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Old 25.01.2016, 17:14
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Re: simplified naturalisation - erste unterredung

Just to show the variations in cantons, even for something supposedly as "uniform" as facilitated naturalization...

I am in Canton Bern and had my interview with the municipal police this afternoon. I studied like mad over the weekend based on what OP had posted. I shouldn't have bothered.

First, the interview was entirely in German. The officer asked if I wanted Swiss German or High German and of course I said the latter. My husband was allowed to be there with me, and he was a huge help when I got stuck or didn't understand!

My interview had some standard questions - name, rank and serial number type stuff. Same prostitute/pimp question we've seen others mention. Do I have debts, unpaid taxes, or a police record here or abroad.

Zero questions about the government, nothing about why I want to be Swiss, nothing about famous sites or what cities are known for.

The hardest part was the open-ended "tell us about your life" question. I expected the officer to ask specific questions and I'd give specific answers. Of course I know my life story including dates and places, but I've never had to spell it out in such detail, much less in German. As my husband put it, our lives and our story are totally normal to us. However if you step back and look at it as a born-and-raised Swiss it's completely bizarre. I had a very hard time describing my education and jobs from the U.S. because they're not like anything here.

My German was okay, although the officer was nice and typed into the report that I had a good understanding and could express myself well ( ) Twice I completely misunderstood the question and was off on a tangent and my OH had to stop me and point me in the right direction.

So my advice to others:

1 -Plan for anything. Know the famous sites, people, and government structure. Know why you want to be Swiss. Know your life story and that of your spouse inside-out, and know how to express all of that in the language of your interview.

2 - If your language skills are lacking, take a friend who speaks the language fluently, or better yet your spouse. I felt that my OH not only helped with language, but the officer could see our interaction and see that we're really a team not just two strangers cooperating for a passport.

We were told the next step is the report goes to the feds, who then decide if they also want to interview me/us and/or my references. if they just approve as-is then I'll get the letter of approval and a nice hefty bill. The officer put a rough timeline of 2-4 months for that, but said you never know.

Good luck to everyone out there, and thanks to OP for starting this thread and giving loads of specifics from her interview!
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  #42  
Old 25.01.2016, 17:34
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Re: simplified naturalisation - erste unterredung

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Just to show the variations in cantons, even for something supposedly as "uniform" as facilitated naturalization...

I am in Canton Bern and had my interview with the municipal police this afternoon. I studied like mad over the weekend based on what OP had posted. I shouldn't have bothered.

First, the interview was entirely in German. The officer asked if I wanted Swiss German or High German and of course I said the latter. My husband was allowed to be there with me, and he was a huge help when I got stuck or didn't understand!

My interview had some standard questions - name, rank and serial number type stuff. Same prostitute/pimp question we've seen others mention. Do I have debts, unpaid taxes, or a police record here or abroad.

Zero questions about the government, nothing about why I want to be Swiss, nothing about famous sites or what cities are known for.

The hardest part was the open-ended "tell us about your life" question. I expected the officer to ask specific questions and I'd give specific answers. Of course I know my life story including dates and places, but I've never had to spell it out in such detail, much less in German. As my husband put it, our lives and our story are totally normal to us. However if you step back and look at it as a born-and-raised Swiss it's completely bizarre. I had a very hard time describing my education and jobs from the U.S. because they're not like anything here.

My German was okay, although the officer was nice and typed into the report that I had a good understanding and could express myself well ( ) Twice I completely misunderstood the question and was off on a tangent and my OH had to stop me and point me in the right direction.

So my advice to others:

1 -Plan for anything. Know the famous sites, people, and government structure. Know why you want to be Swiss. Know your life story and that of your spouse inside-out, and know how to express all of that in the language of your interview.

2 - If your language skills are lacking, take a friend who speaks the language fluently, or better yet your spouse. I felt that my OH not only helped with language, but the officer could see our interaction and see that we're really a team not just two strangers cooperating for a passport.

