From 15th February 2018 onwards, children of immigrants born in Switzerland will have easier access to Swiss citizenship. Last week, the Federal Council modified the law regarding facilitated naturalization for 3rd generation applicants to establish a simplified procedure. Hence, the Swiss population has voted in favour of fast-tracked naturalizations for third generation non-nationals by 60.4%.
The conditions have, however, become stricter. Applicants must be born in Switzerland, hold a C permit and have followed a minimum of 5 years of compulsory school in Switzerland. These last two criteria also apply to at least one of the parents, who in addition, must have lived in the country for at least 10 years. At least one of the grandparents must be born in Switzerland or must have held a C permit for a number of years. The years of residency will count double from the age of 8 to 18 years old only. The minimum number of years lived in Switzerland is now fixed at 6. Successful integration is also a key criterion. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they respect the Constitution values and that they, as well as their family, are well integrated into the Swiss economy. Proficiency in one of the three national languages is mandatory.
A key change from the previous law consists in applications made after the age of 25 years old will no longer be possible, implying also that male applicants are subjected to military service. However, a transitional period is introduced for applicants aged from 26 to 35 who, from 15th February 2018, will have five years to apply for their citizenship.
These modifications imply that the younger generations who have lived most of their life in Switzerland and who are often closer to Swiss values than to those of their country of origin will have easier access to Swiss citizenship and will be able to apply for a faster and less costly procedure than the one in place until now.
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