Expatriates holding a “carte de légitimation” or a Ci permit are no longer entitled to apply for Swiss citizenship, they must now be holding a C permit to be able to get naturalized. Significant changes have taken place since January 2018 with the enforcement of the new Swiss Citizenship Federal Law (LN).

What are the changes ?

The modifications concern the minimum of years spent in Switzerland as a resident and the type of permit hold  by the applicant. From 2018, ten years instead of the current twelve are required as minimum residency duration. Secondly, only residents holding a C Permit can apply.

Therefore, obtaining Swiss citizenship no longer relies on how long a person has been residing in Switzerland, but depends also on the type of permit held by the applicant.

Consequences of the changes brought by the new law for expats

These changes mean shorther naturalization periods for current residents holding a Permit C. Residents having lived for ten years in Switzerland will be able to apply for citizenship if they fulfill cantonal requirements. However, residents who do not hold a C permit will have to obtain it first before being able to apply for Swiss citizenship.

The key issue lies in the fact that, to this date, a “carte de légitimation” or Ci Permit does not confer the rights to obtain a C permit.  Currently, only UN retirees or children born in the country who fulfill the residency requirements are qualified to request a C permit if they can prove that they are well integrated in Switzerland.



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