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Old 03.06.2017, 15:01
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Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

I read an article today about the changes in Swiss nationality law, which has moved my interest in getting Swiss citizenship to the front burner before the law changes.

I posted several years back, but never really made much progress.

My grandmother was, undeniably, a Swiss citizen. (She held a Swiss passport until the day she died, and traveled on it in recent memory.) She was born (in London, strangely) in 1925, and died in Chicago in 2002. (She was a citizen of Basel BS).

My father, however, was unable to acquire Swiss citizenship at his birth. He was born in 1957 in the United States. It is my understanding that at the time, a Swiss mother was unable to pass citizenship to her children. When this was rectified, my father was unaware, and did not claim Swiss citizenship in the period in which he could have done so.

I was born in 1982 in Chicago.

In correspondence with the Consulate several years ago, it was suggested that I could apply for facilitated naturalization via Art. 58a, if I can demonstrate close ties to Switzerland. The listed the following criteria:
*Regular trips/vacation in Switzerland
*Close contact to friends and relatives in Switzerland
*Affiliation with organizations or groups representing Switzerland or Swiss living abroad
*Working for a Swiss company
*Ability to converse in one of the Swiss national languages or a Swiss dialect
*Interested in Swiss current affairs and good general knowledge of Switzerland (geography, history, political system, economy)

I have taken two short trips to Switzerland in the past two years, and am planning another later this year. I am a member of two Swiss Clubs in my home town. I am generally familiar with Swiss geography, history, politics, and economics (and I could become very proficient in short order).

Unfortunately, I don't speak French or German at all, and I speak limited Italian. (I speak fluent Spanish, so I can understand a good deal of written Italian, but I am far from conversational.) And, I don't know anybody in Switzerland (my Grandmother was an only child, so there is no remaining family).

Is this worth pursuing? Or have my ties to Switzerland diminished too far over the generations? I'd like to be a Swiss citizen (ultimately, I'd like to live in Switzerland), but I don't know how possible it is at this point.

Does anybody have any experience or expertise in these matters?
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Old 03.06.2017, 15:43
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

This thread may help

https://www.englishforum.ch/permits-...ndparents.html

but the law changes on 1st January 2018 so I don't know if you'd have enough time to gather all the documents needed to apply. But read the thread and also check with the Swiss embassy which looks after your area of the US.
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Old 05.06.2017, 08:29
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

Thank you for your post!

It's interesting because your post could have been written by me! I am almost in the exact situation as you, and submitted my application last year under article 58-a.

I think if you are serious about applying then you need to start right away! From what I understand, once the new law goes into effect 1 Jan 2018 you can no longer apply if your grandmother is Swiss...your mother or father would also need to have the Swiss citizenship.

What are your chances? I think it's definitely worth a try. If you can think of someone in Switzerland that could possibly be a reference for you (doesn't have to be family), that would help your application tremendously.

Let me know if there is anything I can do to help, including my advice for what to do first and some of the things I've learned from this Forum and people at the consulate. Like I said, my situation is almost identical to yours, from having a Swiss grandmother and applying from the USA to knowing some Italian....even our birth year is the same!

This post is long but has a lot of applicable information: https://www.englishforum.ch/permits-...interview.html
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Old 06.06.2017, 22:13
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

How did your application go? Have you gotten a response yet?

Also, how close are your ties to Switzerland? I feel like mine are probably closer than most Americans, but they've been pretty diluted over the last two generations.

Unfortunately, I don't think I know anybody who lives in Switzerland.
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Old 06.06.2017, 23:16
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

I had my interview at the consulate in San Francisco April of 2016 and my application was sent to Bern in July 2016. The consulate official doing the interview said my application looked good and that he had never seen an application be rejected, but there is always a first time for everything! (that didn't make me feel too confident...). I haven't heard anything back yet.

The consulate told me that the following are most important when determining close ties:

"The most important points are frequent trips to Switzerland (at least 3 in the last 10 years), knowledge of a Swiss language, contact with Swiss organizations/ citizen abroad and Swiss citizens in Switzerland."

As far as my personal "close ties", this is what I was able to put on my application:
I have friends in Switzerland, but only some distant relatives (2 of my grandfather's cousins and their children). I speak passable Italian and a little German - I did my interview in Italian. I've been to Switzerland 3 times in the last few years to visit friends and family, and had 4 people in Switzerland write letters of recommendation for me, and 4 Swiss in the USA. I'm also a member of a Swiss club locally.

I didn't think I really had the "close ties" that the application seems to require but I was encouraged by many people on the forum to apply and I'm glad I did. Even if I don't get accepted, it's been a really good experience and I feel a stronger connection to my family's homeland.
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Old 06.06.2017, 23:36
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

Ouch. I've almost got the three trips, although the first two were short. I visited the town my Grandmother was a citizen of several years ago (Basel), and I went and visited the town she grew up in on a separate trip (Lausanne). I'm going back in a few months for a longer trip to see some more of the country.

Your entire interview was in Italian? That's going to be rough. I'm still effectively a beginner. I speak fluent Spanish, so that's helped with the grammar, but I still need to learn a lot of vocabulary. I can read Italian pretty well, but speaking it is a different story. I guess I'll be living on Rosetta Stone until my interview.

