Price watchdog criticises cost of becoming Swiss

Becoming Swiss can cost up to CHF4,000 in some cantons Keystone

Naturalisation fees vary among Switzerland’s 26 cantons. This has caught the eye of the federal price watchdog, who doubts that the fees fall within the legal framework. 

This content was published on May 14, 2020 - 12:22
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The law on Swiss citizenship stipulates that “the fees may not amount to more than is required to cover costs”. But for price watchdog Stefan Meierhans this is “more than questionable”, as he writes in his newsletter on Thursday. 

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He says one reason for his doubts are the great differences between cantons. These are “far too large and are not comprehensible against the background of the cost recovery principle”. The result is a “great inequality in treatment of people seeking naturalisation”. 

What is a justified price for naturalisation? Meierhans considers a cantonal and municipal fee of a maximum of CHF1,500 ($1,540) per adult to be fair. He adds that it should be possible to increase the fee moderately for an “extraordinarily high amount of work”. 

Most cantons charge around this figure, but a survey by the price watchdog shows there’s a wide range, with the process costing from CHF200 to CHF2,200. In 19 cantons the average is not more than CHF1,000. In several cantons, however, naturalisation can be considerably more expensive, with fees of up to CHF4,000 being possible.


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