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Old 23.11.2018, 20:11
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Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

Hi knowledgeable members:

I am interested in seeking Swiss citizenship, ideally of course under the simplified naturalization process. Here is my background:

Mother: Swiss Citizen (now living abroad)
My Birth Location: Zurich (... irrelevant, no?)
My Birth Date: 1/1/1964
My status with respect to Switzerland: Non-citizen, mother never registered me after my birth -- either because not legally possible at the time, or it was an oversight. She moved to the US several months after my birth, along with me of course.
My current residence: United States

After a cursory review of the recent changes to naturalization laws, I was under the impression I could qualify for simplified naturalization path. But after sending an email inquiry to the local swiss consulate in California about it, that does not appear to be the case. Any opinions? Here is the text their reply. What do you think? Does it make sense? What further steps should I take, or what options are available? Thanks in advance for your help.

"EDA-Kanzlei San Francisco <sfr.kanzlei@eda.admin.ch>
Tue, Oct 16, 1:35 PM
to me

Our ref. 121.1-gjd

Dear Sir,

Thanks for this additional information and the indication of the birthdate of your mother. I could now find and check the file of your mother.

As far as I may see, your mother never lost her Swiss citizenship and in particular kept her Swiss citizenship after her marriage with your father.

Therefore, I unfortunately see no possibility to apply for the Swiss citizenship in your constellation according to the present law https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...990/index.html as the conditions mentioned under Art. 51 para 1 are not met (this article is aimed to give a possibility to children whose mothers lost their Swiss citizenship through their marriage with a foreign citizen before 1992 to apply for the Swiss citizenship).

I regret that I cannot give you a positive answer and thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,
Jean-Daniel Glauser
Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 600, San Francisco CA 94111
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Old 23.11.2018, 22:45
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

Um, would need to see the original Swiss language version of that article since it doesn't specify in English that it's for children whose mothers lost their Swiss citizenship on marriage. The old version did specify that.

However, what will be of as much importance will be whether you have close tie to Switzerland or not. Do you have relatives here that you visit regularly? Have you made trips to the country? Belong to any local Swiss clubs?
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Old 23.11.2018, 23:04
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

To add to Medea: do you speak any of the Swiss official languages?



Just a thought - if I were you I'd edit out the date of birth from the original post. One can never be too careful.
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Old 23.11.2018, 23:44
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

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I am interested in seeking Swiss citizenship, ideally of course under the simplified naturalization process. Here is my background:

Mother: Swiss Citizen (now living abroad)
My Birth Location: Zurich (... irrelevant, no?)
My Birth Date: 1/1/1964
My status with respect to Switzerland: Non-citizen, mother never registered me after my birth --
Do you have a birth certificate from Zurich?

Some question:
Was your mother married at the time of your birth?
What was the citizenship of the husband at time of your birth?
What was your fathers citizenship at time of your birth?
Father and husband might be two different person. Who is listed as the father in the birth certificate?
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Old 24.11.2018, 10:32
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

When you say 'mother never registered me' - do you mean you have no birth certificate?

With the Windrush debâcle at the moment in the UK - it is apparent that so many parents did not go through the proper steps to register their children- because of poor advice, or no advice ... and it is causing a misery 60 years later. My OH had the schock of his life when he tried to get his first passport, aged 24, to come and visit me in Switzerland in 1970. The officials told him they could not issue him with a passport as he was South African. His parents had come to UK in 1947, to escape Apartheid, and he arrived in 1948- same year as Windrush, and has no memories whatsoever of not being British. He was very quickly naturalised and issued with a passport, in a couple of months. But he was so angry with his parents for not doing what was necessary at the time. We've often discussed recently how he could have been caught out now, had he not found out in time.
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Old 24.11.2018, 11:17
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

Quote:
When you say 'mother never registered me' - do you mean you have no birth certificate?
I thought of that too. But it's highly unlikely. He probably does have a Swiss birth certificate from Zürich and his birth was registered in Zürich. The issue in his case is that if he had a second citizenship and moved abroad, he would have had to register at the Swiss consulate and intent to keep his Swiss citizenship before the age of 22.

If he or his parents didn't do that, I still think he should be able to regain his citizenship. Maybe not through facilitated. I don't know.

