New law on Swiss nationality

CERN has recently been informed by the Swiss authorities that the Swiss Parliament adopted a new law on Swiss nationality in June 2014, which is due to enter into force in the autumn of 2016.

 

Under the new law, naturalisation can be granted only if the following conditions are met at the time of application:

1. the applicant must hold a settlement permit (autorisation d’établissement or permis C); and
2. the applicant must supply proof that he or she has resided in Switzerland for a total of twelve years, including during three of the five years preceding the application (see Article 9 below).

For the purposes of calculating the length of residence in Switzerland, any period of residence as a holder of a residence or settlement permit (autorisation de séjour or autorisation d’établissement), a temporary admission document (admission provisoire), or a legitimation card (carte de légitimation) issued by the DFAE will be taken into account (see Article 33 below).

Whereas, at present, holders of a legitimation card issued by the DFAE or a Ci permit are entitled to apply for naturalisation, in future only holders of a settlement permit (permis C) will be able to do so. We remind you that legitimation cards issued by the DFAE and Ci permits are not deemed to be equivalent to a settlement permit (permis C).

Once the new law has entered into force, holders of a legitimation card issued by the DFAE or a Ci permit will no longer be entitled to apply for Swiss nationality. However, they will be able to apply for naturalisation once they have ceased to be employed by an international organisation, provided that they meet the applicable formal conditions (see Article 9 below).

We remind you that the granting of Swiss nationality is not one of the privileges covered by the headquarters agreements concluded between the Swiss Federal Council and intergovernmental organisations established in Switzerland.

The legitimation card issued by the DFAE does not give its holder any particular rights with respect to continued residence in Switzerland upon termination of his or her official functions. However, for many years the Swiss authorities have followed a practice facilitating the continued residence in Switzerland of international civil servants and their family members in this situation, allowing them to be granted a residence permit or a settlement permit (B or C permit) in certain cases.
 

Extract from the law on Swiss nationality

Art. 9 - Formal conditions

1. The Confederation grants authorisation for naturalisation only if the following conditions are met at the time of application:

a. the applicant must hold a settlement permit (autorisation d’établissement);
b. the applicant must supply proof that he or she has resided in Switzerland for a total of ten years, including during three of the five years preceding the application.

2. For the purposes of calculating the duration of residence under paragraph 1.b above, the time that the applicant has spent in Switzerland between the ages of eight and 18 is counted double. However, the actual period of residence must be at least six years.

Art. 33 - Residence

1. For the purposes of calculating the length of residence in Switzerland, any period of residence as a holder of one of the following documents is taken into account:

a. residence permit (autorisation de séjour) or settlement permit (autorisation d’établissement);
b. temporary admission document (admission provisoire) [half of the period of residence is taken into account]; or
c. a legitimation card (carte de légitimation) issued by the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs or a similar residence permit.

2. If the person concerned leaves Switzerland for a short period with the intention of returning, the period of residence is deemed to be continuous.

3. If the person concerned declares his or her departure from Switzerland to the relevant authorities or actually resides outside Switzerland for more than six months, the period of residence is deemed to have terminated on the date of departure.