Holding a carte de legitimation and planning to apply for a Swiss permit


Since the introduction of the Swiss Federal law on Foreigners and Integration (LEI) in 2019 following the modifications of the law on Swiss nationality (LN), integration requirements have been tightened with direct implications for holders of a “carte de légitimation” (Cdl) and the associated Ci permit.

Before 2018, any Cdl or Ci holder could apply for Swiss citizenship after 12 years of residency in Switzerland, if they met the language and integration requirements.

From January 2018, only C permit holders can apply for citizenship (art. 9 al. 1 LN). In the practice, switching from a Cdl to a C permit is not feasible except in some specific cases.

The C permit is usually granted after 10 years of residency holding a B permit (art. 34 LEI). In some cases, the fast-tracked C permit can be requested after 5 years of consecutive residence with a B permit.

The main Cdl holder cannot change for a B or C permit during his functions until he/she retires. However, at retirement time, the Cdl holder can apply directly for a C permit if the past 10 years have been lived in Switzerland and if the integration requirements are met (art. 58a LEI).

The key requirements consist in:

-knowledge of the language spoken at the place of domicile at A2 spoken A1 written level

-proof of sufficient financial means

-no criminal record

-links with the Swiss community

-proof of non-financial assistance from social services

-no debts

The situation is different for EU-27/EFTA dependents who can request to hold a B permit instead of a Cdl, according on the agreement on the free movement of people (AFMP). This option allows dependants of a CDL holder who hold a EU citizenship to apply for a C permit after holding a B permit for 5 or 10 years in order to be eligible to Swiss citizenship. The years spent in Switzerland between the age of 8 and 18 count double for a citizenship application.

Children holding a Cdl who are not EU citizens and who have reached the age of 25 can request a B permit, they will have to return their Cdl on their 25th birthday. In some cases, children who have lived at least 12 consecutive years in Switzerland can request a C permit once they reach the age of 21, if they can prove that the education and past years were spent in Switzerland.

We can assist you with such permit application if you meet the requirements, contact us by email on : info@legalexpat.ch

03/11/2021 - Alexa Mossaz, immigration specialist at Legal Expat



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    This website aims to provide general information regarding Swiss law and should not be regarded as a legal opinion. For more specific advice, do not hesitate to contact us.