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Old 11.01.2008, 14:35
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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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Old 13.01.2008, 01:23
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

I cannot answer your question directly as I am also waiting for my (facilitated naturalisation) interview. From other threads though, it has been described as a friendly discussion lasting perhaps an hour or so. Most people who have been through the process have said that making yourself understood in a national language i.e. basic language proficiency is sufficient and that they are not asking you to demonstrate a high level of fluency at this point.

Having said that though, the new ANAG/LSEE legislation (Ausländergesetz, AuG, Loi fédérale sur les étrangers, LEtr) just came into force Jan 1st. This is the new federal act governing foreign nationals and permanent residents. I believe that this will mainly affect non-EU nationals and puts a greater importance upon integration, including the demonstration of good (not just basic) ability in a national language. I'm just reading the relevant legistlation now, so I'm not sure yet if this has any impact on the facilitated naturalisation requirements. Perhaps someone who knows more about this (Richard?) could comment?
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Old 13.01.2008, 11:23
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

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Having said that though, the new ANAG/LSEE legislation (Ausländergesetz, AuG, Loi fédérale sur les étrangers, LEtr) just came into force Jan 1st. This is the new federal act governing foreign nationals and permanent residents. I believe that this will mainly affect non-EU nationals and puts a greater importance upon integration, including the demonstration of good (not just basic) ability in a national language. I'm just reading the relevant legistlation now, so I'm not sure yet if this has any impact on the facilitated naturalisation requirements. Perhaps someone who knows more about this (Richard?) could comment?
Naturalisation is not governed at all by the Ausländergesetz but rather the Bürgerrechtsgesetz.

The changes brought about by the new AuG have no impact whatsoever on the naturalisation process.
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Old 17.01.2008, 21:32
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

Another thing I have been wondering is this: in the forms to fill in for the application, they ask for a list of names of Swiss people (living in Switzerland) who know you and who will be contacted by the government during the assessment of your application. Can anybody provide details on what exactly the government does with these names? Do they call them? What do they ask them? Do they visit them in person? Is the list simply ignored? (I doubt that would happen, this being CH...) Are they tortured and grilled until the confess and spill everything about the international conspiration to take over CH?

Thanks for any information and best regards.
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Old 17.01.2008, 21:37
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

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Another thing I have been wondering is this: in the forms to fill in for the application, they ask for a list of names of Swiss people (living in Switzerland) who know you and who will be contacted by the government during the assessment of your application. Can anybody provide details on what exactly the government does with these names? Do they call them? What do they ask them? Do they visit them in person? Is the list simply ignored? (I doubt that would happen, this being CH...) Are they tortured and grilled until the confess and spill everything about the international conspiration to take over CH?

Thanks for any information and best regards.
What do think they do with them? The phone them up and ask questions about you. How long have you known him? Does he come to Switzerland often? Can he speak a national language? Does he brush his teeth and so on...
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Old 17.01.2008, 21:42
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

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What do think they do with them? The phone them up and ask questions about you. How long have you known him? Does he come to Switzerland often? Can he speak a national language? Does he brush his teeth and so on...
Yeah, I guess as much. I'm just wondering if this is all a very simple (and bureaucratic) thing, or whether they really grill the people with lots of detailed questions. From you answer, it would seem a very quick and light procedure.

Regards.
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Old 31.03.2008, 23:49
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

[I added more detail on the specific sections of the interview. Hope that helps.]

Well, I went through my naturalization interview last Friday (March 28th 2008). It lasted for about 75 minutes, with the following "sections":
  • Handing in all the paperwork: lots of certificates (birth and marriage for the whole blood line from my great grandfather, who was born in Schwyz, to my daughter and son); four filled-in forms; two letters of recommendation written (in German) by Swiss people living in my country (Chile).
  • Interview in a Swiss language: this was a short conversation, in French in my case. It lasted about 10 minutes and the whole idea was for the interviewer to assess whether I could understand her and make myself understood by her. The respective form has three possible levels for the language fluency: low, medium and high. I got a medium, which is what I was hoping for. Just for everyone to get a feeling, I took four years of French in high school (where English was the main foreign language); this was 20 years ago, and I have been re-polishing it on my own (no teachers) for the past five months.
  • Swiss history: I just talked about the subject, the lady interjected every once in a while with a couple of questions. When Switzerland was founded, the three original cantons, the fight against the Habsburg-dominated empire (with a little Tell spice), the 30 Years War, formal independence, reformation with Zwingli, the much-hated Helvetic Republic, Napoleon and the Act of Mediation, modern federal republic, the 1893 constitution, twentieth century, the UN membership, the EU non-membership, the Schengen pact.
  • Swiss politics: same modus operandi. What it means for Switzerland to be a Democratic Parliamentary Republic, the Federal Assembly with its two chambers and their composition, the Federal Council with its seven members and the collective head of state being associated with the WHOLE council, not its president only, the Federal Court, the magic formula and, most importantly, the direct democracy elements, referendums and initiatives.
  • Swiss current events: I mentioned several things that have happened recently in Switzerland: the elections of 2007, the ousting of Blocher, Calmy-Rey and her visits to Iran and Kosovo, etc.
  • Swiss geography: a couple of basic geography items, then questions on what Switzerland is famous for: where are well known waterfalls, mountains, lakes, etc.; what are the big cities, rivers, lakes, cantons, etc.
All in all it went very well. It is not hard to get good "scores" in this thing, as long as you dedicate some time to prepare. The foreign language might be the toughest part.