I'm a member of a couple of Swiss clubs in Chicago, but I live too far away to attend their events. There aren't any local organizations closer to me.

Did your references write letters on their own? Or was there a standard form that they filled out? What did they have to say about you?
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Old 07.06.2017, 00:18
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

From what I understand, under the current law you just need to have a basic understanding of one of the national languages. I don't think it is typical at all to have the entire interview in the language. Most people on other threads have said the language part is usually a short conversation where you speak in the language about simple things and then the rest of the interview is in English. The person doing your interview might not even be fluent in Italian, so it may not be as hard as you think.

I did ask my references in Switzerland to write letters, and I asked them if they would simply confirm that they know me and that I've been to Switzerland and a few of them even vouched for my ability to communicate in a national language. But almost all of them were pretty short and basic.

I think that you should contact the consulate and see what they say. From what I understand, you don't have to meet every requirement for "close ties". If one area is weaker, then another area can make up for it. I have a copy of the application I could send you, if you are interested, to know exactly what they are looking for and what documents you would need.
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Old 15.06.2017, 17:39
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

SwissInfo has an interesting article about the new changes in the citizenship law, especially those of us who may qualify for facilitated naturalization via a Swiss grandmother.

Link to article:

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/naturali...ship-/43211068
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Old 21.06.2017, 22:13
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

Thanks! That's actually the exact article I read that got me working on this.

I went ahead and contacted the Embassy, and they sent me the full application. Time to start gathering documents!
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Old 23.06.2017, 00:36
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

Great! Good luck with everything.
Just one piece of advice - when I applied last year, I needed to submit a FBI background check, which took about 3 months to process. I believe the wait time is less now, but still likely around 2 months. You might want to get that started right away to leave plenty of time to do your interview and submit your application before the law changes.
If you have any questions or need help with anything, feel free to ask.
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Old 23.06.2017, 07:43
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

I watched a documentary a few years back on RTS whose subject was on Costa Rican people trying to get Swiss nationality in the hope of emigrating here. The most prized family possession they owned were Swiss passports belonging to great grandparents (not even grandparents!) This was from a period in time at the end of the 1800s when Switzerland was growing in industry but suffering agriculturally, many Swiss people (predominantly farmers) emigrated to North and Central/South America in the search of better conditions, in fact a good example of this is New Glarus in Wisconsin, which was founded in 1845. Anyway, it was interesting to see how these people were travelling to their forefather's hometowns in a bid to get those 3 trips in 10 years like yourselves, and learn a national language. It has to be said that on arrival here they looked totally shell shocked, culturally speaking, Lausanne and Zurich are a million milles away from small town Costa Rica! One family that was followed were finally granted Swiss citizenship, the father ended up finding work at TL (Transport Lausanne) and the children became integrated into the schooling system...still shell shocked!


I am exited for you, wishing you all the luck, please let us know the outcome!
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Old 29.11.2017, 03:12
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

I've collected all my documents. I'm still a little worried about the overall strength of my application, though.

I have now visited Switzerland three times (I was in Basel for a couple of days during a long Europe vacation, I spent two days in Lausanne during another trip, and I spent a week between Geneva and Zurich earlier this year).

I belong to two Swiss organizations in my home town, but I haven't been able to participate in any of their events, because I now live 150 miles away.

When I was in Switzerland, I met a bunch of people who live there who might be willing to vouch for me. Most of them aren't citizens, though, and are merely residents in Switzerland (although from the looks of the application, that might not actually matter).

Since my grandmother died, I don't have any contact with Swiss people living in the US.

I don't work for a Swiss company.

And I have limited proficiency in Italian. I've been studying for nine or ten months (and I'm fluent in Spanish, so that has helped a lot). I can hold a conversation, but only if the other person is speaking slowly. And I need to search for words a lot.

I am pretty confident with my knowledge of Swiss history, geography, and current events.

Is it worth pursuing? Or are my ties just not going to be close enough to qualify? How forgiving are they at the Embassy?
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Old 29.11.2017, 05:28
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

My personal opinion would be 100% go for it, if it's possible to submit the application before the new law goes into effect. Once the law changes, I'm not sure you'd have the opportunity again, so I guess there is nothing to lose by applying now.

If you have 3 visits to Switzerland, contacts in Switzerland that can vouch for you, and can carry on a limited conversation in Italian, I think you actually have a solid application. Your experience seems similar to mine, and the consulate officer seemed to think I had a good chance of being accepted.

Good luck, and just let me know if you have any questions about the process.
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Old 18.07.2019, 06:54
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Re: Swiss Grandmother. Citizenship Process?

It's been a few years, but wanted to follow up to see if you had any success with your applications? I'm also the granddaughter of a Swiss citizen although my grandma came to the US in her teens. Unfortunately, she passed away a few years back. I still have distant relatives there. My grandma came to the US so long ago (1930s), I don't know how difficult it would be to find records. I understand there was an update to the law for the immigration of third generation relatives in 2018/2019. I would love to go back there to live and work.
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