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Where in Switzerland your citizenship application will cost you the most

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Where in Switzerland your citizenship application will cost you the most
File photo: Depositphotos
09:01 CEST+02:00
A new study reveals the priciest (and cheapest) places to apply for Swiss citizenship.

Applying for a Swiss passport is a complicated process and the rules are different depending on the canton and commune where you live.

Fees for making an application also differ widely depending on your place of residence. While the federal government charges a flat fee of 100 Swiss francs (€90) for applications by single adults, there is no fixed price when it comes to additional cantonal and communal costs.

READ ALSO: How to apply for Swiss citizenship: an essential guide

Now research by Swiss comparison site Comparis reveals which cantonal capitals are the most expensive – and cheapest – in terms of applying for a prized red passport.

The study shows that the most expensive cantonal capital is the tax haven of Schwyz. Here a Swiss citizenship application costs 3,600 francs, which is made up of 100 francs in federal fees, 500 francs in cantonal fees and a huge 3,000 francs in communal fees.

At the other end of the scale is Lausanne where an application is more than four times cheaper at 800 francs. This is made up of 100 francs in federal fees, 450 francs in cantonal fees and 250 francs in communal fees.

Generally speaking, fees are cheaper in Switzerland’s French and Italian speaking cantons, although the German-speaking canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden in the east of the country also has relatively inexpensive citizenship application costs.

Other 'hidden' costs

The authors of the Comparis study note that applicants may also have to pay other costs alongside the fees outlined above. Depending on where you live, you could also have to pay separately for a citizenship course. In Schwyz, this is included in the (high) fees but in Zurich you would have to splash out an additional 360 francs to do the course with an external provider. In Zug, the course will set you back 300 francs.

Meanwhile, a language test to prove your linguistics skills would cost 250 francs in Zurich.

On top of all that, getting citizenship doesn’t mean you automatically get a Swiss passport. The document itself costs 140 francs for adults, or, for 148 francs, you can get a passport and a Swiss ID card at the same time.

'Arbitrary and unjust'

The president of the Swiss Socialists Migrant group, Mustafa Atici, described the high fees in some cantons as "arbitrary and unjust". In comments made to the 20 Minuten news site, he added the fees dissuaded people – especially young people – from applying for citizenship.

But André Brugger with The Liberals (FDP) in Schwyz defended the fees. He said they simply covered the costs of the process, including that of courses involved, and that "no profits" were derived from the charges.

The Swiss federal price watchdog last year said it would open an inquiry into why administrative costs for applying for citizenship vary so much across the country.

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