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  #21  
Old 09.02.2011, 15:37
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Re: Question about Military Service

As a guy who literally just finished Rekrutierung(the recruiting bit to decide if your suitable for service or not) last week, I think I can give you some valuable information here. I am a Canadian/Swiss dual citizen and moved here last June, at which point I was 23 years old. Keep in mind that I live in the German speaking part of Switzerland, the French/Italian parts will speak the respective languages during this process. I also don't know if you being a US citizen could change this process.

To start off, you will not be asked to attend Orientierung (orientation day for the military) until you register as a permanent resident in Switzerland. The only reason you would register is if you plan on working here, or if you plan on staying for a long time. Otherwise you could easily get by without registering. (I believe you're only officially allowed to stay here for up to 4 months if not registered, but this is not actively enforced.)

Now, I registered back in September, and any male Swiss dual citizen that is under 25 will be eligible for military service as soon as your register. That is, I got a letter to attend Orientierung 3 weeks after I registered. Orientierung was in November, they go over the different areas of the army and such, and at Orientierung is when you decide your preference for when you want to start the army. You can delay when you start the army by a few years, this would give you an option to better you language skills before going to Rekrutierung. Rekrutierung is usually held around 6-12 months before you start your military service, so delaying the start of service delays Rekrutierung.

Rekrutierung can be 1, 2, or 3 days. Although this might differ for some other recruiting centres. 1 day if you're deemed unsuitable for anything, they send you home at the end of the day. 2 Days if you're suitable for the military or civil service, and 3 days if you make it through everything, and want to become a driver in the military.

The first day decides your suitability, you will be put through a thorough physical examination, hearing, joints, sight, blood test, etc. and you will have to write a series of psychological and intellectual tests. The psychological/intellectual tests are all in German, and if you do not have a commanding grasp of German, you will fail. I've been taking intensive German classes for the last 4 months, and am at a B1+ level (starting B2 very soon), and still these tests were very difficult for me (not due to hardness of the tests, but the German comprehension).

At the end of the day, the head doctor will go through your file, and determines your suitability. I was very fortunate to get accepted into the military, since there was much concern whether my language skills would suffice. I also had the right attitude, in that I actually want to go, if you have any doubts about it you will not get through the selection process.

Let me stress, that according to our Team Leader, only 34% of men get into the army nowadays. Another 10% or so end up civil service, and the others are deemed unsuitable and you end up paying the tax. The tax is 3% of your salary, or a minimum of 400 CH.

If you make it to the second day, you'll go through the Sport Test and another psychological/intellectual test. Ending up with a good sport test score will determine what positions will be available to you.

For me, I looked at this as a great opportunity to further integrate myself into swiss society, and experience something really unique. I also would be very unhappy if I ended up in civil service or having to pay the tax, this was not an option for me. If you are seriously thinking of making it into the military, it is possible, but requires at the bare minimum that you have excellent high german, physically excellent shape, and can understand swiss german. Both Orientierung and Rekrutierung are spoken in Swiss German, unless you specifically ask that they speak High German.

If you're worried about being forced to service in the army, because you don't want to actually serve, they will have absolutely NO problems whatsoever telling you that you can go home and pay the tax.

I ended up having a decent Sport Test score, and settled for a position in the Infantry as "Infanterist". I'll start service in July. If anyone else out there has tips on what to expect, or how to prepare for RS, I'd love to hear them!

Any other questions, feel free to ask.
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  #22  
Old 09.02.2011, 15:52
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Re: Question about Military Service

Good for you Koni.

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...Let me stress, that according to our Team Leader, only 34% of men get into the army nowadays. Another 10% or so end up civil service, and the others are deemed unsuitable and you end up paying the tax. The tax is 3% of your salary, or a minimum of 400 CH...
I'm curious. How long do you have to pay the tax for? Just the period that you would be doing service (had you passed) or forever more?
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  #23  
Old 09.02.2011, 16:05
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Re: Question about Military Service

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As a guy who literally just finished Rekrutierung(the recruiting bit to decide if your suitable for service or not) last week, I think I can give you some valuable information here. I am a Canadian/Swiss dual citizen and moved here last June, at which point I was 23 years old. Keep in mind that I live in the German speaking part of Switzerland, the French/Italian parts will speak the respective languages during this process. I also don't know if you being a US citizen could change this process.

