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How much does it cost to become a Swiss citizen?

How much does it cost to become a Swiss citizen?
Becoming a Swiss citizen is difficult and at times expensive. But the exact amount differs from canton to canton.

Swiss citizenship is among the most sought after in the world. 

Along with Switzerland being one of the world’s most expensive countries, means that citizenship in the Alpine nation is likely to set you back. 

It’s official! Switzerland is the most expensive country in the world

Here are some of the more common costs you’ll need to pay when applying for Swiss citizenship. 

Also, it is imperative that you have your documents in order when you apply. 

According to Swiss immigration agent Fragomen, application fees are non-refundable in all Swiss cantons

26 cantons – and 26 different price structures? 

As is typical in Switzerland, the amount you are going to pay will differ from canton to canton. 

How to apply for Swiss citizenship: An essential guide

No matter where you live in Switzerland, there are effectively three different levels of citizenship: federal, municipal and cantonal. 

Switzerland’s fierce defence of its local customs can mean significant differences from canton to canton. 

In addition to the varying costs you have to pay, there’s also a wide variety in the questions you’ll face as part of the citizenship process. 

This can lead to absurd consequences, like when an Italian man who lived in Switzerland for 30 years was denied citizenship because he didn’t know enough about the animals in the local zoo.

But that’s a matter for a whole other article. 

READ MORE: Would you pass a Swiss citizenship test?

Regarding the various costs from place to place, there was an attempt to bring these varying administrative costs in line across the country back in 2006.

However, this fell flat and the amount you pay is likely to differ depending on where you live. 

Filing an application with federal authorities

When looked at in isolation, many of the costs associated with becoming a Swiss citizen are relatively reasonable. It’s only when you start to add them up that things get a bit out of hand. 

The cost of filing an application with federal authorities is relatively low (100 Swiss francs for an adult, or 150 francs for a couple).

However, cantonal and communal/municipal authorities also charge non-refundable administrative fees which can seriously mount up.

Filing an application with cantonal authorities

According to a study by Le Matin Dimanche, the amount you’re set to pay to cantonal and municipal authorities can vary from a low of 500 francs to more than 3,000. 

The study reveals that administrative costs can range from 500–1,600 francs in the canton of Jura to 1,800–3,000 francs in Fribourg, depending on which commune you live in.

Costs in other cantons include 550 to 800 francs in canton Vaud, 1,000 francs in Valais.

In Geneva, while fees used to be based on income, they are now charged at a flat rate depending on age and whether you are applying as an individual or a couple. 

According to official sources, naturalisation in Geneva costs CHF300.- for minors from 11 to 17 years old; CHF850.- for adults under 25; CHF1250.- for people over 25; CHF1360.- for couples with one member under 25; CHF2000.- for couples over 25; CHF 300.- per child included in the different procedures.

For the canton of Zurich, the cost is listed on the cantonal homepage as 1,200 francs for foreign-born adults aged over 25. 

For people under 25, the municipal authority has recently waived application fees – although you will still need to pay money at cantonal level

Contacted by Le Matin Dimanche, authorities in Fribourg said there was no political motivation behind the high administrative costs associated with citizenship in that canton. A spokesperson said costs of individual applications were calculated based on actual costs incurred.

NOTE: This article is only a guide to some of the most common costs and procedures associated with becoming a Swiss citizen. It is not intended to serve as legal advice. Have we gotten something wrong? Get in touch at [email protected]


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