Reinstatement of citizenship

Reinstatement of citizenship is only possible if you have previously held Swiss citizenship but lost it because you forfeited or relieved your citizenship, or because you married a foreign person.

Reinstatement of citizenship is not possible:

  • if you are no longer the child of a Swiss parent;
  • if you have been adopted by a foreign parent;
  • if your naturalisation has been declared null and void;
  • if your Swiss citizenship has been revoked.

When is reinstatement of citizenship possible?

You must meet all the requirements. These requirements vary, depending on whether you are living in Switzerland or abroad.

To have your citizenship reinstated you must:

  • be successfully integrated if you live in Switzerland;
  • have close ties with Switzerland if you live abroad;
  • show respect for public security and order;
  • show respect for the values enshrined in the Federal Constitution; and
  • not pose a threat to Switzerland’s internal or external security.

If you lost your Swiss citizenship less than ten years ago, you can apply for reinstatement of citizenship irrespective of whether you live abroad or in Switzerland.

On expiry of this ten-year period, you may only apply for reinstatement of citizenship if you have been living continuously in Switzerland for at least three years with the intention of remaining there permanently in accordance with the law on foreign nationals.

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If you live in Switzerland: what does ‘being successfully integrated’ mean?

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 members 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, 592 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) at ch@sem.admin.ch, indicating your exact postal address. The form will be sent to you by post and must be submitted, duly completed, to SEM by post.
  


If you live abroad: 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;
  • be working, studying or in training;
  • 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 citizenship reinstatement 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 a signed list of these documents.

The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) decides on cases of reinstatement of Swiss citizenship.
  

Last modification 02.03.2021

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