People who have been resident in Switzerland for twelve years – the years spent in this country between the completed 10th and 20th years are counted double for this purpose – may apply for naturalisation. Our State Secretariat examines whether applicants are integrated in the Swiss way of life, are familiar with Swiss customs and traditions, comply with the Swiss rule of law, and do not endanger Switzerland's internal or external security. In particular, this examination is based on cantonal and communal reports. If the requirements provided by federal law are satisfied, applicants are entitled to obtain a federal naturalisation permit from the State Secretariat for Migration.
Naturalisation proceeds in three stages. Thus the federal naturalisation permit only constitutes the Confederation's "green light" for the acquisition of Swiss nationality. However, the cantons and communities have their own, additional residence requirements which applicants have to satisfy. Swiss citizenship is only acquired by those applicants who, after obtaining the federal naturalisation permit, have also been naturalised by their communities and cantons. As a rule, there is no legally protected right to being naturalised by a community and a canton.