Every child that is born in Switzerland needs to be registered with the nearest hospital to where the birth took place (usually, the hospital where you give birth). Registering your child is an essential part of planning for the future of your family and must be completed so that the child can be supported with social security, and can receive a birth certificate.
Registering a birth at a Swiss hospital
If you give birth in a hospital, typically it will have its own civil registrar who will complete the registry of the birth. You will be registered automatically by the presiding doctor in the immediate aftermath of the birth. After this, you will be provided with a birth certificate.
Registering a child after a non-hospital birth
If your child is not born in a hospital setting, you must register the birth within three days at your local civil register office. The mother or legal father of the child must attend, or nominate a proxy to go. In order to register a birth in Switzerland, you must provide:
- Proof of address in Switzerland
- Passport or ID for both parents and / or the proxy
- A report of birth certificate from a doctor or a registered midwife
- If registering by proxy, a written and signed note informing the office who the proxy will be
You can find your nearest civil register office using the official government website.
Registering a Swiss child who is born abroad
If you or your partner are citizens of Switzerland and have given birth abroad, it is necessary to inform the Swiss authorities. In Germany, Austria, Italy and other nations that have signed an agreement with Switzerland, the hospital or physician will inform the civil registrar office automatically. If you have given birth outside one of these nations, you must inform your local mission (consulate or embassy). There, you must provide the same documents listed above in order to fully register your child as a Swiss citizen.
Assigning paternity while registering a birth in Switzerland
If you and your partner are married or in a civil partnership, paternity rights are assigned jointly between the two parents. If you are not married, then you must provide a joint written declaration assigning parental authority. This declaration must include the agreed residence of the child, share of childcare and any maintenance contributions if the couple is divorced or separated. The declaration can be submitted to the civil register office when the birth is registered. Until this occurs, parental authority is awarded to the mother alone.
If one of the parties refuses to make a declaration on paternal authority, it is recommended to consult a lawyer.
Is a child born in Switzerland automatically Swiss?
In Switzerland, citizenship is defined by the nationality of the parents of the child. This means that a child born in Switzerland does not automatically qualify to become a Swiss citizen. Children who are born to one Swiss parent can qualify for citizenship through simplified naturalisation. Children who are born in Switzerland to non-Swiss parents must apply for citizenship with their parents’ nation of origin. If this is not possible due to internal conflicts in the country of citizenship or due to refugee status, it is recommended to apply for citizenship in Switzerland through simplified naturalisation.
Key steps after registering a child in Switzerland
Once you have successfully registered your child in Switzerland, it is possible to apply for a number of administrative and social programmes. These include: