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Military service

Switzerland, like many countries, requires military service from most men. Women may serve if they wish. Foreigners are exempt.

Swiss living abroad are also basically free from being recruited and serving in the military during times of peace as long as they remain abroad. Some limitations apply to those living in border zones close to Switzerland.

Under certain conditions and procedures, Swiss living abroad may voluntarily participate in the Swiss military. Should a Swiss abroad return to Switzerland to live, he is obliged to take up military service depending on age and capabilities.

Having another citizenship does not, in general, influence Swiss military requirements. Swiss who can show they have dual citizenship and have fulfilled military service requirements, civil service or other related duties in that country are excused from Swiss military obligations according to accords signed with those states. Agreements exist with, among others, Germany, France, Austria, Italy and the US.


For more information on military obligations for Swiss abroad and dual citizens, please contact the army’s personnel divisionExternal link.

Please visit the Swiss ArmyExternal link website for more information in German, French or Italian.

Editorial note: this information was current as of June 2017 and is no longer being updated.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR