The grandchildren of immigrants to Switzerland will be able to access the facilitated naturalization process from February 15th, the Swiss government has said.
Third generation foreigners are those who were born in Switzerland and may have spent their lives here but do not have Swiss citizenship because their parents and grandparents did not.
Until now, such people have had to apply for citizenship through the ordinary naturalization system, a lengthy and costly process.
Those who wish to apply for facilitated naturalization must meet strict conditions, as hashed out by parliament over years of debate.
A candidate must have been born in Switzerland, have completed at least five years of schooling here and have a permanent residence permit.
Their grandparents and parents must also meet certain conditions related to residency and schooling.
Applicants cannot be over 25 years of age – a proviso added in parliament over fears people could shirk their military service obligations by only applying for citizenship after that age – though those currently aged 26-35 will be able to apply if they do so in the next five years.
Switzerland has an estimated 25,000 third generation immigrants aged 9-25 who meet these criteria.
Around 60 percent of them are Italian, according to a government study.
Those wishing to apply can ask for an application form from the Swiss migration office by emailing email@example.com