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Old 29.04.2011, 19:04
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Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

Hello all, my name is Chris. I introduced myself earlier in the introductions forum, so I won't bother repeating what I said there in this post.

My situation is as follows. I have lived in Canada for 25 years of my life, presently I'm 27 going on 28 in October. And now my family and myself are seriously considering moving back to Europe, and specifically Switzerland.

I am originally from Germany and still speak fluent German(standard, high german). I also still posess my German birth certificate.

Now onto some of the questions, and one of my main ones' is Military conscription.

Since I would be immigrating into Switzerland and it would take some time to gain permanent citizenry. Would I still have to eventually conscript into mandatory military service?? Or just be part of the citizen militia? I already have a profession in the medical field, so wouldn't I be exempt from conscription?

I really wouldn't mind putting some time into military training, but it would definitely inconvenience me at this time, and do they even pay you during training? I definitely wouldn't want to be an active member or even a reservist, but i could do militia as a citizen, once I gain permanent status.

I know Switzerland has multiple governing canton's that are more so in power than the actual government as a whole. Is there a list of all canton's on a map with websites that I could research? Just because the laws are different from canton to canton, especially gun laws/restrictions.

Another thing I am not clear on is gun laws and self preservation/self defense. If say you were being invaded by an unknown assailant/criminal whom happens to be armed and is actively trying to bring bodily harm or even kill you in your own home/private property. Do you as a citizen have the right to bear arms, and defend your own life on your property?? Or is it like in Canada/UK were you must phone the police, and hope that they get there within seconds before you are dead?

Or is the castle law in effect?? If you know what I mean. Basically it gives you the right to protect your property if life is threatened.

In Canada, we citizens have no rights to defend ourselves at home. Hence crime is quite high in Canada cause of stricter gun control. If say you shot a criminal in self defense at home, you will be "charged" and possibly serve a life sentence in prison for attempted murder or use of "excessive force".

They literally punish the law-abiding citizen more than the criminal. And that is something I just can't fathom. The government in Canada is ludicrous and is going to get worse down the road. Eventually I'm sure it'll become like the UK.

Is there an information website which details swiss gun laws and regulation ?? Something that will tell me what I am allowed to buy/own/use as a permanent citizen of Switzerland. Like Long gun rifles, handguns, assault rifles, automatic rifles, permits, right to carry permits for handguns, conceal carry?

How different is it from canton to canton for gun laws and handgun restriction.

Also, I presently already own a collection of handguns and rifles in Canada which are all registered under the Canadian Government. I guess there is no chance in exporting/importing those into Switzerland once I gain status there and acquire a firearm permit/license? I would probably have to sell all my current weapons?

Nevertheless, I have 3 weeks of holidays starting next week, and i am planning to take a flight for 1 week into Switzerland to see the sights and inquire about job opportunity and housing. So hopefully that will give me a clearer picture. Is there any tips or advice for when I do visit there? Like what canton's are cheaper economically to live in, and where are the German speaking parts of Switzerland?? I know there are 3 official/main languages(?). German, French, Italian.

Thats all for now, I typed too much already.

- Chris
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Old 29.04.2011, 19:10
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

Wow.

I suggest you look through the Sticky in Daily Life for a start. Rules about Swiss Nationality are in this Sticky in permits etc.

The gun bits must be somewhere else, but I have no idea where. I'll have a nose around in Admin and see what I can find.

This is not the official version, but Wikipedia on Weapons in CH but it will keep you out of mischief for the rest of the evening.
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Old 29.04.2011, 19:23
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

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...since I would be immigrating into Switzerland and it would take some time to gain permanent citizenry. Would I still have to eventually conscript into mandatory military service??
No. You're already too old, and by the time you can become a citizen, you'll be ten years older.
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Or is it like in Canada/UK were you must phone the police, and hope that they get there within seconds before you are dead?
Like Canada. But crime is quite low.
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Thats all for now, I typed too much already.

- Chris
Yes you did. Mainly on a gun law rant. Try "off-topic" for a general discussion on that.
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Old 29.04.2011, 19:29
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

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Hello all, my name is Chris. I introduced myself earlier in the introductions forum, so I won't bother repeating what I said there in this post.

My situation is as follows. I have lived in Canada for 25 years of my life, presently I'm 27 going on 28 in October. And now my family and myself are seriously considering moving back to Europe, and specifically Switzerland.

I am originally from Germany and still speak fluent German(standard, high german). I also still posess my German birth certificate.

Now onto some of the questions, and one of my main ones' is Military conscription.

