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Swiss citizenship For Members

Why you shouldn't wait to get your Swiss passport after obtaining citizenship

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Why you shouldn't wait to get your Swiss passport after obtaining citizenship
You can apply for your passport online. Image by Bartek Zakrzewski from Pixabay

Most people who get naturalised will probably apply for the Swiss passport and ID card right away, while others may drag their feet. But getting your documents quickly is in your best interest.

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For most foreigners, being naturalised is a huge event, especially given the strict criteria, long wait, and various administrative hoops you must jump through on your way to Swiss citizenship.
 
READ ALSO: How to apply for Swiss citizenship 

Once you receive your citizenship at last, the next step is to apply for your Swiss passport and ID card without delay.

What’s the hurry?

It’s true that some people may have a more urgent need for Swiss identity documents than others.

For instance, if you are a citizen of a EU / EFTA nation, you may feel less pressed to apply for a passport because your EU status gives you sweeping rights in Switzerland, and also allows you to enter the country at airports through the same priority lanes as Swiss citizens. 

If, however, you are a national of a non-EU / EFTA state (the so-called 'third country'), including the UK, and you must pass through the ‘slow’ lane at the airport — even if you have a C permit — then you may want to get your Swiss passport without a further ado.

Applying for a Swiss  passport sooner rather than later may be especially important for Americans, many of whom plan to renounce their US citizenship after becoming naturalised in Switzerland.

READ ALSO: The Americans in Switzerland who renounced US passport

But the importance of getting your Swiss identity documents goes beyond purely practical considerations — it can actually save you money.

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One such example is car insurance.

Your insurance premium will often depend on the country you are from, because — right or wrong  — insurance companies base their rates on statistical evidence, reportedly showing that Swiss are better and safer drivers the majority of other nationalities.

A 2018 analysis by Comparis price-comparison service indicated that Albanians pay as much as 95 percent more than Swiss drivers, while Italians pay up to 22 percent more.

So, depending on your former nationality, it is in your best interest to get your Swiss passport asap, and hot-foot it to your insurance carrier to ask for a lower rate.

READ ALSO: Why foreigners in Switzerland pay higher car insurance premiums

And then, of course, there is one reason that has nothing to do with pragmatism and self-interest, and everything to do with your new-found sense of civic duty: as a Swiss citizen you can now vote in referendums and elections.

A Swiss biometric passport. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Do you need both the passport and identity card, or is one of them enough?

The credit-card-sized ID card is certainly more practical to carry around than a passport.

You can use it everywhere and anytime you need to prove your identity and / or nationality.

You can also use it instead of the passport if you travel within the Schengen zone or EU / EFTA countries — though you can use your Swiss passport for those purposes as well.

A sample of a new Swiss identity card. Photo: Fedpol Twitter

However, for travel outside Schengen / EU and EFTA will need your passport — and that is basically the only reason you’d need it.

So if you never leave the ‘safe’ zone of Schengen or EU / EFTA, then you could very well live in Switzerland with just your Swiss ID card, without ever needing your passport.

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How do you apply for these documents?
 
Once you receive your official confirmation that you are now a Swiss citizen, you can apply for a passport and/or identity card online. 

Or, you can order a passport and/or identity card in person at your cantonal passport office

You will need to provide proof of your Swiss citizenship (the letter you received) and, in some cases, a photo as well. Some cantons / communes will want to take the photo themselves.

You will typically receive the documents by mail within 10 days. They are valid for 10 years.

How much does this cost?

A passport for an adult costs 140 francs, and 5 francs for shipping.

The price for an ID card for an adult is 65 francs, plus a 5-franc shipment fee.

If you order a passport and ID together, the cost is 148 francs, and additional 10-franc postal fee.

Other prices, including for children, are listed here

 

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