Children of Swiss citizens

In certain cases, simplified naturalisation is possible for the foreign children of Swiss citizens. The naturalisation procedures differ, depending on whether your family lives in Switzerland or abroad.

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If you live in Switzerland

a.  Child of a naturalised parent

If you are a foreign citizen whose parent(s) have been naturalised as Swiss citizens, but you were not naturalised at the same time, you are eligible for simplified naturalisation if you:

  1. were under the age of 18 at the time that your parent(s) applied for naturalisation;
  2. apply for naturalisation before the age of 22;
  3. can prove that you have been living for five years in Switzerland, including the three years immediately before your application is made.

b. Child of a Swiss mother

If you are a foreign citizen and the child of a Swiss mother and a foreign father and your mother acquired Swiss citizenship before you were born or possessed it at your birth, you can apply for simplified naturalisation provided you are successfully integrated in Switzerland. This applies in cases where a mother who is married to a foreign national cannot pass her Swiss citizenship on to her child, regardless of how she acquired Swiss citizenship.

If your mother forfeited or relieved her Swiss citizenship before you were born, you are not eligible for simplified naturalisation.

c. Child of a Swiss father

If you were born before 1 January 2006 as the foreign child of a Swiss father, you can apply for simplified naturalisation if you meet the requirements of Article 1 paragraph 2 SCA and you are successfully integrated in Switzerland. This applies if your father was a Swiss citizen at the time of your birth and not married to your mother, and recognised you as his child before you reached the age of 18.

What does ‘being successfully integrated’ mean?

In all three cases of simplified naturalisation, you have to be successfully integrated. You are successfully integrated into Swiss society in particular if you:

  • show respect for public security and order, for example by paying your taxes on time, not being the subject of debt collection proceedings, not having any certified unpaid debts and not having a criminal record;
  • show respect for the values enshrined in the Federal Constitution;
  • can communicate in a national language in everyday situations, both orally and in writing;
  • participate in economic life or acquire an education; this also means that you have not claimed social assistance benefits in the three years before applying or you have repaid in full any social assistance benefits claimed;
  • and if you encourage and support your family in their efforts to integrate.

Appropriate account is taken of your situation if you are unable to participate in economic life, acquire an education or get the required language skills because of disability or illness or for other significant personal circumstances, or can only do so with difficulty.

In addition, you must not pose a threat to Switzerland’s internal or external security.

Language requirements if you live in Switzerland

You must be able to communicate in a national language in everyday situations, both orally and in writing. At the time that you submit your application, you must prove that you have written language skills of at least A2 level and spoken language skills of at least B1 level.

Detailed information on the language passport
List of recognised language certificates (PDF, 584 kB, 01.01.2021)
FAQs on simplified naturalisation

Sprachförderkonzept des Bundes
(Federal language support programme. Available in German, French and Italian)
  

Where can I get the application form?

If you live in Switzerland, you can order the application form by email directly from the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM): ch@sem.admin.ch. The form must be submitted to SEM.
  


If you live abroad

a. Child of a Swiss mother

If you are a foreign citizen and the child of a Swiss mother and a foreign father and your mother acquired Swiss citizenship before you were born or possessed it at your birth, you can apply for simplified naturalisation provided you have close ties with Switzerland. This applies in cases where a mother who is married to a foreign national cannot pass her Swiss citizenship on to her child, regardless of how she acquired Swiss citizenship.

b. Child of a Swiss father

If you were born before 1 January 2006 as the foreign child of a Swiss father, you can apply for simplified naturalisation if you meet the requirements of Article 1 paragraph 2 SCA and you have close ties with Switzerland. This applies if your father was a Swiss citizen at the time of your birth and not married to your mother, and recognised you as his child before you reached the age of 18.

What does ‘having close ties with Switzerland’ mean?

You have close ties with Switzerland if you:

  • have stayed in Switzerland at least three times for a minimum of five days each within the last six years prior to making your application;
  • can communicate in everyday situations in one of Switzerland’s four national languages;
  • have a basic knowledge of Switzerland’s geography, history, politics and society;
  • maintain contact with Swiss citizens.

You must know people living in Switzerland who are able to confirm that these requirements are met.

In addition, you must

  • show respect for public security and order;
  • show respect for the values set out in the Federal Constitution;
  • participate in economic life or acquire an education, and
  • encourage and support your family members in their efforts to integrate, and
  • not pose a threat to Switzerland’s internal or external security.

Appropriate account is taken of your situation if you are unable to participate in economic life, acquire an education or get the required language skills because of disability or illness or for other significant personal circumstances, or can only do so with difficulty.
  

Where can I get the application form?

If you live abroad, you can request the application form from your nearest Swiss representation; you must submit the completed form to this representation.
  


What documents do I have to submit?

All the documents on the ‘List of required documents’ must be submitted together with the application form and annexes as well as the duly signed list of required documents.

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) decides on applications for simplified naturalisation.
  

Further information

Questions and answers on simplified naturalisation

Handbook on citizenship, chapter 6: Children of a Swiss citizen (Sections 63, 651 and 652) 
in German (PDF, 310 kB, 13.07.2020) 
in French (PDF, 313 kB, 13.07.2020) 
in Italian (PDF, 567 kB, 13.07.2020) 

Last modification 20.12.2020

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