As part of your journey to obtain Swiss citizenship, you may have to complete a naturalisation test. These tests are designed to prove that you have adequately integrated into Swiss society and have an awareness of Swiss history and values.
What is a Swiss naturalisation test?
Alongside a language certification, the Swiss naturalisation test is an assessment meant to prove that you have taken the necessary steps to become fully involved in Swiss life. Depending on your location, the test can take many forms, but is usually either a written exam to an oral questionnaire.
The test is taken at both the federal level and by your local county (canton), with some communities demanding a test specific to your local council (Gemeinde). The length of the test varies by canton, as each community sets its own questions. You can attend a naturalisation test at your canton’s State Secretariat of Migration or Cantonal naturalisation authority.
Questions in a Swiss naturalisation test
The first section of the Swiss naturalisation test will contain questions regarding your path to citizenship. This might cover your work, social life, family or where you live. The questions should be answered truthfully and must be grounded in personal examples. This is an opportunity to showcase your integration into Swiss society with membership of clubs and community groups.
The second section relates to your knowledge of Switzerland as a nation. These can be questions about famous moments or historical events in Swiss history. There will also be questions about Swiss mountains, a notable example question being which mountain has the highest peak in their canton. Some cantons demand you recognise Swiss flags, including the local crest of your community. In this section, you are also required to identify political figures from the government as well as famous Swiss artists or musicians.
The final section will relate to your local community. This is your chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the surrounding area and the people that live in your community. It is also an opportunity to give evidence of how you have integrated into Switzerland through your friends and family.
Who takes a Swiss naturalisation test?
Anyone who wants to become a Swiss citizen must take some form of naturalisation test. Some cantons do not require an actual test such as a written exam, although many cantons still use them. In other cantons, the test is incorporated into your citizenship interview. In the large cities of Switzerland, naturalisation tests are rare and are only given by the local community.
If you are applying for Swiss citizenship through simplified naturalisation, only a few cantons require you to take a test.
How to prepare for a naturalisation test in Switzerland
A thorough understanding of Switzerland is recommended before attempting the naturalisation test. Naturalisation Switzerland has a large bank of questions used in each canton that you can use to prepare for the assessment. It is not uncommon for people who have lived in Switzerland their entire lives to fail the test, so it's important to study beforehand.
The pass mark for a naturalisation test is set by the canton where you take the test. Some cantons, for instance, set the pass mark according to the average grade of test subjects, while others set a specific pass mark from 50 to 80 percent.
To prepare for your local assessment, it is recommended to familiarise yourself with local businesses, landmarks, and statistics. It is also a good idea to research the history of your local area, including its main industry.
How much is a naturalisation test?
The cost of taking a naturalisation test varies by canton. In some communities, the cost of a test is incorporated into the overall cost of citizenship. On average, the cost of a single test can range from 150 to 400 Swiss francs. This is non-refundable and must be paid again if you fail.