If you are learning a Swiss language, studying, or looking for a job, you might have one eye on the idea of applying for Swiss citizenship. This brings a number of benefits, not least the fact that Swiss citizens may stay in the country permanently, receive one of the best travel documents in the world in the form of a Swiss passport, and are able to buy a house. If you are considering this path, it is important to know what you need to do to fully integrate into Swiss society.
Swiss language certification
Whether it be in German, French, Italian, or Romansh, receiving a Swiss language certification is an essential part of becoming a citizen. As well as improving your language skills, proficiency in the language of your county (canton) is needed to apply for long-term residence permits. In addition, if you would like to attend university in Switzerland, many courses require proof that you can speak the language of your course.
The Swiss system is modelled after the European system of language proficiency, with many registered schools offering courses in each language.
Swiss naturalisation test
One of the most daunting parts of becoming a citizen is the Swiss naturalisation test. This test is used to demonstrate that you and your family have successfully integrated into Swiss society. The rules around the test are determined by each canton separately, with each approaching the test questions differently. To many prospective citizens, the naturalisation test is the last step towards receiving citizenship and must be prepared for extensively.
National service in Switzerland
Once you become a Swiss citizen, it is important to know whether you will be conscripted into the military. National service in Switzerland is a requirement for all male citizens, although women can volunteer. Service can range from one and a half to three years of active service, alongside around 14 years as a reservist.
If you would like to avoid serving in the military, it is essential that you know the methods you must use and the penalties that you will receive. Not serving in the military comes with significant sacrifices such as community service or severe taxes on your income.