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Old 11.01.2008, 13:51
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National Languages & Law in public offices

Hello to all!
I have a question about what is the rule in Switzerland about what languages they are obliged to speak in the public offices.

In particular, I always heard that they are obliged by law to have the national languages spoken in offices such as the steuramt etc.

Is this a myth or true? And if true, anyone has references on this?

Thanks for help :-)

Cristina
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Old 11.01.2008, 14:03
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Re: National Languages & Law in public offices

I'm not 100% sure on this, but I believe that you can correspond (in writing) with all public offices in either German, French or Italian and they are obliged to answer in that language - irrespective of where you are.
www.swissinfo.ch/ger/swissinfo.html?siteSect=601&sid=7922892&cKey=11822 55167000&ty=st
I know for sure that the Patent Office in Bern accepts patent and trademark applications in all 3 languages and subsequent correspondence is carried out in that language.
However, if you arrive at a Post Office in some small community in the French part, you may have problems finding someone who speaks German, and vice versa.
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Old 11.01.2008, 15:16
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Re: National Languages & Law in public offices

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I'm not 100% sure on this, but I believe that you can correspond (in writing) with all public offices in either German, French or Italian and they are obliged to answer in that language - irrespective of where you are.
www.swissinfo.ch/ger/swissinfo.html?siteSect=601&sid=7922892&cKey=11822 55167000&ty=st
I know for sure that the Patent Office in Bern accepts patent and trademark applications in all 3 languages and subsequent correspondence is carried out in that language.
However, if you arrive at a Post Office in some small community in the French part, you may have problems finding someone who speaks German, and vice versa.
You can add English to that list. But speaking is only required in one of the national languages and it might also require an appointment to receive this service. But it must be offered.
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