A noncommercial collection of information about citizenship, dual citizenship and multiple citizenship

[Please refer to How to Read a Country Entry for help interpreting this material. It was produced prior to March 2001 as part of a US government report entitled Citizenship Laws of the World. The accuracy and depth of these country listings varies significantly, and some information may be incorrect. At best, this page presents only part of the story for a particular country. Additional information for this country may be available in Country Information]


CITIZENSHIP: Citizenship laws are based upon the Swiss Citizenship Law dated September 29, 1952, amended in 1984 and 1990.

BY BIRTH: Birth within the territory of Switzerland does not automatically confer citizenship. The exception is a child born to unknown parents.

BY DESCENT: Child born in wedlock, at least one of whose parents is a citizen of Switzerland, regardless of the child's country of birth. Child born out of wedlock, whose mother is a Swiss citizen, regardless of the child's country of birth. Child born abroad to Swiss parents must be registered before the age of 22 or the child will not be a citizen of Switzerland.

BY NATURALIZATION: Swiss citizenship may be acquired upon fulfillment of the following conditions: Person has resided a total of 12 years in Switzerland, three of which within the last five years prior to application.

The twelve-year requirement is adjusted if the time during which the applicant lived in Switzerland was between the ages of 10 and 20; in this case, time counts double as does the time during which the person lived in Switzerland while married to a person who is Swiss by birth.

Person is integrated into Swiss life, and is knowledgeable of its customs and laws. Person is not a threat to the security of Switzerland. A foreigner, after marrying a Swiss citizen, can apply for a simplified naturalization if they have lived in Switzerland for a total of five years, have lived in Switzerland for the most recent one year, and lived with the Swiss spouse for at least three years.

Swiss law provides for exceptions to these requirements in situations of blood ties to Swiss citizens, Swiss military service, and adoption by Swiss citizens.


LOSS OF CITIZENSHIP: If one parent decides to renounce Swiss citizenship, their spouse and all children under 20 years of age must also renounce their citizenship. However, a foreign woman who gained Swiss citizenship through marriage does not lose her Swiss citizenship in the event of the termination of the marriage, if she entered the marriage in good faith.

VOLUNTARY: Voluntary renunciation of Swiss citizenship is permitted by law. Upon request, a Swiss citizen will be released from Swiss citizenship if they do not have residence in Switzerland, are at least 18 years old, and have another nationality or have been assured of one. Contact the Swiss Embassy for details and proper paperwork.

INVOLUNTARY: According to the Swiss Consulate, there are no "realistic" conditions for the involuntary loss of Swiss Citizenship. Therefore, Swiss citizens should not assume that the acquisition of a new citizenship would cause their Swiss citizenship to be removed by default.

ANY QUESTIONS concerning citizenship, or requests for renunciation of citizenship, should be directed to the address below:

The Embassy of Switzerland Consular Section 2900 Cathedral Ave., NW Washington, DC 20008-3449

Embassy/Consular Telephone: 202-745-7900 Fax: 202-387-2564






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