I'm sure aSwissintheUS knows we (or he, ) just need(s) more information from the OP.
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Old 24.11.2018, 11:18
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

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Just a thought - if I were you I'd edit out the date of birth from the original post. One can never be too careful.
The OPs birth year is important in this case.
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Old 24.11.2018, 11:45
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

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The issue in his case is that if he had a second citizenship and moved abroad, he would have had to register at the Swiss consulate and intent to keep his Swiss citizenship before the age of 22.
That is only an issue if you were born abroad. So yes, the place of birth can important.
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Old 24.11.2018, 12:21
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

The birth location is not half as important as the Town of origin of mother, and father if he is on birth certificate.

My OH, our British daughters and grandchildren, are all registered at my Commune d'Origine, and have their Swiss nationality registered there and they are citizens of that village, in the Jura Canton (was still Bern when I was born and when we got married) - a long way away from where I was born, or indeed my parents. I've only been there once, a few years ago.

Last edited by Odile; 24.11.2018 at 12:35.
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Old 24.11.2018, 12:32
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

If the OP has a Swiss citizen mother and was born in CH, s/he would likely be a Swiss citizen from birth. See this page from the Organisation of Swiss Abroad:

https://www.aso.ch/en/consultation/l...iss-from-birth
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Old 24.11.2018, 12:33
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

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That is only an issue if you were born abroad. So yes, the place of birth can important.
If that is so and he was born in Switzerland, I don't understand why he is not a Swiss citizen, particularly if they said his mother never lost her Swiss citizenship?!

(I know you know the answer! )

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If the OP has a Swiss citizen mother and was born in CH, s/he would likely be a Swiss citizen from birth. See this page from the Organisation of Swiss Abroad:

https://www.aso.ch/en/consultation/l...iss-from-birth

Exactly what I thought.
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Old 24.11.2018, 12:54
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

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If that is so and he was born in Switzerland, I don't understand why he is not a Swiss citizen, particularly if they said his mother never lost her Swiss citizenship?!

(I know you know the answer! )
After digging through the old law https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...208/index.html, the new law https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...990/index.html, its ordinance https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...117/index.html and the old and new SEM handbook https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/de/home...rgerrecht.html ? Yes

The old handbook has fortunately a historic section were the most important changes over time are explained.

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If the OP has a Swiss citizen mother and was born in CH, s/he would likely be a Swiss citizen from birth. See this page from the Organisation of Swiss Abroad
Year of birth is 1964. It would be Swiss only if the child was born out of wedlock or the father was stateless. If the Swiss mother was married at time of birth she could not pass down the citizenship to the child. There was a period from 1985 to 1988 when such a child could claim its Swiss citizenship unconditionally. After this grace period it is now only possible through facilitated naturalization with some conditions.

That is exactly what Art. 51 para 1 is for. From my point of view Mr. Glauser is wrong when he says that the mother must have had lost its own Swiss citizenship at marriage before the birth of the child for Art. 51 para 1 to be applicable.

See also the explanation in the SEM handbooks to the old Art. 58a BüG (page 5) https://www.sem.admin.ch/dam/data/se...ueg-anh3-d.pdf
and especially to the new Art. 51 para 1 (page 27) https://www.sem.admin.ch/dam/data/se...g18-kap6-d.pdf were it explicitly says
Quote:
Article 51 para 1 BüG is therefore always applicable if the application is made by a foreign child who comes from the marriage of a Swiss woman to a foreigner and who would automatically have been granted Swiss citizenship at birth, if Article 1 para 1 lit a BüG had been valid at birth.
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Old 24.11.2018, 16:32
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Um, would need to see the original Swiss language version of that article since it doesn't specify in English that it's for children whose mothers lost their Swiss citizenship on marriage. The old version did specify that.

However, what will be of as much importance will be whether you have close tie to Switzerland or not. Do you have relatives here that you visit regularly? Have you made trips to the country? Belong to any local Swiss clubs?
[Aside: There have been a number of replies to my original message. I will address questions raised by each, in turn. Thanks.]

I just returned from a lovely trip to Switzerland in October to the Bernese Oberland, weather was fantastic. As part of that trip, I visited my cousin and his family. I have a swiss uncle and aunt, though I have not visited them in over 30 years. I plan to visit Switzerland again next year, then I expect to visit them. I don't feel documenting 'visit frequency' would be a barrier to facilitated naturalization.

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To add to Medea: do you speak any of the Swiss official languages?



Just a thought - if I were you I'd edit out the date of birth from the original post. One can never be too careful.
I speak a reasonable amount of german, and with some additional preparation believe that I'd pass an oral interview by a swiss immigration authority.

As for editing my post, I suppose I could just disclose the birth year in the interest of ensuring this discussion has just enough relevant facts in terms of assessing how the law applies in my scenario. Having said that, how the heck do I edit my original post?