To start off, you will not be asked to attend Orientierung (orientation day for the military) until you register as a permanent resident in Switzerland. The only reason you would register is if you plan on working here, or if you plan on staying for a long time. Otherwise you could easily get by without registering. (I believe you're only officially allowed to stay here for up to 4 months if not registered, but this is not actively enforced.)

Now, I registered back in September, and any male Swiss dual citizen that is under 25 will be eligible for military service as soon as your register. That is, I got a letter to attend Orientierung 3 weeks after I registered. Orientierung was in November, they go over the different areas of the army and such, and at Orientierung is when you decide your preference for when you want to start the army. You can delay when you start the army by a few years, this would give you an option to better you language skills before going to Rekrutierung. Rekrutierung is usually held around 6-12 months before you start your military service, so delaying the start of service delays Rekrutierung.

Rekrutierung can be 1, 2, or 3 days. Although this might differ for some other recruiting centres. 1 day if you're deemed unsuitable for anything, they send you home at the end of the day. 2 Days if you're suitable for the military or civil service, and 3 days if you make it through everything, and want to become a driver in the military.

The first day decides your suitability, you will be put through a thorough physical examination, hearing, joints, sight, blood test, etc. and you will have to write a series of psychological and intellectual tests. The psychological/intellectual tests are all in German, and if you do not have a commanding grasp of German, you will fail. I've been taking intensive German classes for the last 4 months, and am at a B1+ level (starting B2 very soon), and still these tests were very difficult for me (not due to hardness of the tests, but the German comprehension).

At the end of the day, the head doctor will go through your file, and determines your suitability. I was very fortunate to get accepted into the military, since there was much concern whether my language skills would suffice. I also had the right attitude, in that I actually want to go, if you have any doubts about it you will not get through the selection process.

Let me stress, that according to our Team Leader, only 34% of men get into the army nowadays. Another 10% or so end up civil service, and the others are deemed unsuitable and you end up paying the tax. The tax is 3% of your salary, or a minimum of 400 CH.

If you make it to the second day, you'll go through the Sport Test and another psychological/intellectual test. Ending up with a good sport test score will determine what positions will be available to you.

For me, I looked at this as a great opportunity to further integrate myself into swiss society, and experience something really unique. I also would be very unhappy if I ended up in civil service or having to pay the tax, this was not an option for me. If you are seriously thinking of making it into the military, it is possible, but requires at the bare minimum that you have excellent high german, physically excellent shape, and can understand swiss german. Both Orientierung and Rekrutierung are spoken in Swiss German, unless you specifically ask that they speak High German.

If you're worried about being forced to service in the army, because you don't want to actually serve, they will have absolutely NO problems whatsoever telling you that you can go home and pay the tax.

I ended up having a decent Sport Test score, and settled for a position in the Infantry as "Infanterist". I'll start service in July. If anyone else out there has tips on what to expect, or how to prepare for RS, I'd love to hear them!

Any other questions, feel free to ask.
Dude you live Waengi? I used to live in Matzingen, TG. What a small world. I used to play soccer up in Waengi sometimes. Good luck with the Militaerdienst.
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  #24  
Old 09.02.2011, 16:11
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Re: Question about Military Service

I was actually looking forward to doing the military, but alas I was too old. As for paying the taxes, if you do Zivilschutz you can get out of it I believe. Tax saving vs time invested makes it one high paying job!

I used to live in Stettfurt TG, small country :P
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  #25  
Old 09.02.2011, 16:16
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Re: Question about Military Service

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Good for you Koni.



I'm curious. How long do you have to pay the tax for? Just the period that you would be doing service (had you passed) or forever more?
I'm actually not completely sure about this one, will have to ask someone who had to pay this tax...

