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Old 29.11.2012, 12:18
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Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

To Whom It May Concern,

If you are holder of dual citizenship for the United States of America and Switzerland, currently living in Switzerland and actively fulfilling your military obligations in the Swiss Army or Civil Protection service; the treaty/convention below might be of a particular interest to you.

The convention is the following

Convention relative to military obligations of certain persons having dual nationality

Signed at Berne November 11, 1937; entered into force December 7, 1938
(11 Bevans 936; 53 Stat. 1791; TS 943; 193 LNTS 181; BS 11 588; SR 0.141.133.6)


This convention provides that a person born in the territory of one of the Contracting Parties, of parents who are nationals of the other, who possesses the nationality of the United States and Switzerland, and has his habitual residence in the State of his birth, shall not be held liable by the other State for military service or for payment of taxes in lieu thereof, even in the case of a temporary stay in the latter State. If this stay is protracted beyond the period of two years a special regulation applies.

Source: http://www.vtg.admin.ch/internet/vtg...stpflicht.html

To explain it more simple terms, here is in a few words my situation:

I am dual American and Swiss citizen, born in the United States, where I lived the majority of my childhood; I returned to Switzerland in the Summer 2003 and by Spring 2005, I was already incorporated to fulfill my obligations in the Civil Protection Service, THUS not respecting the above mentioned convention.

As a result of this injustice, I have started taking legal action against the Swiss Army and I am currently in the process of being discharged from service.

NB: There are also Conventions between Switzerland and the following countries, which are the following:

- Austria
- France
- Italy
- Argentina
- Colombia

If any of these countries apply to you, check the link below for details or you may also Google it

http://www.vtg.admin.ch/internet/vtg/fr/home/militaerdienst/fda/gesetzliche/militaerdienstpflicht.html
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Old 29.11.2012, 12:23
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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If you are holder of dual citizenship for the United States of America and Switzerland, currently living in Switzerland and actively fulfilling your military obligations in the Swiss Army or Civil Protection service; the treaty/convention below might be of a particular interest to you.

The convention is the following

Convention relative to military obligations of certain persons having dual nationality

Signed at Berne November 11, 1937; entered into force December 7, 1938
(11 Bevans 936; 53 Stat. 1791; TS 943; 193 LNTS 181; BS 11 588; SR 0.141.133.6)


This convention provides that a person born in the territory of one of the Contracting Parties, of parents who are nationals of the other, who possesses the nationality of the United States and Switzerland, and has his habitual residence in the State of his birth, shall not be held liable by the other State for military service or for payment of taxes in lieu thereof, even in the case of a temporary stay in the latter State. If this stay is protracted beyond the period of two years a special regulation applies.
So, have you already served in the US then?

I believe there is no "I don't feel like it" clause in there... Good luck..
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Old 29.11.2012, 12:24
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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If this stay is protracted beyond the period of two years a special regulation applies
I think this may be the relevant bit. Have you looked up this "special regulation" to see what it says?
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Old 29.11.2012, 12:31
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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I think this may be the relevant bit. Have you looked up this "special regulation" to see what it says?
According to a lawyer who helped me on this matter, the special regulation applies if you started service after the two year period following your arrival in the country. In my case, it is not applicable.
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Old 29.11.2012, 12:35
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

I don't really see the issue. Doesn't the convention essentially state that as long as you're not living in Switzerland, you're not subject to swiss military requirements, but once you live here permanently, you are?

You seem to have been a permament resident at the time you were required to fulfill your obligations, no? And you're still living here some 9 years later?
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Old 29.11.2012, 12:41
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

Unless you have a religious or moral objection, I do not see what is so bad about doing military service.
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Old 29.11.2012, 13:07
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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I am dual American and Swiss citizen, born in the United States, where I lived the majority of my childhood; I returned to Switzerland in the Summer 2003 and by Spring 2005, I was already incorporated to fulfill my obligations in the Civil Protection Service, THUS not respecting the above mentioned convention.
Question, what is the exact time line? When did you came to Switzerland to live permanently here (Summer 2003)? When did you get drafted by the Swiss Armed Forces (Spring 2005)? So, you are arguing about 3 Months?
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Old 29.11.2012, 15:28
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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Unless you have a religious or moral objection, I do not see what is so bad about doing military service.
I still find it legally illogical that any government that is not officially sexist can impose military service only for male members... Though if you think about it, anyone that is not sexist could have a moral objection with only forcing men to serve and not their female compatriots.. but i doubt that would work without a massive legal challenge.
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Old 29.11.2012, 15:50
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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I still find it legally illogical that any government that is not officially sexist can impose military service only for male members...
The government does not "impose" military service, the Constitution does.
http://www.admin.ch/ch/e/rs/101/a59.html

And since the Constitution was voted on democratically... it is the Swiss people who imposed the military service on themselves (or at least the male half of the population).
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Old 29.11.2012, 16:02
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

I don't see where you are exempt, and wonder if this will just be a big expense for you without the outcome you desire.

