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.
Cantonal law requirements
In addition, cantonal legislation requires a minimum residence period of between two and five years in the commune and in the canton concerned.
The procedure in the canton and in the commune is governed by cantonal law.
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.
The canton may also stipulate additional integration requirements.
If the canton and the commune (if required by cantonal law) are satisfied that naturalisation should be granted, on concluding the cantonal procedure they forward the application and the naturalisation report to the State Secretariat for Migration SEM.
Federal naturalisation licence
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.
If all the formal and material requirements have been met, SEM issues the federal naturalisation licence and sends it to the cantonal naturalisation authority for a decision on naturalisation.
Cantonal naturalisation decision
The relevant cantonal authority must issue its naturalisation decision within a year of the federal naturalisation licence being granted. On expiry of this period, the federal naturalisation licence ceases to be valid.
The cantonal authority will refuse to grant naturalisation if matters come to its attention after the federal naturalisation licence is granted that would have caused it not to recommend naturalisation.
Once the cantonal naturalisation decision becomes legally binding, you have acquired not only communal and cantonal citizenship but Swiss federal citizenship as well.
SEM charges the following fees for decisions on whether to grant the naturalisation permit:
- for persons over the age of 18 at the time the application is made: CHF 100.-
- for spouses who apply jointly: CHF 150.-
- for persons who are under the age of 18 at the time the application is made: CHF 50.-
In addition, communal and cantonal fees must be paid. Cantonal law regulates the level of these fees.
Where can I get the application form?
You can obtain the application form from the naturalisation authority where you live. You have to submit the application to this authority as well.
Questions and answers on ordinary naturalisation
Handbook on citizenship, chapter 3: Ordinary naturalisation
in German (PDF, 964 kB, 15.02.2023)
in French (PDF, 977 kB, 15.02.2023)
in Italian (PDF, 970 kB, 15.02.2023)
(This document is not available in English)
Last modification 17.12.2020