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Old 14.01.2011, 04:04
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Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

This thread is partly inspired by a long thread in the language forum:

Is there ever any excuse for not learning the language?

It's also inspired, believe it or not, by Star Trek. I was thinking about how William Shatner, the actor famous for playing "Captain Kirk" is a Canadian ex-patriate who has lived in the U.S. for many years and considers it to be his home. Yet he won't become an American ciitzen because he is afraid he will flunk the citizenship test.

So, I put the question to you. Let's say that you've been living in Switzerland for many years. Either you've learned the local language fluently, or you've learned it well enough and whatever problems you have with it is not a big deal with you or your neighbours. You've integrated as well as anybody could and are in CH for the long haul. Maybe you've married and are raising children in the Swiss education system. You more than qualify the strict requirements to become a Swiss citizen. Is there any good reason NOT to become Swiss?

P.S. Please note that I do NOT include the word "ever" in the title, so I am not assuming that becoming a Swiss citizen is or should be the right answer.
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Old 14.01.2011, 06:25
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

Military service?
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Old 14.01.2011, 07:08
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

Some countries do not allow dual citizenship...
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Old 14.01.2011, 08:17
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

Forced inheritance rules.
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Old 14.01.2011, 08:26
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

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Forced inheritance rules.
I don't find that a bad thing at all.

Italy (and probably some other countries) does it as well.


Tom
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:14
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

what are forced inheritance rules? I have never heard of that before - I would be interested in hearing what some of the issues are that would make a difference for someone becoming a swiss citizen as I am also up for eligeability this year and considering it since I can keep my NZ citizenship at the same time...

the only things I can think of are that I will have to vote and also initially go through the whole citizenship tests or something...but what other drawbacks are there?
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:19
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

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what are forced inheritance rules?
1/8 can go to whoever you want.

Of the rest, half goes to your spouse, the rest gets evenly divided by your kids. No spouse or kids, it goes to your parents. No spouse, kids, or parents, it goes to closest relative.

Tom
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:20
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

I did it to make travel in and out a lot easier. Flash the Swiss passport and I'm through customs in a breeze.

I'm still not 100% sure, but I was told I was too old for military service. And for whatever reason, if things go sour back home: civil unrest, military coup, I always have a back up.
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:23
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

Do the forced inheritance rules still apply even if you have a legal will in place that might specify that they divide up the inheritance in a different way?
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:23
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

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1/8 can go to whoever you want.

Of the rest, half goes to your spouse, the rest gets evenly divided by your kids. No spouse or kids, it goes to your parents. No spouse, kids, or parents, it goes to closest relative.

Tom
The lawyer I spoke to told us that this was only in the case where no legal will was in place...
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:23
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

It's an interesting question - I'm not sure I would really qualify on the language thing, but even if I did I am not sure I would do it.

For me, it's not really such a practical/logical thing, it's more a heart thing/the way I feel. I'm simply British. And I'm not Swiss. And although I'm very happy here and intending to stay I still don't want to actually be Swiss because I AM British. I know there's no particular logic there - just the way I feel (is that a "valid" reason?!)
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:25
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

I can only have 2 passports.
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:31
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

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The lawyer I spoke to told us that this was only in the case where no legal will was in place...
Not really. You can vary it a bit (in particular you can direct that it all goes to your spouse for life rather than directly to your kids) but there's still fairly strick rules on who gets what.
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:34
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

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Do the forced inheritance rules still apply even if you have a legal will in place that might specify that they divide up the inheritance in a different way?
A will serves to give certain people certain things, for example a friend's father died recently, the will gave him the business and property, and the wife cash assets, however the value each gets goes by the rules.

Tom
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:39
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

Quote:
Not really. You can vary it a bit (in particular you can direct that it all goes to your spouse for life rather than directly to your kids) but there's still fairly strick rules on who gets what.
I'm pretty sure that the kids (if adults) have to agree to waiting for their share, I know that was the case with my girlfriend and hew sister when their father died.

Tom
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:43
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

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The lawyer I spoke to told us that this was only in the case where no legal will was in place...
Is that because you're an English national with and English law Will? If that's the case then the Swiss forced inheritance rules don't apply.
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:56
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

We have been here long enough to qualify, but will not consider citizenship. Forced inheritance is the main reason we would not consider applying.

My estate goes to a foundation established to fund the responsibilities I have taken on, the remainder goes to charity - this would not be allowed under Swiss inheritance law. The folks who would be statutory heirs under Swiss law do not need (or in the case of one, deserve) the cash. I prefer that my hard-earned pennies go where I wish, not where the state dictates.

Forced inheritance even applies to spouses - a spouse cannot inherit the entire estate. Were we Swiss citizens, the surviving spouse could be forced to sell the house and hand a chunk of the cash over to the decedent's family. I know of a case where a grieving widower lost both the business he and his wife had built, and the roof over his head.

Another reasons: We will not retire here.

Also, in my Gemeinde the chance of being denied is rather high. I have no idea what a refusal would do to one's C permit status when the next renewal came around, but it's something I don't want to risk.
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Old 14.01.2011, 10:59
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

Two of my adult children were born here, we all have UK citizenship. I recently asked them if they wanted to become Swiss, and we all agreed we emphatically did not. We are British, and we feel to change citizenship would be to let the mother country down. I also have 2 adult children and 5 grand children in Britain.

I was under the impression that where you die determines the rules of partitioning your estate. You may have an English Will and Testament locked away in England, leaving all your wealth to charity. But if you die here, the Swiss state will step in and make sure your relatives are adequately compensated, leaving the rest for charity. Am I right or wrong?

Does Swiss law over-rule foreign Wills?
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Old 14.01.2011, 11:03
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

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Does Swiss law over-rule foreign Wills?
No it doesn't, as long as you're not a Swiss national.

BTW, even under English law, even though in theory you can leave everything to charity, in practice if you don't provide adequately for your spouse and dependents, they can successfully challenge your Will in the courts.
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Old 14.01.2011, 11:04
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Re: Is there any reason for not becoming a Swiss citizen if you qualify?

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Does Swiss law over-rule foreign Wills?
If you are not a Swiss citizen you can claim Heimatrecht, which allows the will drawn up under your country's laws to stand.

You should speak to the Notariat at your Gemeinde for the procedure to do so (YMMV and all that) - but in essence, a hand-written letter claiming Heimatrecht and a copy of the US will satisfied the notary at our Gemeinde.

Also, do make sure that your attorney in your home country understands the complication of foreign residence.
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