We were told the next step is the report goes to the feds, who then decide if they also want to interview me/us and/or my references. if they just approve as-is then I'll get the letter of approval and a nice hefty bill. The officer put a rough timeline of 2-4 months for that, but said you never know.

Good luck to everyone out there, and thanks to OP for starting this thread and giving loads of specifics from her interview!
as anyone can see, every canton is different. my girlfriend is in geneva and her husband is also swiss and she skipped the whole question/interview part too. one day, she literally received her swiss passport in the mail and it was done.

i had heard that fribourg is one of the toughest (if not THE toughest) canton to receive your citizenship from. i know of someone else who had their interview a week prior to mine and she was kind of enough to give me some tips. i took the whole thing very seriously and studied like mad for 2 weeks. and like you, i stumbled on the personal life story because i also never had to spell it out for anyone with super exact detail and dates. i mixed a lot of stuff up, overlapped dates to a point where the interviewer asked me "so you were in california while you were in switzerland taking german courses?". of course, that's not how it worked but i found myself backpeddling a lot. oops.

and how lucky for you to take your spouse with you! sheesh! if i had thought of that, i would've brought my husband with me too. what an advantage to show your relationship and to have your husband help you answer questions! at one point, my interviewer asked me about a line item in our tax returns which i knew nothing about. she said "this is a credit. is this your mortgage on your house?" and i replied with "well, for that amount, it has to be. i don't know of any debts that we have and i do know that we have a monthly house payment." gahhhhh!!!

i feel like i'm reliving the nightmare again and again and wishing i could go back and give better answers.
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  #43  
Old 25.01.2016, 17:54
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Re: simplified naturalisation - erste unterredung

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...and how lucky for you to take your spouse with you! sheesh! if i had thought of that, i would've brought my husband with me too. what an advantage to show your relationship and to have your husband help you answer questions! at one point, my interviewer asked me about a line item in our tax returns which i knew nothing about. she said "this is a credit. is this your mortgage on your house?" and i replied with "well, for that amount, it has to be. i don't know of any debts that we have and i do know that we have a monthly house payment." gahhhhh!!!

i feel like i'm reliving the nightmare again and again and wishing i could go back and give better answers.
We only thought of it thanks to friends who have been through it before in the same municipality. The officer said on the phone that my OH didn't need to come, that the interview was for me. We decided "don't need to come" isn't the same as "not allowed to come" and so we took the chance.

Don't stress too much now. You meet all the basic requirements and I assume you're not a criminal. The officer explained to us that in 99% of cases there's nothing to block the citizenship of a spouse provided the relationship is legit and you tick all the boxes.

I don't understand why Fribourg put you through such a wringer compared to Bern, but I've also heard they are very tough (and that Geneva is a breeze).
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  #44  
Old 25.05.2016, 22:08
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Re: simplified naturalisation - erste unterredung

Hey OP - Any update? I received my final, formal approval letter this week. Now I have to go and request the passport. The letter says that can take time, because my Heimat needs to confirm I am listed in the citizens register before the feds will process a passport application.
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Old 19.05.2018, 02:05
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Re: simplified naturalisation - erste unterredung

Hello!

I had just written out an extremely long, detailed account of my entire history of applying for naturalization in Switzerland, only to be logged out and lose my progress! I've had to type out an abridged version in a text editor just to be safe now.

I thought it would be nice to start with some personal background information:

I’m a 27 year old fashion producer, archivist and artist living in New York. My paternal grandfather was Swiss, but would never speak about his family history when I questioned him about our history as a child. Attempts to learn about why he left Ticino, or who our other family members were - were met with a stern, cold dismissal. My Grandmother didn’t even know much about his past life, just that he had run away from his family due to family disputes. My grandfather made it clear that the only thing he would mention about Svizzera, was that he wouldn’t talk about Svizzera. Naturally, this forbidden history got my curiosity very active as a young boy - so oftentimes I would surreptitiously search through his belongings, reading civil service documents and dare I say it… pretending to be a soldier with his rifle until my Brother and I were caught meddling with it (which of course, was always kept completely unloaded - in fact recently I learned that there was never any magazine or ammunition in the house, it was just a nostalgia item).

