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Old 08.06.2018, 09:29
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New to the Forum! Questions about becoming Swiss

Hello Iím Cody from America. Iím new to the forums. Iíve been wanting to move to and naturalize to Switzerland for many years now. Ideally Iíd like to begin living there in 3 years when I finish University. Iíd greatly appreciate anyone who can answer some of my questions about becoming Swiss.


1. Iíve heard that it is difficult to get a job as an expat in Switzerland because when applying you must prove that you arenít taking the job away from a Swiss Citizen. Is this true and if so how difficult is it to find work?


2. On the topic of jobs, in America it is typical to finish University with just a bachelor's degree. Would I be competitive at all in Switzerland with just a single bachelorís degree from an American school while Swiss and other European schools have the status quo set at a Masters degree?


3. Can anyone give me their experience of an exchange semester/year in a Swiss University? Specifically how common are classes that are taught fully in English?


4. Importance of Swiss-German? Iíve already begun studying ďregularĒ German to meet the requirement of proficiency for citizenship and also of course to get by in daily life. Would I run into any serious problems having no knowledge of Swiss-German?


5. How does military service work for immigrants once they acquire citizenship? If I acquired citizenship before the age 26 would I still be required to serve? If I acquired citizenship after 26 would I have 0 obligations?


6. Somewhat relating to #5, what are the requirements for gun ownership in Switzerland? Do I need to be a full citizen? Do I need to have served in the military? Are there certain firearms you can only purchase if you have served in the military?


Any additional advice from American/English speaking expats is really appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 08.06.2018, 09:46
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Re: New to the Forum! Questions about becoming Swiss

Hi Cody, welcome to the Forum.

Before we dig into all that, why Switzerland? Have you visited before and you think this is the place you want to be? Or have you maybe read some news articles about how life is here and you think it's Utopia compared to where you are now?

Briefly, as a non-EU without any special skills or qualifications it's nearly impossible to get a job. Every Swiss, EU, and non-EU already here with a valid permit is ahead of you in line for jobs. Employers have to spend a fair amount of money to prove you're the most qualified candidate.

You could aim to study for a Master's degree here, as many of those courses are taught in English. Or marry an EU or Swiss citizen that's living here.

Also note that being a U.S. citizen in Switzerland means extra tax and reporting headaches with the IRS.
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Old 08.06.2018, 09:56
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Re: New to the Forum! Questions about becoming Swiss

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If I acquired citizenship before the age 26 would I still be required to serve?
Yes.

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If I acquired citizenship after 26 would I have 0 obligations?
No, you would have extra tax obligations of 2%/year for many years.

Tom
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Old 08.06.2018, 10:05
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Re: New to the Forum! Questions about becoming Swiss

1. Non-EU applicants are at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to work permits. Not only does an employer have to prove that no Swiss citizen is willing and able to do the job, but also that there is no EU citizen willing and able. That's a pretty big labor pool. So unless you have something unique to offer, your chances are slim.

Graduates of Swiss universities have 6 months where they are on equal footing with a Swiss/EU citizen - but only for jobs of 'significant economic or scientific benefit to Switzerland'.

So what are you studying?

2. Depends on the industry and individual company. In some a masters is preferred. In others a masters puts you into the too qualified and thus too expensive without relevant experience category. You will need to research your industry.

4..Depends on where you live. In the cities, you can likely get by. In my village understanding SG is a must. Note I said understanding - people will only speak SG, but are not fussed if you reply in HG. If your ultimate goal is citizenship, you will have to prove integration, of which local language proficiency is key, so you may as well get cracking on that Swiss German sooner than later. Sure, officially HG is accepted, and if you live in a city or a town that takes a more 'administrative' approach to the integration requirements you'd be OK with only HG. My strategy of understanding SG and speaking HG works perfectly well for everyday life, but it would not be good enough for citizenship in my village. But I will never apply for citizenship, so not a factor for me. YMMV.

As you are studying Swiss German, be sure you can speak fluently about Raclette.

5. If you are keen to become a citizen, wouldn't taking up one of the basic duties of a male citizen be something that you would want to do? Sure you can get out of it by paying a tax, but think about that for a moment.

