Cabinet proposes fast-track naturalisation

The government has presented a bill to parliament outlining wholesale changes to the law on naturalisation.

This content was published on March 4, 2011 minutes and agencies

The text lists the conditions for naturalisation, provides incentives for immigrants integrating quickly, eliminates duplication at various government levels and simplifies application procedures.

In an announcement on Friday, the government said the new law would replace the one in existence since 1952, and would take into account provisions set out in the country’s foreigners’ law of 2005.

In future, only foreigners who have “successfully integrated” will be eligible for Swiss citizenship. This includes only holders of permanent residency permits who, for example, show “respect for the values of the Swiss constitution” as well as the ability to make themselves understood in a national language and the will to participate in the economic life of the country.

The draft law also states that well-integrated foreigners can apply for permanent residency after five years instead of the current ten. And after a total of eight years in the country, foreigners can initiate naturalisation procedures. At the moment they have to wait 12 years.

The current fast-track procedure for foreign residents married to Swiss nationals (eligible for citizenship after five years) will remain.

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