I hope that is of help to someone. Best regards.

Last edited by gonzus; 04.08.2008 at 19:50.
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Old 01.04.2008, 08:56
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

Thank you for the information.
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Old 01.04.2008, 17:25
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

Congratulations on the citizenship and thank you for the explanation!
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Old 01.04.2008, 17:40
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

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Congratulations on the citizenship and thank you for the explanation!
Thanks for the congratulations, but I am not there yet by far. After the interview I have to wait a long time (anywhere between one and two years) to hear back from the Swiss government. I will let you all know when I do get the answer.

Best regards.
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Old 02.04.2008, 13:16
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

Oops. Best wishes for the further proceedings then.
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Old 23.06.2008, 15:38
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

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Well, I went through my naturalization interview last Friday (March 28th 2008).
Hello everyone,

No news to tell about the naturalization process, but I thought I would post ever three months to keep everyone updated.

Also, the lady at the interview actually said the longer I don't hear from her, the better for my case, since Bern has a quick filtering process and all the obvious rejects are sent back pretty speedily; it is usually the case that less than three months go by until rejections are notified. Hence, a small cause on my part for celebration.

Best regards.
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Old 23.06.2008, 20:08
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

Well Gonzus:
I didn't know it takes that long, but anyway I am with you, and I really hope the best for your process. Thanks for the update.
Kind regards,
Francisco.
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Old 13.07.2008, 06:59
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

Some progress: one of my friends in Switzerland, who I named as one of my Swiss contacts in my citizenship application, notified me two days ago that he had gotten a package from the government in Bern with a questionnaire related to my application. This is great news to me, because it means I passed whatever initial filters Bern might have, and the process has moved on.

I have asked my friend to tell me exactly what he is being asked from Bern, and will keep you all posted. Best regards.
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Old 23.07.2008, 01:40
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

Ok, two of my friends got a request from Bern. They are being asked what they know about my relationship with Switzerland. In particular, Bern wants to know about the frequency and length of each of my trips to Switzerland, and whether I know any of the national languages. So it would seem the point is to corroborate the information I provided in the application form.

Hope that helps. Best regards.
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Old 05.08.2008, 00:36
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

Hi:
Great news until now. Hope everything is ok now that you are in the next step.
Kind regards,
Fran.
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Old 27.09.2008, 01:04
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

Today it has been almost six months since my interview. After hearing from the friends I listed in my application (three out of six), who received questions from Bern, nothing new has happened. Again, this is actually good, since it means the slow wheels of Swiss bureaucracy have not found (to date) anything in my case that would merit rejection.

If nothing new happens, my next post will be in December, after nine months of waiting, when I will allow myself to start getting antsy about this whole thing.

Best regards.

Last edited by gonzus; 03.03.2009 at 14:25.
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Old 27.09.2008, 01:49
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

We wish you luck and will be looking forward to the "good news".
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Old 27.09.2008, 04:33
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

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If nothing new happens, my next post will be in December, after nine months of wait, when I will allow myself to start getting antsy about this whole thing.
Hey gonzus, good luck with the whole process, but having been a first-hand witness to the process I can tell you that it will be at least 18 months before you get a definitive answer. And, between now and then you really aren't going to hear much at all. So, do yourself a favour, don't bother getting too antsy . And you know what bureaucrats are like when you put them under pressure? Not a pretty sight.....
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Old 27.09.2008, 06:38
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Re: Facilitated integration interview

Just an update for those interested:
I received a letter this week requesting a certified translation of my daughter's birth certificate and a document to sign which says my husband and I are still living together and have no plans to separate. (that's my loose translation of what it says)
It has been a little over 10 months now since our application was submitted.
So, I'm sending that in as soon as I get the translation back. Then it's back to waiting some more.
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