Court sets bar for marital residency claims

Marriage should be for life - or at least three years Keystone

Foreigners must be married to the same Swiss spouse for at least three consecutive years to keep resident status in Switzerland after a divorce, the Federal Court in Lausanne has decreed in a landmark ruling.

This content was published on March 25, 2014 minutes and agencies

The court turned down the appeals of two men, a Kosovar and a Bengali. Both had received a resident permit during their first marriage, then divorced, before remarrying and going through a second divorce.   

Both men had been married to a Swiss citizen for a total of more than three years. But the majority of the court’s judges ruled that none of the marriages met the legal requirement that a foreigner must be married to the same person for at least three years to keep their resident status after a divorce.

One judge did however state that in his view the condition could be met with different spouses.

The decision confirms  the refusal of canton Zurich authorities to extend the two men’s  residency permits despite the fact they were well integrated.

Immigration has become a particularly hot topic in Switzerland since a nationwide vote in February quashed Switzerland’s agreement with the European Union to allow the free movement of persons over Swiss borders.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?