Since I would be immigrating into Switzerland and it would take some time to gain permanent citizenry. Would I still have to eventually conscript into mandatory military service?? Or just be part of the citizen militia? I already have a profession in the medical field, so wouldn't I be exempt from conscription?

I really wouldn't mind putting some time into military training, but it would definitely inconvenience me at this time, and do they even pay you during training? I definitely wouldn't want to be an active member or even a reservist, but i could do militia as a citizen, once I gain permanent status.

I know Switzerland has multiple governing canton's that are more so in power than the actual government as a whole. Is there a list of all canton's on a map with websites that I could research? Just because the laws are different from canton to canton, especially gun laws/restrictions.

Another thing I am not clear on is gun laws and self preservation/self defense. If say you were being invaded by an unknown assailant/criminal whom happens to be armed and is actively trying to bring bodily harm or even kill you in your own home/private property. Do you as a citizen have the right to bear arms, and defend your own life on your property?? Or is it like in Canada/UK were you must phone the police, and hope that they get there within seconds before you are dead?

Or is the castle law in effect?? If you know what I mean. Basically it gives you the right to protect your property if life is threatened.

In Canada, we citizens have no rights to defend ourselves at home. Hence crime is quite high in Canada cause of stricter gun control. If say you shot a criminal in self defense at home, you will be "charged" and possibly serve a life sentence in prison for attempted murder or use of "excessive force".

They literally punish the law-abiding citizen more than the criminal. And that is something I just can't fathom. The government in Canada is ludicrous and is going to get worse down the road. Eventually I'm sure it'll become like the UK.

Is there an information website which details swiss gun laws and regulation ?? Something that will tell me what I am allowed to buy/own/use as a permanent citizen of Switzerland. Like Long gun rifles, handguns, assault rifles, automatic rifles, permits, right to carry permits for handguns, conceal carry?

How different is it from canton to canton for gun laws and handgun restriction.

Also, I presently already own a collection of handguns and rifles in Canada which are all registered under the Canadian Government. I guess there is no chance in exporting/importing those into Switzerland once I gain status there and acquire a firearm permit/license? I would probably have to sell all my current weapons?

Nevertheless, I have 3 weeks of holidays starting next week, and i am planning to take a flight for 1 week into Switzerland to see the sights and inquire about job opportunity and housing. So hopefully that will give me a clearer picture. Is there any tips or advice for when I do visit there? Like what canton's are cheaper economically to live in, and where are the German speaking parts of Switzerland?? I know there are 3 official/main languages(?). German, French, Italian.

Thats all for now, I typed too much already.

- Chris
You won't be able to "jump" into Switzerland that easily. And citizenship is not that easy either, if you can get it at all. Switzerland has very, very low crime so there's no need for all of the "gun concerns and whether you can kill anyone or not." It's not the USA...
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Old 29.04.2011, 19:38
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

Amazed you would "seriously" consider living in a country you know so little about, but you have come to the right place to put that right!

Your concern about firearms may need professional help though.
We are just amateur counsellors...
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Old 29.04.2011, 20:11
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

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You won't be able to "jump" into Switzerland that easily. And citizenship is not that easy either, if you can get it at all. Switzerland has very, very low crime so there's no need for all of the "gun concerns and whether you can kill anyone or not." It's not the USA...
I have some friends that are citizens of Switzerland, just recently reestablished communication with them. According to them, if I still have my German papers, it shouldn't be too hard to become a citizen in the Swiss. It may not be as lengthy or difficult for someone that was born in North America or anywhere else in the world.

Also, it seems if I get hired on through a company to work in my profession, they will help me through the immigration process and push things thru a little quicker. Can't see it taking 10 years.. but oh well.

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No. You're already too old, and by the time you can become a citizen, you'll be ten years older.Like Canada. But crime is quite low.
Yes you did. Mainly on a gun law rant. Try "off-topic" for a general discussion on that.
What about voluntary conscription/training? Once I'm a citizen. And then the question is, would my younger brother of 20 years old, need to be conscripted?

Hmm, I did a little more digging around google.. And apparently Switzerland has the so called "castle doctrine" which is an integral part of the country's culture. So every man has the right to defend their home if life is threatened lethally, or death is imminent.


Anyways, thanks for the responses already, and I apologize that I talked a little too much about gun laws, and I will go search the other mentioned forums and see some of the provided links from above posters. Thanks again.

- Chris
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Old 29.04.2011, 20:19
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

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And then the question is, would my younger brother of 20 years old, need to be conscripted?
Only if he becomes a Swiss citizen, which is not something that happens very quickly.