6. You do know that all the gumpf you read in the US media extolling the virtues of gun toting' Swiss is just that, pure gumpf? Switzerland is nothing like the conservative gun-centered paradise a certain segment of the US media paint it to be. Hint: Do not assume that the US understanding of the word conservative, and all the subtext that goes with it, bears much resemblance to the meaning of the word here.

Good luck with your decisions and future path.
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Old 08.06.2018, 10:20
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Re: New to the Forum! Questions about becoming Swiss

First, it's good to plan ahead, but I think you are jumping the gun a lot, working towards citizenship when you haven't even entered the country for work, study, etc.. Have you ever even visited yet? Your first hurdle will be getting a permit to live here, and being American and only speaking english will make that a challenge. I would suggest studying one of the languages now to complete fluency while you are still in school and have the time and dedication to do so. Studying here may be an option, but first get the language skills. Only after 10 years of residence, unless you fall into one of the special categories, will you be even able to apply for citizenship.

A few points below to your specific questions.

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1. I’ve heard that it is difficult to get a job as an expat in Switzerland because when applying you must prove that you aren’t taking the job away from a Swiss Citizen. Is this true and if so how difficult is it to find work?

2. On the topic of jobs, in America it is typical to finish University with just a bachelor's degree. Would I be competitive at all in Switzerland with just a single bachelor’s degree from an American school while Swiss and other European schools have the status quo set at a Masters degree?
You need specialised skills that are not only not found by a Swiss, but also for EUs, so stay in school and pursue higher education, you would have a higher chance of qualifying then.

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3. Can anyone give me their experience of an exchange semester/year in a Swiss University? Specifically how common are classes that are taught fully in English?
Undergraduate is taught in local language, higher education can be in english.


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5. How does military service work for immigrants once they acquire citizenship? If I acquired citizenship before the age 26 would I still be required to serve? If I acquired citizenship after 26 would I have 0 obligations?
Unless you are very young now, you are not likely to get citizenship before 26, as it takes 10 years of residence before you can apply.


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6. Somewhat relating to #5, what are the requirements for gun ownership in Switzerland? Do I need to be a full citizen? Do I need to have served in the military? Are there certain firearms you can only purchase if you have served in the military?
Generally requires a license. Getting a license depends on your permit status. Don't expect to walk off the plane with a gun or buy a gun here the day you arrive.
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Old 08.06.2018, 11:52
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Re: New to the Forum! Questions about becoming Swiss

1. You are in the same bucket as the people from Uzbekistan, Samoa, and Angola. Which means you or your employer must not only proof that no Swiss can do the Job, but as well no EU or EFTA Citizen and as all those foreigner from the above bucket which already have a long term residency permit.

2. A beacholor from a University of Applied Science which are professional than academic oriented institution is normally good enough. But then it is also expect that you actually know what work is and can perform 100% from the first day. For normal academic Universities at least a Master is the norm. But as Melloncollie says depends on industry and position.

3. Normally non-European Universities have exchange programs among each other. You will have to look if your US university offers one with a Swiss University. PS: May forum name comes from the fact that I did such an exchange

4. First master regular German. Written language, except for love letter, SMS, and some theater plays, is standard German. The people understand standard German, they might not speak it, or with an accent. Like a Texan speaks English in London (or vice versa).

5. Recruitment is only possible up to the year you become 24. Up to age 30 you will have to pay military exemption tax, but not in the year you become Swiss. You will need at least 5 years in case you marry a Swiss, or 10 years in other cases.