And nice to see some fellow Thurgau-ers from the Wil-Frauenfeld strip Actually went to Stettfurt last summer a few times to get our apples juiced, gotta love the farm life.
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Old 09.02.2011, 16:23
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Re: Question about Military Service

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Let me stress, that according to our Team Leader, only 34% of men get into the army nowadays. Another 10% or so end up civil service, and the others are deemed unsuitable and you end up paying the tax. .
Is it surprising to anyone besides me that over half the men that are eligible are deemed 'unsuitable' for military service??? Makes me wonder about either a) the selection criteria or b) the cannon fodder pool.
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  #27  
Old 09.02.2011, 16:29
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Re: Question about Military Service

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a) the selection criteria or b) the cannon fodder pool.
or c) the lack or will to fund 100% uptake?
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Old 09.02.2011, 16:34
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Re: Question about Military Service

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Is it surprising to anyone besides me that over half the men that are eligible are deemed 'unsuitable' for military service??? Makes me wonder about either a) the selection criteria or b) the cannon fodder pool.
They're much more stringent nowadays due to cutbacks and downsizing. You can be deemed unsuitable for anything from scoring bad on any of the psychological/intellectual tests, to having any sort of physical problem. Since time in the military means you are completely medically insured by the military, anybody who has any sort of small medical issue or is prone to injury is a liability.
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Old 09.02.2011, 16:34
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Re: Question about Military Service

Thanks for all the input, guys!

As for the military service itself, I really wouldn't mind doing it; my big thing is that I just want to finish school first. (I'm thinking about going to grad school after undergrad, so about 8 years total of schooling, and I just don't want it to interfere with that.) Is there a specific time to do it? I guess what I'm really asking is: can I do it during the summer? Also, what about getting to Switzerland? Being a college student, I can't exactly afford the $2000 flight to Switzerland every summer for mil. service :/ Can I put it off until I actually move to Switzerland?

But as for the whole language thing, makes me feel a lot better about it knowing I wouldn't have to know a Swiss dialect. My grandfather says when he did it, most of his was in dialect, but that was sometime in the late 30's/40's before he moved here.
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Old 09.02.2011, 16:37
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Re: Question about Military Service

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or c) the lack or will to fund 100% uptake?
There's that. I guess it was wrong of me to assume that 'unsuitable' didn't mean "Sorry, we're full. Come back later."
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  #31  
Old 09.02.2011, 16:37
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Re: Question about Military Service

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Thanks for all the input, guys!

As for the military service itself, I really wouldn't mind doing it; my big thing is that I just want to finish school first. (I'm thinking about going to grad school after undergrad, so about 8 years total of schooling, and I just don't want it to interfere with that.) Is there a specific time to do it? I guess what I'm really asking is: can I do it during the summer? Also, what about getting to Switzerland? Being a college student, I can't exactly afford the $2000 flight to Switzerland every summer for mil. service :/ Can I put it off until I actually move to Switzerland?

But as for the whole language thing, makes me feel a lot better about it knowing I wouldn't have to know a Swiss dialect. My grandfather says when he did it, most of his was in dialect, but that was sometime in the late 30's/40's before he moved here.
And as for the flat feet thing, I don't know. My grandfather did about 7 years of service before they said "nope, you're no good" and deemed him done with his service due to his feet. He didn't get injured or anything, so I'm not sure what was up with that. But if I can do it and still complete school, I'll have no problem with it.
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Old 09.02.2011, 16:40
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Re: Question about Military Service

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As for the military service itself, I really wouldn't mind doing it; my big thing is that I just want to finish school first.
Thomas, welcome to the forum. I am pretty sure that you will fit in here just fine when you head over.
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  #33  
Old 09.02.2011, 16:59
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Re: Question about Military Service

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Thanks for all the input, guys!

