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Old 02.03.2016, 17:48
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Naturalization in Canton Zurich

I've applied for ordinary naturalization in Canton Zurich. As part of this I'll have to do a German test and Staatskunde (knowledge of Switzerland?) test at a local school.
If anyone has already done these, it would be great if you could let me know what's involved in both of these.
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Old 02.03.2016, 23:01
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Naturalization in Canton Zurich

Hi Camupa

We did the German test (KDE - Kantonaler Deutschtest im Einbürgerungsverfahren) as part of the ordinary naturalisation process in Stadt Zürich. It was very straightforward and set up to make sure you can survive everyday life. i.e. not looking for perfect grammar or to trip you up, but rather making sure you can function in everyday situations such as make a doctor's appointment, understand directions, read local event schedules, introduce yourself, and participate in a discussion on a topic familiar to you.

The level officially required is B1 speaking/listening and A2 reading/writing, if I remember right. The listening and reading parts were multiple choice, but I have no idea if that's a standard format for all test centres or not. One of the four listening exercises was Swiss German, the other three high German. For the spoken discussion it was left up to the candidate to choose if they preferred Swiss or high German.

We didn't have to do a Staatskunde exam in Zürich city, so I can't comment on that. Instead we had a face to face interview where they asked one or two knowledge questions in a roundabout way, but it was essentially a very congenial chat about who we are and why we wanted to become Swiss.

Previously I remember finding somewhere on the forum (or maybe it was Google?!) where someone had kindly posted a link or copy of a test from one of the smaller gemeindes (Birmensdorf rings a bell maybe?). Maybe have a search and you might get an idea of what such a test involves.

Good luck!

Last edited by jot; 02.03.2016 at 23:26.
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Old 03.03.2016, 13:44
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich (tests)

Thanks for the information. I didn't realize that part would be in Swiss German. I just hope the dialect is an easy one, not like Walliser...
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Old 03.03.2016, 14:34
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich (tests)

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Thanks for the information. I didn't realize that part would be in Swiss German. I just hope the dialect is an easy one, not like Walliser...
It was only one of the four (short and very basic) listening questions that was in Swiss German, so really nothing to worry about (and since I managed to understand it, it was most likely Zürideutsch ). If you really don't understand it, it is only 1 point lost (out of a total of 50), and since it is multiple choice you anyway have a 25% chance of getting it right

From the guidelines found here the passmark is 60%. The test is split into two parts:
1. listening/reading/writing - done in a classic school exam conditions group setting.
2. speaking - done on an individual basis, or as it was in my case, two candidates at once.
You have to score 60% in both parts. The spoken part has a higher weighting, however, carrying a larger portion of the 50 points available.
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Old 03.03.2016, 15:54
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich

Did you get three booklets to read and one with sample questions? If so, just learn them by heart and you'll be fine. Including the years and numbers in the Canton/Gemeinde part! They realy do check that.
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Old 03.03.2016, 18:47
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich

Hopefully I might survive a basic question... My high German is ok but I'm just starting to learn Swiss German. Sometimes I understand and other times it's totally incomprehensible!


I only got one booklet (Echo) and no sample questions. I found an Aargau test online (http://www.einbuergerungstest-aargau.ch/). Hopefully the Zürich one is similar.
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Old 27.07.2016, 19:25
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich

