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Old 25.06.2013, 23:19
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My dad was born in Zurich, and his mother is Swiss. I was born in Brazil. Can I get a

Hello everyone :-)

This is a question that I wanted to clear up. My dad tried getting a Swiss Citizenship for himself but apparently ran into some trouble. Here's some details:

My dad's mom is Swiss (born in Switzerland to a married couple and one of them was from Switzerland). My dad's dad is Brazilian. They got married here in Brazil in the 1930s. In 1955 my dad was born while they were in Zurich. So he was born in Switzerland to a Swiss mother.
When my dad's dad tried getting his birth certificate, they told him to get it in the Brazilian Embassy, since my dad's dad was Brazilian.
Is my dad applicable for a citizenship? If he is, would it be Jus sanguinis (descent), or would it be simplified naturalization? I've read about renaturalization for people who were born from a Swiss parent abroad, but he was born in Zurich. And if he was able to get a citizenship, would I be as well?

Thanks :-)

PS: I was born in Brazil in 1990 and my mother is Brazilian.
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Old 25.06.2013, 23:38
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Re: My dad was born in Zurich, and his mother is Swiss. I was born in Brazil. Can I g

It might be different for Brazil, but I think they tend to focus more on what nationality your mom is from. In theory your dad should be able to get his, but hr might have opted to deny it or never got the option when he turned 18. I'm thinking it would be harder for you to get your citizenship as well.

I know before i was 18 my mom applied for mine, she has hers, as her dad was swiss, so i got mine as well, even though i had never been there at the time.
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Old 26.06.2013, 08:16
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Re: My dad was born in Zurich, and his mother is Swiss. I was born in Brazil. Can I g

This from the official www.bfm.admin.ch website:

I have a Swiss mother or a Swiss father, but I am not a Swiss citizen. Do I have a possibility of facilitated naturalisation?
In certain cases, the Nationality Act (Art. 31a, Art. 31b, Art. 58a, Art. 58b) allows for facilitated naturalisation. For further information, please contact the Federal Office for Migration, Naturalisation Section, Quellenweg 6, 3003 Berne-Wabern ( email) or, if you are resident abroad, the relevant Swiss representation.

I think I recall from other threads on the subject here though that unless your father applies/applied by a certain age he loses the right to claim Swiss citizenship. If that's so, then there's no chance you'd get it. You need to check with the Swiss representation in your country to find out more.

This thread may help too:

Is he Swiss or not!?

So you may also need to prove "close ties with Switzerland" for any naturalisation process.

Last edited by Medea Fleecestealer; 26.06.2013 at 08:26.
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Old 26.06.2013, 09:48
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Re: My dad was born in Zurich, and his mother is Swiss. I was born in Brazil. Can I g

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Hello everyone :-)

This is a question that I wanted to clear up. My dad tried getting a Swiss Citizenship for himself but apparently ran into some trouble. Here's some details:

My dad's mom is Swiss (born in Switzerland to a married couple and one of them was from Switzerland). My dad's dad is Brazilian. They got married here in Brazil in the 1930s. In 1955 my dad was born while they were in Zurich. So he was born in Switzerland to a Swiss mother.
When my dad's dad tried getting his birth certificate, they told him to get it in the Brazilian Embassy, since my dad's dad was Brazilian.
Is my dad applicable for a citizenship? If he is, would it be Jus sanguinis (descent), or would it be simplified naturalization? I've read about renaturalization for people who were born from a Swiss parent abroad, but he was born in Zurich. And if he was able to get a citizenship, would I be as well?

Thanks :-)

PS: I was born in Brazil in 1990 and my mother is Brazilian.
A few things: firstly one needs to establish if you are already Swiss or not (since your birth). If you are not Swiss at birth, then there is a process of "facilitated naturalization" where you can start being Swiss from now on via a simplified process, but that's not easy (but can try if anything else fails).

To determine if you are swiss already, we need to determine first if your father is swiss (or was swiss at the time of your birth). I imagine being born in Zurich in 1955 to a Swiss mother would qualify. But you said that he ran into trouble trying to get a Swiss passport (?) so there may be other dimensions to it. It is not correct that he cannot get his birth certificate from Zurich and they send him to Brazil, if the birth was in Zurich, a Swiss birth certificate is ALWAYS obtained (the birth certificate simply documents the fact that a birth took place in Zurich, nothing to do with whether the person is Swiss or not. Tourists giving birth in Switzerland get a swiss certificate). But that doesnt mean he is automatically Swiss. Unfortunately I cannot find the nationality law from 1955 (it has been changed in 1953, 1957, 1973, 1978, 1980, 1985, 1992, 1997, 2000, etc, and the oldest available online is from 2000). The law that applied in 1955 will determine if your father is Swiss or not.

