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As in most other countries, authorities in Switzerland need to be informed about births and deaths that happen in the country, regardless of citizenship. 

The formalities required for registering a birth are often straightforward and automatic. Registering a person's death requires informing local authorities as well as the appropriate embassy if the deceased is a foreign national.

Birth

All births must be registered in the place of birth and recorded in a birth register. This will happen automatically if the birth takes place in a hospital, but the parents will have to show proof of citizenship.

If the mother is married when she gives birth, her husband is automatically presumed to be the father of the child. If the father is not married to the mother of the newborn, he may only register the child if he acknowledges the child is his before the birth or upon registration.

For births at home (neither in a hospital or clinic), the birth must be registered in the commune where the birth took place. This should typically happen within three days of the birth. The mother or the legal father (man married to the mother who has recognised or is going to recognise the child) may register the birth. The parents can also ask a third person to register the birth by proxy, indicating in writing to the civil registrar the name of the person who has been asked to register the birth.

Here is a list of resources for new parents based on where they live.

For children born to foreign parents another registration process should take place at the embassy or consulate. For a list of foreign representations in Switzerland please visit the foreign ministry.

Please find a list of local authorities here.

Death

When a person dies this must be reported within two days to the registrar at the place of death, which will issue a death certificate. In some cases the death must be reported within two days to the communal funeral office in the place where the deceased person lived.

If a person dies at home, a doctor should still be called immediately to formally pronounce the death. A burial or cremation can only take place after the death has been reported.

The death of foreign nationals without residency in Switzerland and not registered with the registration office should still be reported to the registrar in the place of death as well as to the appropriate embassy.

Customs and arrangements for funerals vary from one canton to another. Persons must be buried in a public cemetery unless permission has been given for other arrangements. For more on death in Switzerland click here.

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