As for the military service itself, I really wouldn't mind doing it; my big thing is that I just want to finish school first. (I'm thinking about going to grad school after undergrad, so about 8 years total of schooling, and I just don't want it to interfere with that.) Is there a specific time to do it? I guess what I'm really asking is: can I do it during the summer? Also, what about getting to Switzerland? Being a college student, I can't exactly afford the $2000 flight to Switzerland every summer for mil. service :/ Can I put it off until I actually move to Switzerland?

But as for the whole language thing, makes me feel a lot better about it knowing I wouldn't have to know a Swiss dialect. My grandfather says when he did it, most of his was in dialect, but that was sometime in the late 30's/40's before he moved here.
If you move to Switzerland, register, get the letter to go through Orientierung and Rekrutierung, you will most definitely be expected to understand swiss dialect to be accepted into the military.

If you however, just want to attend the army as an Auslandschweizer, it's completely different than the regular army and won't be expected to know swiss german. You'll go through training with other Ausländers. I don't know anything about costs of getting there and such...
http://www.vtg.admin.ch/internet/vtg...schweizer.html
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Old 09.02.2011, 17:26
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Re: Question about Military Service

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If you move to Switzerland, register, get the letter to go through Orientierung and Rekrutierung, you will most definitely be expected to understand swiss dialect to be accepted into the military.

If you however, just want to attend the army as an Auslandschweizer, it's completely different than the regular army and won't be expected to know swiss german. You'll go through training with other Ausländers. I don't know anything about costs of getting there and such...
http://www.vtg.admin.ch/internet/vtg...schweizer.html
Actually, that's definitely a thought. Thanks for pointing that out, Koni!
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  #35  
Old 10.02.2011, 16:18
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Re: Question about Military Service

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Actually, that's definitely a thought. Thanks for pointing that out, Koni!
My son will be going to the military next year - he's a year older than you, speaks English - if you need a contact for going out or meeting up or clarifying questions about the military, he already went for his initial recruitment day, then drop me a line, I can put you in touch with him.
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Old 10.02.2011, 20:44
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Re: Question about Military Service

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I'm curious. How long do you have to pay the tax for? Just the period that you would be doing service (had you passed) or forever more?
You have to pay the tax until you get the letter that tells you your obligations are finished. For my friend it was when he turned 30. He never did military service as he lived outside of Switzerland. When he returned he was told he wasn't needed but would be put on "stand by" or some such thing. Then at 30 he got the letter that he was basically finished his obligation and thus didn't have to pay any more or be on "stand by". (in case of war I guess).

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or c) the lack or will to fund 100% uptake?
This is exactly it. They cut the numbers way down a few years ago.

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I can't exactly afford the $2000 flight to Switzerland every summer for mil. service :/ Can I put it off until I actually move to Switzerland?
You do not have to do military service if you live abroad. Period. No need to fly to CH every summer. Usually if you live outside you have to pay the tax. But as was listed above, it seems that US citizens are excluded from this tax. So basically you only have to worry about this if you move to CH before you are 25ish.
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  #37  
Old 10.02.2011, 20:59
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Re: Question about Military Service

Is the US the only ones to be exempt? Any idea why?
Does not seem fair, somehow!
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Old 11.02.2011, 00:00
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Re: Question about Military Service

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Is the US the only ones to be exempt? Any idea why?
Does not seem fair, somehow!
I have no idea. I only got that from the text quoted above.

Question about Military Service

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Old 11.02.2011, 14:13
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Re: Question about Military Service

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Is the US the only ones to be exempt? Any idea why?
Does not seem fair, somehow!
It all depends on which countries Switzerland entered into a bilateral agreement with:
see: http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/0.14.html

For example there are also exemptions for Italians.
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Old 01.05.2011, 02:27
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Re: Question about Military Service

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My son will be going to the military next year - he's a year older than you, speaks English - if you need a contact for going out or meeting up or clarifying questions about the military, he already went for his initial recruitment day, then drop me a line, I can put you in touch with him.
Sorry Starbug! I haven't had much time to log in lately with school, so I just saw this. But thanks! I'm still considering whether I should to to the university first or start military training before I go study, but if I decide to do the army service first, I will definitely take you up on that! Thanks again!
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