If he is not, then you are stuck.. If he is, we then need to look at the nationality law in 1990 when you were born. I suspect you will qualify for Swiss nationaility automatically if your father was Swiss and your parents were married at the time of your birth.

Your best bet is to contact the Swiss embassy for advice. It's unlikely anyone in this forum will have the law from 1955 at hand. They will help.

But be careful: time is running out. If you are indeed Swiss from birth, but born abroad, you must tell the Swiss embassy / authorities that you want to keep your Swiss nationality before you are 23 years old. If you dont do that, you automatically lose the Swiss nationality when you reach 23 years old. If you are born in 1990 you are 22 or 23, so you need to act quickly -- eg going to the embassy now and declaring that you wish to keep your Swiss nationality, - regardless of all the complications of the case, dont wait until all the research is done.
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Old 26.06.2013, 10:05
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Re: My dad was born in Zurich, and his mother is Swiss. I was born in Brazil. Can I g

The circumstances under which a person may be eligible for facilitated naturalization are spelled out in English at the bottom of this page.

From what the OP has posted, it sounds like the OP's father may be eligible to apply for facilitated naturalization, if close ties with Switzerland have been maintained. However, the OP would not be eligible (but would have been, had the father applied for and received citizenship through facilitated naturalization before the OP was 18 years old).

To get the clearest possible answer as to whether one is eligible to apply for facilitated naturalization, I recommend writing to the nearest Swiss embassy or consulate, describing — in as much detail as possible — the relevant history, relationships, nationalities, etc. The respective Swiss embassy/consulate staff can then ask any necessary clarifying questions, and inform the inquiring party as to whether the case merits an application, and (if it does) how to start the process.
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Old 26.06.2013, 10:11
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Re: My dad was born in Zurich, and his mother is Swiss. I was born in Brazil. Can I g

Complicated case. But here is one thing you can clear up. Just because he was born in Zürich, he can not be Swiss. Location does not count in this case.

You have to research the age limit, swiss connections maintained etc.
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Old 26.06.2013, 10:39
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Re: My dad was born in Zurich, and his mother is Swiss. I was born in Brazil. Can I g

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Complicated case. But here is one thing you can clear up. Just because he was born in Zürich, he can not be Swiss. Location does not count in this case.

You have to research the age limit, swiss connections maintained etc.
Yes, but the mother was Swiss so yes, he may have been. But then why would he have been sent to the Brazilian Embassy? Only thing I can think of is back in 1955 or whenever descent from parentage was only recognised via the male line and not female.
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Old 26.06.2013, 10:51
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Re: My dad was born in Zurich, and his mother is Swiss. I was born in Brazil. Can I g

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Complicated case. But here is one thing you can clear up. Just because he was born in Zürich, he can not be Swiss. Location does not count in this case.

You have to research the age limit, swiss connections maintained etc.
Location isn't irrelevant, but the usual situation where it matters for Swiss-born babies is when they would otherwise be stateless.

The advice and links above are correct. There are some subtle elements for which it is helpful to know Swiss political history. Until the 1960s women did not have the vote. After they got it and after women gained more or less equal civil rights in the West, Swiss nationality law was revised. Women who had lost their Swiss nationality upon marriage or naturalisation abroad could get it back subject to certain conditions. And under current law their offspring of any age can apply for facilitated naturalisation subject to (1) speaking a Swiss language, (2) residence or visits in Switzerland totalling 3 years, (4) having Swiss friends and acquaintances.

Facilitated naturalisation includes all children under age 18; after that the children have to qualify on their own.

I have argued (not everybody agrees with me) that the current laws were prompted in part by the fall in fecundity of Swiss women and the political wish to include more "ethnic Swiss" (the Cinquième Suisse of my login name). Take-up of the option, especially from Latin America has varied with economic times. One complaint heard in Switzerland is that many of the "returnees" don't in fact speak a Swiss language and have trouble assimilating.

Switzerland was a poor country in the early 20th Century and many children of large families were forced to emigrate. My uncle (by marriage) left the Grisons with his brother early in the century when the farm could't accommodate them. At the end of his life he was executive head of room service & catering at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. His granddaughter was a MIT graduate and US Air Force Officer.
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Old 27.06.2013, 23:47
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Re: My dad was born in Zurich, and his mother is Swiss. I was born in Brazil. Can I g

Hey guys, thank you all for thoughtful and detailed replies :-)
I guess I need to establish if he was Swiss on birth. From what he told me that they wouldn't let his dad register him there, I'm guessing the law at the time wouldn't consider him a Swiss citizen.
I called their embassy here in Brazil and was told they have records of everyone who was born there. Nowadays everyone who is born from a Swiss mother/father is automatically Swiss via Jus Sanguinis, but if it's dependant on the law at the time he was born, then I'm probably out of luck
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