1. You became a resident of CH at an age when military service is required.

2. You don't mention having done any military service in the U.S, which would count toward service here.

3. CH has signed agreements with the U.S. but as far as I know, they don't exempt you from serving just because you were raised abroad. If you're a male CH citizen residing in CH you're required to serve unless you meet other exemption requirements (medical, educational, etc.)

From swissinfo:
"Swiss living abroad are also basically free from being recruited and serving in the military during times of peace as long as they remain abroad...

...Should a Swiss abroad return to Switzerland to live, he is obliged to take up military service depending on age and capabilities.

Having another citizenship does not, in general, influence Swiss military requirements. Swiss who can show they have dual citizenship and have fulfilled military service requirements, civil service or other related duties in that country are excused from Swiss military obligations according to accords signed with those states. Agreements exist with, among others, Germany, France, and the US."

I also scratch my head at why you are pursuing legal action in 2012 when this apparently started in 2005?

However it appears you're really passionate about this so good luck and let us know how it turns out.
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Old 29.11.2012, 16:09
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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To explain it more simple terms, here is in a few words my situation:

I am dual American and Swiss citizen, born in the United States, where I lived the majority of my childhood; I returned to Switzerland in the Summer 2003 and by Spring 2005, I was already incorporated to fulfill my obligations in the Civil Protection Service, THUS not respecting the above mentioned convention.

As a result of this injustice, I have started taking legal action against the Swiss Army and I am currently in the process of being discharged from service.
Here the actual wording of the treaty (in German). The treaty only exempts dual citizens who have "habitual residence" in one country and are "temporarily" in the other country. If there are clear indications that you have given up your habitual residence abroad, my reading of the treaty is that the authorities do not need to wait for the two years to expire. In fact, the treaty actually says that if your "temporary" stay is longer than two years you can be called to serve.
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Old 29.11.2012, 16:25
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

Hey man, don't knock it. You can use the fact that you have served in the Swiss military to help you ditch the US citizenship through renunciation and then you can keep your Swiss bank account.
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Old 29.11.2012, 16:35
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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Here the actual wording of the treaty (in German). The treaty only exempts dual citizens who have "habitual residence" in one country and are "temporarily" in the other country. If there are clear indications that you have given up your habitual residence abroad, my reading of the treaty is that the authorities do not need to wait for the two years to expire. In fact, the treaty actually says that if your "temporary" stay is longer than two years you can be called to serve.
He may have a case if he was a student back then. As from his linked site you wont have residency if you are in Switerland just for school and education. Art. 26 ZGB (strange, no English version of this article exists ) (Just if you wonder why: There is a simple reason for this non residency clause, Naturalization which request a certain time of residency)

But on the other hand the treaty also says " shall not be held liable". Was the OP forced to do it, or did he just never object until he found this treaty?
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Old 29.11.2012, 16:44
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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He may have a case if he was a student back then. As from his linked site you wont have residency if you are in Switerland just for school and education. Art. 26 ZGB (strange, no English version of this article exists ) (Just if you wonder why: There is a simple reason for this non residency clause, Naturalization which request a certain time of residency)

But on the other hand the treaty also says " shall not be held liable". Was the OP forced to do it, or did he just never object until he found this treaty?
Actually, that with being in Switzerland only for studies only applies for Auslandschweizer (Swiss abroad) - not dual citizens. That's how I understood it..

Therefore he should be eligible for service.
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Old 29.11.2012, 16:46
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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Actually, that with being in Switzerland only for studies only applies for Auslandschweizer (Swiss abroad) - not dual citizens. That's how I understood it..

Therefore he should be eligible for service.
Read the OP... is dual citizen.
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Old 29.11.2012, 16:54
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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Read the OP... is dual citizen.
That's my point.. As a Swiss (no other passport) abroad, you are exempt from service if you are only here for studies.
This does not apply for dual citizens, according to my understanding of this article.

