Last week Switzerland’s Federal Council announced that young foreigners whose grandparents immigrated to Switzerland or were born there, could get Swiss citizenship via a simplified procedure, starting on 15 February 2018, provided they meet certain requirements.
60.4% of Swiss voters agreed to this plan in a referendum on 12 February 2017.
Spouses of Swiss nationals currently qualify to use this faster simpler process, known as facilitated naturalisation. Soon third-generation immigrants will qualify too.
Unlike the standard process, which requires approval from the commune of residence, canton, and federal authorities, the facilitated process is approved only at a federal level, with cantons granted a right to intervene if requested.
Citizenship will not be automatic. All other requirements, such as paying tax, not receiving benefits, respecting the law and command of a national language are still required to obtain citizenship under the faster facilitated process.
To qualify applicants will need to have been born in Switzerland, followed at least 5 years of compulsory Swiss school, be 25 or under, hold a C-permit and be well integrated. In addition, at least one parent must have lived in Switzerland for at least 10 years and one grand parent must have had a residence permit or been born in Switzerland.
Integration is determined by looking at respect for public law, order, Swiss values and participation in economic life or professional training.
During a 5 year transitionary period, those aged 26 to 35 will be able to apply.
According to a recent study around 25,000 people will qualify. It is then expected that a further 2,300 will qualify every year over the next 10 years. The breakdown of this number by nationality is shown in the chart below.
The simplified procedure will also be open to stateless children.