Becoming a Swiss citizen


Swiss citizenship can be acquired through birth, adoption, marriage or by application after 10 years of residency in Switzerland.

Children born overseas to a Swiss parent automatically hold Swiss citizenship until the age of 25 years old. If they hold another citizenship and have not been formally declared to the Swiss authorities, the Swiss nationality is lost after the age of 25 (art. 7 al. 1 LN).

Becoming Swiss implies a genuine desire to be integrated and the willingness to be involved in political and social Swiss life.

Swiss citizenship

When applying for Swiss citizenship, a C permit is mandatory. The 10 years of residency are accounted when the applicant was holding a C, B or carte de légitimation (CDL) (art. 33 LN).


If the applicant left Switzerland for more than six months during the 10 years residency period, it is considered as a gap not accounted for in the calculation of the period lived in Switzerland (art. 33 al. 3 LN).

A naturalization reintegration procedure can be initiated within a 10 year period after the applicant has lost citizenship under certain conditions (art. 26 LN).

Ordinary naturalization

From January 2018, the law on Swiss citizenship or Loi sur la nationalité (LN), requires applicants to hold a C permit and 10 years minimum of residency in Switzerland in order to be eligible (art. 9 al. 1  LN).

In Geneva, the past two years before applying must have been lived in the canton while Vaud requires three years minimum of immediate residency in the canton.

To be naturalized, good integration is demonstrated through the ability to speak and write the language of the canton (A2 written B1 oral), financial stability by being employed or following studies, absence of debts or criminal proceedings and a respect of Swiss values and national security (art. 12 LN).

Facilitated naturalization

The spouse of a Swiss citizen can request Swiss citizenship after three years of marriage and at least five years of residency in Switzerland or after six years of marriage if the couple lives overseas and the spouse has strong ties with Switzerland (art. 21 LN).

The child of a naturalized citizen can request citizenship if he was under 18 when his parent got naturalized and if he is under 22 years old. The child must have lived at least five years in Switzerland with the past three years just before applying spent in the country (art. 24 LN).

Third generation naturalization

The child of foreign citizens can apply for Swiss citizenship before the age of 25 when:

  • he was born in Switzerland
  • one of his grandparents was born in Switzerland and held a valid permit
  • the child held a C permit for at least five years and followed school in Switzerland
  • one of his parents was granted a C permit for at least 10 years and followed school for at least five years in Switzerland (art. 24 LN).

How to proceed?

An ordinary naturalization application is first lodged through cantonal and communal authorities before being sent to the SEM in Bern. A facilitated naturalization procedure is lodged directly with the SEM.

We can prepare your naturalization application on your behalf and assure the liaison with authorities until you receive your citizenship.

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