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Hmm, I did a little more digging around google.. And apparently Switzerland has the so called "castle doctrine" which is an integral part of the country's culture. So every man has the right to defend their home if life is threatened lethally, or death is imminent.
This is, I think, only intended for invading nations, not someone breaking and entering to steal your iPad. Defend your home to the death of the intruder and you are in serious bother.
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Old 29.04.2011, 20:43
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

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I am originally from Germany and still speak fluent German(standard, high german). I also still posess my German birth certificate.
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I have some friends that are citizens of Switzerland, just recently reestablished communication with them. According to them, if I still have my German papers, it shouldn't be too hard to become a citizen in the Swiss. It may not be as lengthy or difficult for someone that was born in North America or anywhere else in the world.

Also, it seems if I get hired on through a company to work in my profession, they will help me through the immigration process and push things thru a little quicker. Can't see it taking 10 years.. but oh well.
You have been misinformed or you misunderstood. There is absolutely NO fast-track to citizenship for Germans or any other nationality. The fast-track procedure is for spouses and sometimes children. It would be as lengthy and as difficult/easy as for someone born in North America or anywhere else. A company can only help you with the permit process, something completely separate from citizenship.

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I know Switzerland has multiple governing canton's that are more so in power than the actual government as a whole. Is there a list of all canton's on a map with websites that I could research? Just because the laws are different from canton to canton, especially gun laws/restrictions.
Logically, dangerous things like guns are not regulated cantonally; Art. 107 of the Swiss Constitution gives the federal government exclusive competence to pass laws with regard to guns. And they have done so: http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/c514_54.html.

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Another thing I am not clear on is gun laws and self preservation/self defense. If say you were being invaded by an unknown assailant/criminal whom happens to be armed and is actively trying to bring bodily harm or even kill you in your own home/private property. Do you as a citizen have the right to bear arms, and defend your own life on your property?? Or is it like in Canada/UK were you must phone the police, and hope that they get there within seconds before you are dead?
Interesting. Canadian law (Sections 34-35) permits self-defense. Perhaps you think the justification should be more liberal than it is. If that is the case, you won't like it here much because the criminal code also allows self-defense but it is very restrictively interpreted.

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Or is the castle law in effect?? If you know what I mean. Basically it gives you the right to protect your property if life is threatened.
So, this logically means there is no such things as the American castle doctrine. If you were to shoot someone dead here for trespassing, you would be charged with murder. Excessive use of force is very much frowned upon. If you "defend" property with a gun, it would automatically be considered excessive. The only situation in which the use of a gun could possibly be justified is if your life is in immediate danger. The Bundesgericht even decided that a warning shot fired by unlawful entry was excessive and not justified.

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In Canada, we citizens have no rights to defend ourselves at home. Hence crime is quite high in Canada cause of stricter gun control. If say you shot a criminal in self defense at home, you will be "charged" and possibly serve a life sentence in prison for attempted murder or use of "excessive force".
It sounds like you would be happier in the US. Funny, the crime rates, in particular homicides, have generally gone down and are considerably lower than the gun-happy USA. It sounds like you are simply looking to justify having a gun rather than basing your opinion on the actual situation. (References: http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/legal12a-eng.htm, http://www4.hrsdc.gc.ca/.3ndic.1t.4r@-eng.jsp?iid=57, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-...001011-eng.pdf.)
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Old 29.04.2011, 21:02
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

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Amazed you would "seriously" consider living in a country you know so little about, but you have come to the right place to put that right!
I don't have a problem with people moving to countries they know so little about. My concern in this case is that the OP has a distorted idea of Switzerland that is about. I don't know where people get those ideas though...

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I have some friends that are citizens of Switzerland, just recently reestablished communication with them. According to them, if I still have my German papers, it shouldn't be too hard to become a citizen in the Swiss. It may not be as lengthy or difficult for someone that was born in North America or anywhere else in the world.

Also, it seems if I get hired on through a company to work in my profession, they will help me through the immigration process and push things thru a little quicker. Can't see it taking 10 years.. but oh well.
Your friends are just wrong. And as an EU citizen you do not need a company to sponsor your permit.

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Hmm, I did a little more digging around google.. And apparently Switzerland has the so called "castle doctrine" which is an integral part of the country's culture. So every man has the right to defend their home if life is threatened lethally, or death is imminent.
If you really think your house in going to be invaded and you are going to have to defend yourself by killing someone either in Canada or in Switzerland, you've been watching too much TV and/or you need to speak to someone about your paranoia.
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Old 29.04.2011, 22:01
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

Bowling for Columbine was a great film. I think the OP should check it out.

