci permit:
- while holding a F permit, although only half of this period is counted.
Time spent in Switzerland during an asylum procedure (N permit) or on a short stay permit (L permit) is not counted.
The competent authority in the canton checks whether you meet the formal requirements, are successfully integrated and are familiar with the Swiss way of life. They draw up a naturalisation report on these points.
In order to be granted a federal naturalisation licence, you must:
- be successfully integrated;
- be familiar with the Swiss way of life; and
- not pose a threat to Switzerland’s internal or external security.
SEM issues the federal naturalisation licence and sends it to the cantonal naturalisation authority for a decision on naturalisation. Once the cantonal naturalisation decision becomes legally binding, you have acquired not only communal and cantonal citizenship but Swiss federal citizenship as well.
To prove you are successfully integrated into Swiss society in particular if you:
- show respect for public security and order, for example by paying your taxes on time, not being the subject of debt collection proceedings, not having any certified unpaid debts and not having a criminal record;
- show respect for the values enshrined in the Federal Constitution;
- can communicate in a national language in everyday situations, both orally and in writing;
- participate in economic life or acquire an education; this also means that you have not claimed social assistance benefits in the three years before applying or you have repaid in full any social assistance benefits claimed;
- encourage and support your family members in their efforts to integrate.
Alongside a language certification, the Swiss naturalisation test is an assessment meant to prove that you have taken the necessary steps to become fully involved in Swiss life. This test is taken at both the federal level and by your local county (canton),