6. See https://www.ch.ch/en/acquiring-firearm/ No special treatment if you have served the military. Except that you can keep your service gun. In case it was a SIG 550 it will be converted into a semi-automatic. But you can also buy those.
Do add to meloncollies comment: Also liberal means something completely different than in the USA. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism
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Old 08.06.2018, 12:35
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Re: New to the Forum! Questions about becoming Swiss

...Oh dear, let me see what date it is........oh, surprise, it's Friday 8th !
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Old 08.06.2018, 13:08
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Re: New to the Forum! Questions about becoming Swiss

The reason why you want to have a gun will be looked at very closely. Apparently "Self defence" is not a valid reason, at least in some jurisdictions.
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Old 08.06.2018, 13:52
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Re: New to the Forum! Questions about becoming Swiss

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Hello Iím Cody from America. Iím new to the forums. Iíve been wanting to move to and naturalize to Switzerland for many years now. Ideally Iíd like to begin living there in 3 years when I finish University. Iíd greatly appreciate anyone who can answer some of my questions about becoming Swiss.


1. Iíve heard that it is difficult to get a job as an expat in Switzerland because when applying you must prove that you arenít taking the job away from a Swiss Citizen. Is this true and if so how difficult is it to find work?


2. On the topic of jobs, in America it is typical to finish University with just a bachelor's degree. Would I be competitive at all in Switzerland with just a single bachelorís degree from an American school while Swiss and other European schools have the status quo set at a Masters degree?


3. Can anyone give me their experience of an exchange semester/year in a Swiss University? Specifically how common are classes that are taught fully in English?


4. Importance of Swiss-German? Iíve already begun studying ďregularĒ German to meet the requirement of proficiency for citizenship and also of course to get by in daily life. Would I run into any serious problems having no knowledge of Swiss-German?


5. How does military service work for immigrants once they acquire citizenship? If I acquired citizenship before the age 26 would I still be required to serve? If I acquired citizenship after 26 would I have 0 obligations?


6. Somewhat relating to #5, what are the requirements for gun ownership in Switzerland? Do I need to be a full citizen? Do I need to have served in the military? Are there certain firearms you can only purchase if you have served in the military?


Any additional advice from American/English speaking expats is really appreciated. Thanks.
Ah, so many questions.

1. The legal basis for hiring of non-EU nationals is here:

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...zulassung.html

Probably the most pertinent part for you is this:

"Cadre, specialists and other qualified employees will be admitted. "Qualified employee" means, first and foremost, people with a degree from a university or institution of higher education as well as several years of professional experience."

As a new grad you won't have that.

2/3. Yes, it can be possible though the Swiss do like their Masters. You could consider doing a Masters here - many are taught in English though sometimes the local language is also required. It really depends on what course you're taking.

4. As said in large urban areas it's not too much of a problem, but new rules are coming in for getting and keeping all types of Swiss permit.

https://www.englishforum.ch/permits-...t-holders.html

Due to come into force some time this year.

6. People do not own guns here in the same way they do in the US. It's not the norm to have one. That's not to say you can't, but realise it's a different attitude to them than what you're used to.

Additional advice:

1) Since you seem to be wearing rose tinted glasses have you even visited the country you want to move to? If not, then I suggest you do so. Just fixing on moving somewhere else is not a good enough reason to do so. Laws are different, customs are different, you may not like what you find once you're here, etc.

2) You're American. To the rest of the world and particularly Switzerland you're therefore tainted. Why? Blame the US's FATCA law. If you do move here you'll find it difficult to get a bank account because of it. Only UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance will even consider you and to open any account you'll have to sign a W-9 form to allow the bank to send the account details on to the IRS. That's because as an American abroad you still have US tax filing obligations no matter where you live in the world since that system is based on citizenship and not on residency as in the rest of the world. Start your research on that here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...-aliens-abroad

Any account/s that comes to more than $10,000 at any time of the year also has to be reported on an FBAR form. And you can probably forget having a mortgage or investment account, even if you do gain Swiss citizenship. The taint will still be with you unless you decide to relinquish/renounce your US citizenship.
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Old 08.06.2018, 17:27
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Re: New to the Forum! Questions about becoming Swiss

You yanks and your guns...

The Swiss may have one of the world's highest incidences of private gun ownership per capita, but it is very, very different from US.

I have never seen anyone carrying except police and military.

I also heard they have one of the lowest incidences of ammunition ownership. IIRC, Just over 2 rounds per gun in private ownership.

This may also explain Switzerland's extremely low incidence of gun crime, but very high gun suicide levels...

Regards

Ian
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