He may have a point about the first two years, when he should not have been called up... can't see how he will get any compensation or get out of the service due to that though.. (to be clear, I am not a lawyer or otherwise connected to law practice in Switzerland)
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Old 29.11.2012, 16:56
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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Hey man, don't knock it. You can use the fact that you have served in the Swiss military to help you ditch the US citizenship through renunciation and then you can keep your Swiss bank account.
To bad he did Civil Protection Service and was not in the army. Additionally, he would need at least the rank of a corporal (w/o being forced by the Swiss) and also I must have done it with the intend to lose the US citizenship.
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Old 29.11.2012, 18:43
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

So, OP, you are whining about doing civil protection service and actually want to sue Switzerland because if it?!?! What are you going to sue them over, missed Xbox time?


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Unless you have a religious or moral objection, I do not see what is so bad about doing military service.
not sure I'd accept religious objections as valid myself.
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Old 29.11.2012, 20:43
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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To bad he did Civil Protection Service and was not in the army. Additionally, he would need at least the rank of a corporal (w/o being forced by the Swiss) and also I must have done it with the intend to lose the US citizenship.
Yeah, but it still may help in determining where he lives his life now if he wants to ditch the US. Lives here, works here, did service here, helps prove he doesn't have the same strong ties to US when it comes to accepting his renunciation application, if he makes one.

As far as I can see reading his complaint, although he spent his childhood in the US since 2003 he's been based in Switzerland which makes CH his habitual residence at the time this occurred. If he'd been spending a fair amount of every year back in the States during this time then it would be different.
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Old 29.11.2012, 22:30
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Re: Military Obligations in Switzerland for USA/CH dual nationals

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To Whom It May Concern,

If you are holder of dual citizenship for the United States of America and Switzerland, currently living in Switzerland and actively fulfilling your military obligations in the Swiss Army or Civil Protection service; the treaty/convention below might be of a particular interest to you.

The convention is the following

Convention relative to military obligations of certain persons having dual nationality

Signed at Berne November 11, 1937; entered into force December 7, 1938
(11 Bevans 936; 53 Stat. 1791; TS 943; 193 LNTS 181; BS 11 588; SR 0.141.133.6)


This convention provides that a person born in the territory of one of the Contracting Parties, of parents who are nationals of the other, who possesses the nationality of the United States and Switzerland, and has his habitual residence in the State of his birth, shall not be held liable by the other State for military service or for payment of taxes in lieu thereof, even in the case of a temporary stay in the latter State. If this stay is protracted beyond the period of two years a special regulation applies.

Source: http://www.vtg.admin.ch/internet/vtg...stpflicht.html

To explain it more simple terms, here is in a few words my situation:

I am dual American and Swiss citizen, born in the United States, where I lived the majority of my childhood; I returned to Switzerland in the Summer 2003 and by Spring 2005, I was already incorporated to fulfill my obligations in the Civil Protection Service, THUS not respecting the above mentioned convention.

As a result of this injustice, I have started taking legal action against the Swiss Army and I am currently in the process of being discharged from service.

NB: There are also Conventions between Switzerland and the following countries, which are the following:

- Austria
- France
- Italy
- Argentina
- Colombia

If any of these countries apply to you, check the link below for details or you may also Google it

http://www.vtg.admin.ch/internet/vtg/fr/home/militaerdienst/fda/gesetzliche/militaerdienstpflicht.html
A) if you, in the times when the USA still had the draft, did military service in Switzerland, you were NOT to be taken into the military once back in the USA. This was the reason why in the late 60ies and early 70ies, uncountable dual citizens who lived in the USA came over to Switzerland and did military service, in order to keep out of the War in Vietnam (I was the defacto translator of such a chap in the "RS", and learnt a lot of English that way)
B) if you as a dual citizen lived in the USA for more than 10 years, you could visit Switzerland without the risk to be charged with military taxes. THIS was checked up by my uncle and his wife (based in Marshall/TX) in 1958, He had lived in TX+LA since 1905 . Things between 1955 and early 58 were checked up with the CH-embassy in W-DC and the military command of the Canton of Schaffhausen. As the NON-CH wife of him did most of the work, it was Mum who did the translating for the office in Schaffhausen.

BUT then two major questions :
> How old were you when coming over to Switzerland ? If less than 20 years old you are considered a CH citizen who has to do military service !
> Have you done service in any part of USA armed forces ? If not, then you have to accept to be up for military service here
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