Naturalisation: Language requirement

Soon, I will be eligible to apply for Swiss naturalisation… through two different paths even.

Path 1: 10 years in Switzerland
Path 2: Married to a Swiss citizen since >3 years

Question I have is - with the second path, it seems I need to show A2/B1 in ANY Swiss language, right? We speak Italian at home, and I’m pretty fluent in my mothertongue (Italian). I can also deal with French at B2/C1 level… but my German is pretty appalling.

So here’s the question - we live in a German speaking canton - so path 1 would require a better grasp of German.

With path 2 - is there still a need to know/pass the “Swissness test”? Do I need German, or any Swiss national language?

For Path 1, you are first and foremost becoming a citizen of the town…so the local language is critical. But reaching A2/B1 would be to your benefit anyway and shouldn’t take a great deal of effort, especially as you are already mulit-lingual.

For Path 2, I am not sure, but again you may have an interview at the town level. I would check the official website for the latest.

I spent some time on the various sites - for Path 2 they seem to all say “a national language”… but I could not find if there is the local knowledge test or not.

As for leaning German - would love to, but it’s harder than I expected.
Partly because at work, our official business language is English…
Partly because all my clients speak English or Italian…
Partly because in my gemeinde, >70% of residents are of Italian origin (totally a coicidence I bought there, but I found out after that in the 80’s there was a BIG factory there that imported thousands of workers from Italy) - so everyone speaks Italian. Even at coop/migros, the cashier defaults to Italian over German…

So while I have “classroom German” to B1, practicing it is near impossible… my social circle is work colleagues (we work long hours), so again - English.

Maybe I just move to Lugano :stuck_out_tongue: If only taxes weren’t so high there…

EDIT: Found this:

You will need to be able to show that you can communicate orally to B1 level. If you have a great deal of difficulty follow the interview because you cannot understand the language, a detailed (word by word) record will be made and this will be included with the investigation report. If the interview cannot be conducted because you as the applicant or your children under 18 included in your application have an insufficient knowledge of the language spoken in your commune or canton, your Swiss spouse or a third party can assist so long as they speak the local national language and the other national languages that you have mentioned on your application for simplified naturalisation.

So in theory, I can bring a translator (my wife doesn’t speak Italian, we communicate in English) from German to Italian to the interview?

Got a response from SEM…

Short version: as an Italian citizen, no language test is needed for facilitated naturalization. Not even an Italian language one.

For the “knowledge of Switzerland” exam, I can bring a translator or my wife to translate for me.


I was going to say that, in our experience, classroom B1 is completely sufficient! Of course there are people naturalizing who are fluent, born here, went to school here, but there are a bunch of us who speak classroom high German, exactly for the reasons described (speaking English at work and, in our case, having German as our 3rd/4th language).

Good luck!

So got an follow up answer, saying that it’s possible to also do it in Italian in some cantons… so to check…

Go with facilitated. It usually takes less time and I think it even costs less. You can move during the process if you need or want to, as you’re applying for citizenship in your spouse’s municipality as opposed to the one where you now live.


All of this is true. However, they do scrutinize your marriage and if you were to separate or divorce within 8 years of naturalization - even if your marriage is very stable now - they could start the process to strip you of your citizenship.
If I had both paths open to me, I would choose ordinary naturalization.

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Also note that for facilitated naturalization, it is a requirement that your wife-husband must be already Swiss at the time of marriage. If he-she became Swiss at a late date, you cannot use facilitated naturalization.

I wonder how likely that would be if at the time of divorce or naturalization you would have been eligible for naturalization anyway.

Probably not likely, I agree.

The process is such a black box, I wouldn’t be suprised either way.

As I understand it, that’s only if the authorities have legitimate reasons to believe that a person obtained citizenship fraudulently - for example claiming to live together in a stable relationship, but not actually living together and divorcing right after citizenship was granted. I’ve never even read a story about such a withdrawn citizenship due to fraudulent marriage.

If I had both paths, I’d choose facilitated. I think it could look rather odd to the conservative Swiss that someone would deliberately choose NOT to pursue citizenship of the commune of the spouse.

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Hello, I am an Indian married to a Swiss citizen and we are living together for 10 years with our two kids in kt.ZH. My wife is naturalized Swiss but she was Swiss at the time of our marriage so i suppose simplified naturalization applies to me.

In the past 10 years i was only moving around an international English speaking bubble and never took it seriously to learn German actively. I do have a A1/A2 certification which was required for my C permit, but i still struggle framing a simple sentence in German.

I also have a masters degree from a Swiss Fachhochschule university so i believe i am exempt to write the "knowledge of Switzerland " exam (unless my understanding is wrong?). I also must shamefully admit that i only know 3 Swiss families despite living 10 years here.

Of course i do understand that the citizenship interview are conducted in Swiss German or the Swiss version of the high German but response is not really expected in Swiss dialect.
PS: I am employed and have always employed during my time here in CH, always paid taxes on time and taken no social assistance nor have been a threat to CH or its public.

I wanted to check if there are people in similar situation but managed to get a Swiss citizenship recently,

How hard was it to crack the interview?
And what was the real level of German necessary at the interview ?
And how long does it really take to get the citizenship?
And finally how much did it cost ?


Hi, you will need the B1 level, in theory and in practice. You will need to understand the questions, the grammatical correctness of your answers is not so crucial.

The interview was not hard - but we have B1 and B2 certificates, respectively, and took the preparation course. Also, we live in a city (more liberal).
As to how long it takes and how much it costs: it really depends on your locality and canton, and it’s still another thing if it’s facilitated naturalization. For that, look here:
Both the interview and knowledge tests are different if you do the ordinary or facilitated naturalization, so first you need to be clear which one you’ll apply for. Your first step should be to learn high German and get a B1 certificate.