Now that I’ve been through the tests (& passed both), I thought it’s time for an update. I took the tests in Bulach – as usual in Switzerland, each Canton & Bezirk seems to do things differently, so it can be different depending on where you live.
Provided you have the right levels of German, the German test shouldn’t cause problems. The levels are B1.1 for listening & speaking, A2.1 for writing & A2.2 for reading. The test started with the listening section. Four short recordings (one in Swiss German) were played and after each there were four questions (yes/no or multiple choice). The reading part had four different exercises, eg. an agenda for an event. Each part was followed by a number of questions with multiple choice answers. The writing exercise was to write a 50 word letter on a particular theme. The speaking part is 50% of the marks, so it’s important to feel comfortable speaking about yourself, hobbies, family, work etc in German. That part lasted about 15 minutes. The first three sections of the test took about an hour. How long the speaking part will take you will depend on how many people are taking the German test, as we were taken in pairs (there were two testers). If you’re at the end of the queue, it could take a while…
After I had confirmation that I’d passed the German test (you need to get at least 60%) I was allowed take the Staatskunde (Swiss general knowledge). Pretty much everything on the test came from the Echo book that the Gemeinde sent me, so if you know that inside out, it should go well. My main comment on this is that I thought the level of German used in this test was quite a bit higher than needed for the German test. I’d say that someone with A2.2 reading level could find this difficult. The description of this is ‘mixture of multiple choice & open questions’ but I’ve never previously seen a multiple choice test where there can be multiple correct responses. There were some ‘fill the gaps’ questions and a few one line response open questions. While the Aargau test linked above is good to practice on, this test was more difficult.
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Old 05.10.2016, 16:08
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich

Posted this reply in another thread, but might be of interest here too:

Canton Zurich, Gemeinde Affoltern am Albis.

Have German (A2 Written, B2 spoken) test at the end of this month and the 'Swiss knowledge test'.

Trying to get my German upto scratch.

For the 'Swiss Knowledge', they proved what I assume is a sample quetionaire and tell you where to find the answers in the Echo booklet www.echo-ch.ch (ordered the English copy which cost 16.90 plus 7.00 to post OUCH). Not sure if I should have gone for the German version as the questionnaire and answers are in German. Maybe if someone has this in German we can do a swap.

The tests are run by BZD Dietlikon. www.bzd.ch

BZD also run language courses and 'Swiss Knowledge' courses.

Can maybe upload copies of docs etc.. to dropbox if people are interested (and if this is allowed...)
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Old 05.10.2016, 18:01
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich

Sounds tough-the language test. Glad I had facilitated naturalization
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Now that I’ve been through the tests (& passed both), I thought it’s time for an update. I took the tests in Bulach – as usual in Switzerland, each Canton & Bezirk seems to do things differently, so it can be different depending on where you live.
Provided you have the right levels of German, the German test shouldn’t cause problems. The levels are B1.1 for listening & speaking, A2.1 for writing & A2.2 for reading. The test started with the listening section. Four short recordings (one in Swiss German) were played and after each there were four questions (yes/no or multiple choice). The reading part had four different exercises, eg. an agenda for an event. Each part was followed by a number of questions with multiple choice answers. The writing exercise was to write a 50 word letter on a particular theme. The speaking part is 50% of the marks, so it’s important to feel comfortable speaking about yourself, hobbies, family, work etc in German. That part lasted about 15 minutes. The first three sections of the test took about an hour. How long the speaking part will take you will depend on how many people are taking the German test, as we were taken in pairs (there were two testers). If you’re at the end of the queue, it could take a while…
After I had confirmation that I’d passed the German test (you need to get at least 60%) I was allowed take the Staatskunde (Swiss general knowledge). Pretty much everything on the test came from the Echo book that the Gemeinde sent me, so if you know that inside out, it should go well. My main comment on this is that I thought the level of German used in this test was quite a bit higher than needed for the German test. I’d say that someone with A2.2 reading level could find this difficult. The description of this is ‘mixture of multiple choice & open questions’ but I’ve never previously seen a multiple choice test where there can be multiple correct responses. There were some ‘fill the gaps’ questions and a few one line response open questions. While the Aargau test linked above is good to practice on, this test was more difficult.
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Old 19.12.2016, 23:48
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich

My husband applied for ordinary naturalization as well in Zurich, they replied that they will do background check and asked to pay a fees of 800 CHF.
my question is, do all applicants have to do the German test? Knowing that he submitted his B2 certificate along with the other documents
My other question is how long does it take to call you for the interview? And what are the common questiones asked or how can a person prepare for it?
Thank you
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Old 20.12.2016, 07:36
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich

Language depends on his nationality as the following countries are exempt: Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, Liechtenstein, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Spain. If he's not one of those, then yes he will have to do the tests.
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Old 20.12.2016, 08:03
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich