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Old 29.04.2011, 22:39
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

I rather do not see people like this close to me and my family. In Holland, last week there was also a youngster with multiple guns and all the permits starting to shoot in a shopping mall, killing (I think) 8 people. Crazy? Paranoid? No idea.

If you want to come to CH for the scenery, your work, skiing etc fine but if it is only so you can use your gun please stay away and move to a place in Canada where no people live (should not be hard in such a huge country with so few people), and stay away from crowded Europe. Please.

Thank you.
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Old 29.04.2011, 23:30
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

Op, do you have German citizenship? It's not clear to me. You were born there but that in itself does not confer a right to citizenship.

Either way citizens of Germany have no automatic right to become citizens of Switzerland in the same way a citizen of Ireland or Belgium has no automatic right to become a Swiss citizen.
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Old 29.04.2011, 23:44
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

Okay, so I may have been overly misinformed at first about immigrating and the process, but clearly you have all made me aware of it being otherwise. But at least I can start off by living there as an EU citizen, and apply for permanent citizenship to get the ball rolling, for however long it may take. But I would be allowed to work at least and live there.

And I guess I wouldn't have to worry about conscription, unless they conscript EU citizens as well. If my citizenship process takes 5 to 6 years, I'd be around 34-36 by the time that is done.. So I guess I would still need to serve as a citizen in some kind of militia from what I have read, but not on active duty or reservist.

Okay.. you guys really blew my inquiries about gun laws out of the water and all sounded quite pessimistic too, as if you are all more "anti-gun" type persons.

No, I am not some lunatic that has OCD with guns and wanting to pull the trigger. Gun laws may be strict here, but at least I can go practice at ranges and go hunting for game, etc.. And just be a collector for hobby.

And sorry for having been misinformed about the Castle Doctrine(which about 20 or so of the States USA has, and various other countries) that apparently is not in effect in Switzerland. So then from my understanding is, that citizens only bear arms if and when the country should ever incur an enemy invasion by opposing military forces. Ok, so thats clear. Hopefully that will never happen. Despite the world becoming more and more so in a state of turmoil(if u watch the news).

I'm not paranoid, I'm just overly aware of the world and what really goes on in it. I'm not naive.

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I rather do not see people like this close to me and my family. In Holland, last week there was also a youngster with multiple guns and all the permits starting to shoot in a shopping mall, killing (I think) 8 people. Crazy? Paranoid? No idea.

If you want to come to CH for the scenery, your work, skiing etc fine but if it is only so you can use your gun please stay away and move to a place in Canada where no people live (should not be hard in such a huge country with so few people), and stay away from crowded Europe. Please.

Thank you.
Sorry to burst your bubble.. but gun ownership and gun sport is bigger in the Swiss than it is in Canada. When it comes down to people being scared of guns and think they should all be banned, then think again. Guns don't kill people, its the person with the "intent" and finger that pulls the trigger. There are soo many more other devices or tools that can be used in place of a gun to commit massacres and crime. *sigh*

Anyhow, I've veered off-topic, and clearly everyone here is aggravated at me already.. wow, that didn't take long for me to pull off, and it clearly wasn't my intention. I'm gonna go look at other parts of the forum now, and do some more reading. So if any moderator reads this, please close this topic so it doesn't spark more flaming or unnecessary comments.

Thank you.

- Chris
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Old 30.04.2011, 00:01
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

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Op, do you have German citizenship? It's not clear to me. You were born there but that in itself does not confer a right to citizenship.

Either way citizens of Germany have no automatic right to become citizens of Switzerland in the same way a citizen of Ireland or Belgium has no automatic right to become a Swiss citizen.
I do have German citizenship, and I understand now that it does not make me an automatic citizen of the Swiss. But from what others said, my EU citizenship would allow me to reside in Switzerland with restrictions. I guess I probably can't vote, and cannot take on any governmental jobs.
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Old 30.04.2011, 00:12
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

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If my citizenship process takes 5 to 6 years, I'd be around 34-36 by the time that is done..
Change that to "takes at least 12 years" and "be around 40-42".

http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/bfm/...uergerung.html


For the rest of the post, I better not give my opinion or I risk being groaned at by several people.

