The 5 stages of your naturalization process in Switzerland

The process of naturalization in Switzerland can be roughly divided into five stages. In this article, you can see in what context the question “Why become Swiss” is asked and how your answers change throughout the naturalization process.

Please note: the process is regulated differently in each canton and municipality. There is no nationwide standard. However, the typical process consists of the five phases described here. 

The first stage is the decision phase.

If you have already lived in Switzerland for several years and want to stay here in the future, at some point the question arises whether you want to or should become a naturalized citizen.

At this stage, you address the question “Why become Swiss?” to yourself. In order to answer the question for yourself, you usually go through a lot of other questions and clarify what naturalization specifically means. Here are some of these accompanying questions:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of naturalization for me (and my family)?
  • What consequences does naturalization have on the areas of life career and profession, finances, pension provision, educational opportunities, political participation, etc.?
  • Can I have two or more citizenships or will I have to give up my original citizenship?
  • Will my life change in a positive way? In what way?

Who do you talk to at this stage?

With friends, colleagues, family members – and probably your future references. Some of you may also consult a lawyer at this stage.

Once you have completed this phase with a positive decision, you can begin the second phase. To do this, you must meet the requirements for naturalization. One important requirement that often remains open until the very end is language certification. The Fide exam is often an obvious solution to fulfill this requirement.

In the second stage of naturalization you apply officially.

What do you have to do?

You submit the required documents. 

Pay attention to the time sequence within which you apply for documents. The date of issue of some documents may not be more than a few weeks in a few cases.

You must provide written information about your motives in an application form at this stage.

Who do you talk to at this stage?

With representatives of the authorities. Often, communication in this phase is in written form.

The third – or, depending on the canton, the fourth stage – is the cantonal interview.

This interview checks whether you meet the formal requirements for naturalization.

What do you have to do?

  • Give answers to personal questions
  • Answer questions about your family
  • Answer questions about your motives
  • Give and confirm information about your current situation
  • Sometimes you will also have to answer questions about Switzerland in this interview

Who do you talk to at this stage?

Usually with only one representative of the cantonal authorities. This interview is conducted by telephone or on site, depending on the canton.


The fourth stage is the naturalization interview in your municipality (Gemeinde).

This is likely the last phase in which you have to be active. At the same time it is also the most important interview in this process.

What should you expect and what should you prepare:

  • Give answers to personal questions
  • Give answers to questions about your motives
  • Give information about your current situation
  • Give answers to questions about the geography, history, politics, and society of Switzerland
  • Show that you are well integrated in the community

Who are you speaking to?

A committee of up to 12 or more people. You must appear in person for the interview. The language is one of the official languages of the canton.

The fifth stage is your waiting time for your passport

After the final interview you will be informed if you have passed. After that your papers will go to Bern for verification.  

Normally, you only need to wait at this stage. It may take eight or more months before you receive a final confirmation.

However, one thing you should do is celebrate your passing interviews! If you have worked through to here, you have accomplished great things.

Do you have a question about this topic? 

Or do you have information about this topic that would help others with their naturalization process?

Please let me know and email me.

We can help you in all stages of naturalization and prepare you for the language tests and interviews. You can book a free consultation with this link.

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