The interview comes when it comes. How should we know. This thread hos been done ad nauseam!Do your own research. You heard of Google?
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My husband applied for ordinary naturalization as well in Zurich, they replied that they will do background check and asked to pay a fees of 800 CHF.
my question is, do all applicants have to do the German test? Knowing that he submitted his B2 certificate along with the other documents
My other question is how long does it take to call you for the interview? And what are the common questiones asked or how can a person prepare for it?
Thank you
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Old 20.12.2016, 14:26
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich

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Language depends on his nationality as the following countries are exempt: Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, Liechtenstein, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Spain. If he's not one of those, then yes he will have to do the tests.
Thank you that was helpful, he's from the United States then he'll probably go through the test
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Old 28.01.2017, 23:15
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich

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my question is, do all applicants have to do the German test? Knowing that he submitted his B2 certificate along with the other documents
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Language depends on his nationality as the following countries are exempt: Belgium, Germany, Denmark, France, Liechtenstein, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Spain. If he's not one of those, then yes he will have to do the tests.

No this is the case for C permit, but not for naturalisation!

For ordinary naturalisation, all applicants have to submit evidence of language ability (unless they are German mother tongue, below 16 years of age, or have attended a local education institution in the German language.)

For this purpose, a recognised B2 certificate is acceptable and will cover the defined language requirements (B1.1 for listening & speaking, A2.1 for writing & A2.2 for reading). The language test discussed in this thread is only for those that have no certification.

see the "Deutschkenntnisse" section here: http://www.gaz.zh.ch/internet/justiz...setzungen.html

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Von der Sprachprüfung befreit sind Personen ..... die über ein Sprachdiplom oder ein Ausbildungszeugnis verfügen, das die verlangten Sprachkenntnisse nachweist
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Old 20.02.2018, 11:20
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich

I am now seeking Swiss citizenship after nearly 15 years in the country. I realize it's been a while since you've taken the German test, but I have one query: was German grammar a significant part of it? I went to the local language school to take a German language classification test to learn where I am before taking the (now required) German test. This classification test focused primarily on grammar, with tricky multiple choice questions where the answers were all similar with one small change (i.e. eine, einer, einem). I scored 30/50. I asked the test administrator if the official test also weighs heavily on grammar and he said yes, there is a grammar element. He said they can help me with 4-5 one hour sessions at 80SFR per session. So, I left there very worried about taking the official test. Since then, I have taken 2 or 3 rather comprehensive online tests with listening, reading, and writing sections similar to what you've described. I've done well on each one. It's left me wondering if the language school is trying scare me into 'buying up.' Anyhow, I certainly appreciate your, or anyone's feedback since I've not been able to find any other info particular to this question. Many thanks!
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Old 19.08.2020, 23:22
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Re: Naturalization in Canton Zurich

Thank you so much for sharing your experience! Whilst the rules for naturalization have changed at the meantime, the Swiss knowledge requirement and test you described below still seems to be the same today, at least for Bezirk Affoltern a/A.

You mentioned that the test format is best described as mixture of multiple choice and open short answer questions. Would you happen to remember roughly how heavy the short answer questions are? Is the majority multiple choice or do we really need to be able to write our answers actively for the short answer questions? The studying strategy is obviously very different for multiple choice vs. for short answers as one only need to be able to pick out the right answer for the former whereas the latter would require better knowledge to be able to write/produce the answer oneself.

Any insights you could share or still remember is much appreciated!


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Posted this reply in another thread, but might be of interest here too:

Canton Zurich, Gemeinde Affoltern am Albis.

Have German (A2 Written, B2 spoken) test at the end of this month and the 'Swiss knowledge test'.

Trying to get my German upto scratch.

For the 'Swiss Knowledge', they proved what I assume is a sample quetionaire and tell you where to find the answers in the Echo booklet www.echo-ch.ch (ordered the English copy which cost 16.90 plus 7.00 to post OUCH). Not sure if I should have gone for the German version as the questionnaire and answers are in German. Maybe if someone has this in German we can do a swap.

The tests are run by BZD Dietlikon. www.bzd.ch

BZD also run language courses and 'Swiss Knowledge' courses.

Can maybe upload copies of docs etc.. to dropbox if people are interested (and if this is allowed...)
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