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Old 11.01.2008, 15:35
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Facilitated naturalization interview

Hello everyone,

My grandfather was born in Schwyz and emigrated to Chile in 1888; I was born in Chile. The Swiss Embassy in Chile has provided information in the sense that I am entitled to apply to obtain the Swiss nationality through a process called "facilitated integration". I have perused some of the threads in here and ascertained that most of you will be familiar with the "usual" strong ties requirements for this process:
  • Spending vacation time and others in Switzerland (usually 3 times in the last 10 years).
  • Having strong contacts with Swiss people living in Switzerland.
  • Having contacts with Swiss people living abroad, and with Swiss-related organizations.
  • Speaking one of the languages of Switzerland.
  • Having knowledge of geography, history and current political events in Switzerland.
Besides presenting a lot of paperwork (birth and marriage certificates, etc.), the application process requires submitting to a spoken interview at the Embassy, which must be held in one of the languages of Switzerland. Although my family is closely related to the German tradition in the country, my French is way better than my German (not to say anything about my Swiss German, which is non-existent), so I have chosen to hold the interview in French; in the Embassy I have been assured this will have no impact on the process. On the other hand, I have never felt my French is up to conversational levels of fluency; I can read pretty well (and force myself to do so everyday off www.swissinfo.org in French) but I would never claim to be able to, for instance, give a presentation in French (as I can do in Spanish, my mother tongue, or in English, after having lived in the US for a couple of years).

Now, the specific questions I want to pose:
  • Please comment on the language requirement. I have read in these threads that you should be able to make yourself understood in one of the Swiss languages. Is that the level required? If yes, I believe I can pull it off. Or should I be able to, say, watch a movie in French and then come up with a summary of what I just watched?
  • More importantly: can anybody who has gone through this type of interview share some details? What questions were asked? In what percentage was it centered on Switzerland itself (history, geography, politics) and on the applicant (story, family, why they want to become citizens)? How much of it was held in the Swiss language and how much in the applicant's native tongue? How long it lasted? Was immediate feedback provided right away, even if it was "are you kidding? Get outta here!"?
Any information you might share would be very welcome on my side. Thanks in advance and best regards.
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