Fast forward to my early 20’s - My Grandfather died without mentioning a single name of a Swiss relative to me, not a drop of information. His death didn’t bring much by way of discovery either, just his civil service documents and American belongings. A bit of dark humor - his second wife recently said to me “…he wanted nothing to do with the taxes there, thats why he never told you anything.”.

Despite this, I have kept up to date on Swiss affairs out of my own interest, and have done large amounts of self-directed research on Swiss history, culture and so forth. I feel quite confident about my ability to speak about my connection to Switzerland despite not having much contact with anyone in the country - much like an informal academic who has yet to travel to the place he’s been studying.

At 23, a cousin contacted me through social media and we established some family ties at last!

At 25 - I finally visited Ticino, Geneva, Bern and many other bits of Switzerland.

Last year I travelled to Geneva again, and made it down to Vaud and then up and over to Zurich. I have been in frequent contact with my Cousin and Uncle and plan on visiting many, many more times.

While on my last visit to see my uncle in Geneva during Escalade, he urged me to consider applying for naturalization and told me I had nothing to lose and could still be a decent candidate despite my apprehension about the bureaucratic process and my inability to speak a national language. In short, our cinematic walk around the old town in Geneva during Escalade convinced me to try it.

And now, my timeline of work on my naturalization process:

Friday, September 08, 2017 - I make contact with the Consulate in New York, asking to apply for facilitated naturalization.

Monday, October 02, 2017 - They reply with an initial set of questions and requests for documents that were quite difficult to procure given almost all of my family is deceased (and my family was very small here in the states to begin with).

Thursday, November 09, 2017 - I reply with all of the questions and initial forms sent with registered mail.

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - The Consulate replies and states "From the information provided I assume that your father lost his Swiss citizenship as he was a foreign-born child holding another citizenship in addition to Swiss citizenship and whose birth was not registered with the Swiss authorities before the age of 22.

Enclosed hereto please find the documents for simplified naturalization of a foreign child who could not become a Swiss citizen because of parental loss of Swiss citizenship prior to the child’s birth (Art. 31b BüG):

Important: Please note that your application can only be considered if received in 2017 as the law will change in 2018 and you will not be able to apply for Swiss citizenship anymore." Additionally, I am given an extremely short deadline to provide the Consulate with an extraordinary amount of documents while I am traveling abroad.

I silently thank my Uncle for the push... this is my only chance to obtain naturalization.

Monday, December 11, 2017 - Somehow I am able to get all of the documents in registered mail, before the deadline.

April 04, 2018 - I am asked to procure my two final documents, an FBI background check and a family certificate. I had long been pursuing the latter - but some kind of confusion developed between Locarno and Lugano disputing who held the certificate.

May 2018 - I received a call yesterday stating that my interview is set for June 11th... I'm totally taken aback. I didn't even think my application would get this far and now I am in a state of anxiety! I feel confident in my knowledge, but can barely speak Italian - I can read a lot, but my speaking is rubbish. I was sure that I would have more time to learn a national language given how long the Consulate was taking to get back to me on most occasions.

In short, I'm quite concerned about this and am considering being very up front (in Italian) about my inability to speak, but providing receipts of my language lessons and telling the honest truth that I do plan on speaking a national language and becoming truly integrated.

My Uncle is planning on writing me a very extensive letter proving my deep interest in becoming a citizen and I'm hoping that my efforts over the last year, my knowledge of the country and my professional life will work in my favor despite my glaring issue of language.

I have found this forum to be a great resource in the last year, and have been excited about the prospect of sharing my story for quite some time.

Any thoughts or questions are welcome, thank you!
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