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Steps to obtain Swiss citizenship

1 Permit “B”

The first step on the way to obtaining the Swiss citizenship is receiving the temporary residence permit of category “B” which has to be renewed every year for five or ten years (depending on the applicant’s nationality and other pre-conditions).

2 Permit “C”

Once the required waiting time has elapsed, permit “B” can be exchanged for a permanent residence permit of category “C”.

3 Application for Swiss citizenship

After another year, an application for the Swiss citizenship can be filed. To receive the bright red passport with a white cross, certain conditions must be met, including the sufficient knowledge of a national language (German, French, Italian or Romansh), clean criminal record, sufficient level of integration and financial solvability.

4 Swiss passport

Once all conditions have been met, the passport will be issued within two weeks. Swiss passport is currently ranked forth in the Passport Index and gives access to over 130 countries with the world reach of 66%.

EU/EFTA nationals can quite easily obtain the Swiss resident status since there is the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons in place between Switzerland and the European Union. It is much more difficult for nationals of other countries though. Their presence must be considered an “important public interest”. However, the term “important public interests” is quite flexible and vague. The cantons are given the autonomy to evaluate these interests which will most often be of a financial nature.

Lump-sum taxation

The applicants can opt for a taxation based on their spending. They must prove that they have sufficient financial means to be able to negotiate a lump-sum taxation agreement with the canton of their choice.

One of the important conditions is no gainful activity in Switzerland meaning that (self-)employment or private asset management in Switzerland won’t be allowed. A lump-sum taxpayer must also reside in Switzerland for at least 180 days (6 months) per year.

The most “expensive” cantons in this regard are French-speaking Geneva, Vaud and Valais, and they are the ones granting the majority of all residence permits issued countrywide.

Between 2008 and 2020, over 600 people received a residence permit based on a lump-sum taxation agreement. At present, more than 4,500 Swiss residents pay a lump-sum tax. All lump-sum taxpayers must spend at least CHF 400,000 per annum in the country.

Switzerland allows multiple nationalities. In fact, about 60% of the Swiss population are dual citizens.

Would you like to become a Swiss resident or learn more about this opportunity? Arrange a call with one of our experts today to get the details!

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