Good luck with your dream.
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Old 30.04.2011, 00:19
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

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Change that to "takes at least 12 years" and "be around 40-42".

http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/bfm/...uergerung.html


For the rest of the post, I better not give my opinion or I risk being groaned at by several people.

Good luck with your dream.
12 years, ok. Hmm.. How does it work out if I happen to get married to a Swiss citizen? If its the same as Canada, then it'll be speedy process(less than 12 years for sure). Not that I'd use marriage as a vehicle to gain citizenship faster(at least not in that mind set), I just want to know the facts.

And I assume your opinion would have to do with my earlier gun law rant.. So we won't go there. ^.^;;;
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Old 30.04.2011, 00:46
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

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12 years, ok. Hmm.. How does it work out if I happen to get married to a Swiss citizen? If its the same as Canada, then it'll be speedy process(less than 12 years for sure). Not that I'd use marriage as a vehicle to gain citizenship faster(at least not in that mind set), I just want to know the facts.

And I assume your opinion would have to do with my earlier gun law rant.. So we won't go there. ^.^;;;

So WHY do you actually want to become a Swiss citizen? Really, if you are a EU citizen, as you appear to be, having been born in Germany, then you can happily live and work here with no major dramas or restrictions. As a UK citizen my family and I have lived here for 6 years and really see no pressing reason to become Swiss.

In reality, becoming Swiss is a hugely expensive and time-consuming matter. And really, it just gives you the opportunity to vote and the ability to pay your taxes once a year instead of monthly.

I think there are much more major questions you need to resolve rather than worrying about becoming Swiss.

Good luck anyway and hope you find what you are looking for.
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Old 30.04.2011, 01:15
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

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So WHY do you actually want to become a Swiss citizen? Really, if you are a EU citizen, as you appear to be, having been born in Germany, then you can happily live and work here with no major dramas or restrictions. As a UK citizen my family and I have lived here for 6 years and really see no pressing reason to become Swiss.

I was just about the post this too

Chris, don't fret right now about becoming a Swiss citizen. It's something that you will have a good 10 years to decide upon once you arrive here. While for some EU citizens it might be nice, or desirable to have Swiss citizenship but really it is not necessary. Some people have lived here for over 20 years and never got citizenship. With gloabalisation it is the way the world is moving, particularly within the EEA where there is little difference between having a Dutch passport and an having an Italian one.

Worrying about citizenship now is like worrying about the colour you will paint the room of your first born child; ahead of a first date with a girl you fancy. Right now you need to focus on deciding whether or not you want to make such a big move in your life. Once you are certain about that you need start researching jobs in Switzerland, than applying, than once you get an offer thinking all over again about whether you are 100% that you want to move given your salary offer, cost of living etc.

Gun laws and citizenship waiting periods are way down the list of your priorities. Don't let the details distract you. And good luck in whatever course you take in life.
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Old 30.04.2011, 02:03
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

Thank you dmarkd and Stifoan. Your two latest replies have given me a better understanding and new insight into what I will do.

Maybe living as an EU citizen will be sufficient. Maybe I'll just work on getting certain foreigner passports for living in Switzerland, namely a C-passport which I believe will take 5 years to acquire?

So as an EU citizen, can I still partake in competition rifle/gun shooting at tournaments, and practice target shooting at ranges? I know I won't be allowed to own or possess any firearms as a foreigner/EU citizen according to https://www.gunfactory.ch/index.htm , unless I can present them with a Swiss "C" passport and a criminal record check within the last 3 months.

I'd hate to give up the hobby, but I could wait a few years. But if I'm still allowed to go to a monitored range and rent firearms for single day shooting sessions, that will suffice to pass time on boring days. heh
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Old 30.04.2011, 07:55
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Re: Questions about immigrating into Switzerland.

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Sorry to burst your bubble.. but gun ownership and gun sport is bigger in the Swiss than it is in Canada. When it comes down to people being scared of guns and think they should all be banned, then think again. Guns don't kill people, its the person with the "intent" and finger that pulls the trigger. There are soo many more other devices or tools that can be used in place of a gun to commit massacres and crime. *sigh*
Actually, sorry to burst your bubble but gun "ownership" is very low - guns kept by active members of the Swiss army belong to the army but are intended to be stored at home with a very limited amount of ammunition kept in a sealed tin which is brought for inspection at each WK (refresher course). The gun and ammunition are then returned at the end of military service.

I've been here for many years but have never met anyone that goes shooting for fun. The sentiment among my husband's friends and colleagues is that military service is a pain that has to be endured for 2 weeks a year and the rifle and related equipment takes up precious space in the cellar.
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