• Switzerland's news in English
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
File photo: The Local

Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners

The Local · 16 Sep 2016, 10:50

Published: 16 Sep 2016 10:50 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The issue is causing headaches in parliament at the moment after the two houses failed to agree on what conditions should be required for such people to become Swiss, reported news agencies on Thursday.

Unlike in many other countries, people born in Switzerland are not automatically granted citizenship if their parents are not Swiss, but can apply to be naturalized under certain conditions. If neither their parents nor grandparents were Swiss, they could be the third generation of a family living in the country without citizenship.

At the moment the cantons set down their own rules regarding the naturalization process for third generation foreigners , but the federal government is trying to make the it easier by revising the law at federal level.

Under new rules developed in the lower house of parliament, a third generation foreigner could be granted simplified naturalization – as opposed to the longer process of ordinary naturalization – if they were born in Switzerland, have a C permit (permanent residency) and have completed at least five years of compulsory schooling in the country.

At least one of their parents must also have a C permit, have gone through the Swiss school system, and lived in Switzerland for at least a decade.

But on Thursday the upper house – or senate – failed to agree with the lower house on two other points.

As part of the proposed rules, at least one of the applicant’s grandparents  must have been born in Switzerland or have had permanent residency. But that’s not always easy to prove, said the lower house, which suggested softening the burden of proof.

It was also concerned by the suggestion that facilitated naturalization should only be open to people aged up to 25 – in an attempt to stop people from getting out of military service by only applying for citizenship after that age.

However such a rule could prevent thousands of older people from applying for citizenship, said the lower house. Consequently, a clause should be added to say that third generation foreigners of any age should have five years to place their application from the time the new law comes into force.

Story continues below…

But the senate disagreed on both points, voting against the lower house’s suggestions.

While the government wants to make the process easier, both houses reject the idea that third generation immigrants should automatically get Swiss citizenship by being born in Switzerland.

Before any law on the subject is passed, the Swiss people will have the final word in a referendum.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Villagers asked to help fund bridge renovations
The bridge links the two villages of Veltheim (pictured) and Holderbank. Photo: Lutz Fischer-Lamprecht

The crowdfunding campaign by the two communes is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

Police discover body buried in Orbe house
File photo: Bas Leenders

Police have opened an investigation after finding a body buried in a house in Orbe, in the canton of Vaud, on Saturday.

Valais shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake
The earthquake hit in the canton of Valais near Sierre. Photo: Alain Rouiller

It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country for two years.

Swiss Indoors kicks off without champ Federer
Federer celebrates with ball girls and boys after winning the event in 2015. Photo: Harold Cunningham/Pool/AFP

Stan Wawrinka is top seed as injured Federer sits it out.

IOC hires Russian doping whistleblower as consultant
IOC President Thomas Bach confirmed the news. File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has hired Vitaly Stepanov as a consultant and is helping his runner wife Yuliya.

‘Scary clown’ craze hits streets of Zurich
Photo: Pedro Pardo/AFP

Police in Zurich have warned so-called ‘scary clowns’ that they could face charges, following a number of incidents in the city.

VIDEO: driver chases runaway car on Swiss motorway
Image: Neuchâtel police

Shocking footage shows the moment a man dodged lorries to chase after his runaway car on a Swiss motorway.

Saas-Fee crowdfunds low-cost season ski pass
Saas-Fee is hoping to attract 99,999 season pass holders. Photo: Denis Emery/Photo-genic.ch

Skiers could get their hands on a whole season pass for just 222 francs ($223) in the Swiss resort of Saas Fee this winter – if enough people want one.

Swiss billionaire fined for dodging import tax
Urs Schwarzenbach owns the luxury Dolder Grand hotel in Zurich. Photo: Wilhem Rosenkranz

Urs Schwarzenbach faces a $4 million fine for failing to properly declare some 200 artworks imported into Switzerland.

Muslim woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf.

Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
jobs available