A new Swiss Citizenship Act came into force in January 2018, which has substantially changed the Swiss citizenship requirements, the most notable being that applicants must hold a settlement C permit to qualify.
Residents in Switzerland who currently qualify for becoming a Swiss citizen are being advised to review whether their rights to Swiss citizenship will be revoked under the new measures, which are predicted to affect some 650,000 foreigners in Switzerland. Other reforms include unifying certain conditions across the cantons, for example, requirements to show language fluency and not accessing any social welfare benefits in the three years before applying.
Some foreigners find benefits in getting Swiss citizenship or Swiss permanent residency, although foreigners can live in Switzerland long-term with just a Swiss settlement permit.
The Swiss passport is reputed as one of Europe’s most difficult passports to obtain but it does provide travelling benefits – the Swiss passport ranks fourth on the passport power visa-free access to 155 countries.
Different requirements apply depending on your nationality; processes are easier for European nationals while third-national citizens can apply for citizenship after a certain number of years of living continuously in Switzerland, depending on their circumstances. Foreigners typically qualify for Swiss citizenship after 12 years of residence or for permanent residence after 10 years, although there are shorter paths to becoming Swiss for those married to Swiss nationals, second generation child residents and certain people born in Switzerland.