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Swiss citizenship For Members

New figures reveal where all of Switzerland’s dual nationals live

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
New figures reveal where all of Switzerland’s dual nationals live
New study reveals details about Switzerland's dual citizens. Photo: It's all about the shot / GETTY IMAGES

Just over 1 million people in Switzerland are dual nationals — that is, foreigners who are Swiss while still maintaining the citizenship of their country of origin. This is what we know about them.

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Twenty percent of Switzerland’s permanent population aged 15 and over are dual nationals, according to a new study by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

The data, released on January 26th, is based on statistics from 2022 — is the latest available.

An interesting fact about these ‘duals’ is that 65 percent obtained Swiss nationality through naturalisation, while 35 percent acquired it at birth.

The latter can happen if a child is born to Swiss citizen parents who also hold a foreign passport, and pass on both nationalities to their offspring.

What else does the study reveal?

Most dual nationals come from neighbour countries.

Italians constitute the majority (23.1 percent), followed by French (11 percent), and Germans (10.1 percent).

Following these three countries came Turkish (4.5 percent), Portuguese (4.4 percent) and Spanish (4 percent). British dual nationals made up 2.4 percent of all the dual nationals.

Note that these proportions are different when compared with the number of foreigners who live in Switzerland with work / residence permits, but who are not dual nationals.

In this case, people from Germany ‘overtake’ those from France and Italy, in the second and third place, respectively. 

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Which cantons have the highest percentage of dual citizens as residents? 

The canton of Geneva has by far the biggest proportion of dual nationals among residents with 48.3 percent having at least two passports.

Next are Vaud (32.9 percent), Ticino (30.1), and Basel-City (27.1) — typically, the same cantons that also attract the highest number of cross-border workers.

Around a quarter of the population of Zurich are dual nationals (24.9 percent), while Schaffhausen, Zug and Valais count just over 18 percent of their population as dual nationals.

The Swiss capital Bern counts 11.1 percent of its population as dual nationals.

The two cantons with the lowest percentage of dual nationals are Appenzell Innerrhoden and Obwalden.

What else do we know about dual nationals living in Switzerland?

You may say that they have one foot in each on their countries (figuratively speaking, of course).

That’s because both governments consider these people as their citizens and neither regards them as foreigners.

In Switzerland, for statistical and other purposes, dual nationals are considered as Swiss only.

However, they also fall under the category of Switzerland's population with migration background.

READ ALSO: Nearly 40 percent of Swiss residents have 'migration background'

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What is the advantage of dual nationality?

The most obvious benefit is the ability to live and vote in both countries, without having to give up any rights in either.

The only exception may be American citizens, a number of whom are giving up their US passports after being naturalised in Switzerland. They take this drastic step to avoid paying taxes in the United States. 

The US is the only industrialised country in the world that taxes its overseas citizens. This practice places a double financial burden on them of having to pay taxes in their country of residence as well as in the United States.

That is why many Americans who have dual nationality opt to give up their US passports.
 
 
 
 

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