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Do you have a birth certificate from Zurich?

Some question:
Was your mother married at the time of your birth?
What was the citizenship of the husband at time of your birth?
What was your fathers citizenship at time of your birth?
Father and husband might be two different person. Who is listed as the father in the birth certificate?
To points raised above: My mother was (and still is) married to my father (a U.S. citizen). My father is listed on my birth certificate, as issued by the American Consulate in Zurich.

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I thought of that too. But it's highly unlikely. He probably does have a Swiss birth certificate from Zürich and his birth was registered in Zürich. The issue in his case is that if he had a second citizenship and moved abroad, he would have had to register at the Swiss consulate and intent to keep his Swiss citizenship before the age of 22.

If he or his parents didn't do that, I still think he should be able to regain his citizenship. Maybe not through facilitated. I don't know.

I'm sure aSwissintheUS knows we (or he, ) just need(s) more information from the OP.
When you say "registered in Zurich", I assume you mean to ask: Did my mother register my birth with the swiss authorities? I'm quite certain she did not, as I'm sure she would have told me. The fact of my birth in Zurich is documented with the American Consulate in Zurich. I know the name of the hospital, perhaps a 'swiss' birth certificate could be unearthed if it was standard practice to issue certificates for anyone born in Switzerland, regardless of parentage, idk.

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Old 24.11.2018, 17:02
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

Can you not talk to your mother and get more info?

Do you know what your mother's 'Heimatsort is- eg the Gemeinde/village/town where her family originates from- which could be very different to Zurich. This is much much more important than the place of birth. See my comments above. This is where all the records for possibly centuries are kept for that family- births, deaths, and much more. It makes genealogy in Switzerland so so easy if you know the Heimatsort of your parents, in this case, your mother. It could be in a totally different area to where you were born- but there is a chance it could be Zurich too.

Can you ask her which it is? Then if you get in touch with the authorities at that place, they will tell you immediately if you are on the register- and then you could get a copy of your birth certificate.
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Old 24.11.2018, 17:07
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

A Swiss birth certificate can be ordered from the civil registry responsible for the location of birth. See this link (English):

https://www.ch.ch/en/birth-certificate/

You'll need to enter the Swiss postal code in the box in the last paragraph (8000 is Zurich).


Added:

Direct link to order birth certificate from City of Zurich:

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/prd/de/...eburtCIEC.html

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Old 24.11.2018, 18:35
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

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To points raised above: My mother was (and still is) married to my father (a U.S. citizen). My father is listed on my birth certificate, as issued by the American Consulate in Zurich.
Thank you for your information. In this case you would not be Swiss by birth. Because, as I said, Swiss citizenship could not passed from a married mother to its child back then. This is only fully possible with the change from 14 December 1984, and partially with the change from 25 June 1976.

Just two more question. Where was your mother born and how did
she became Swiss ? By marriage with a Swiss man, by decent from Swiss parents, by regular naturalization, or by facilitated naturalization?

Some things to do:

1. Get a Swiss birth certificate, see links by Mullhollander. Does not help much, but you will have at least an official Swiss document. You never know when it may become handy.

3. Check the definition of "enge Verbundenheit" in chapter 5, section 512 of the SEM handbook (page 5) https://www.sem.admin.ch/dam/data/se...g18-kap5-d.pdf

4. If you met this criteria reply to Mr. Glauser from the Swiss Consulate in SF, that you had a look into the actual law, the old and new SEM Handbook Bürgerrecht, as well the The Federal Council's dispatch from 4 March 2011 https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/federal-.../2011/2825.pdf there are no evident circumstances which would indicate that you had not gotten the Swiss citizenship has Art. 1 para 1 of the current law be in force at time of birth.

The law as it was in force 1964 did not allow passing of citizenship through maternal side. This was only fully possible with the change from 14 December 1984. With this change various accompanying transitional provisions allowed children of those mothers which could not pass down their citizenship to apply for Swiss citizenship in retrospect. Art. 51 para 1 is the legacy of this changes and transitional provision. Thus Art. 51 para 1 should be applicable. Specifically, as it mention "A foreign child whose mother had Swiss citizenship at time of birth.

Although the current SEM handbook mentions in chapter 6 section 651 "mother which has lost citizenship" this is neither necessary nor mentioned by the law, nor is it in the spirit of the transitional provision Art. 58a of the old law, and neither mentioned in the Federal Council's dispatch regarding the new law. On the contrary, the SEM handbooks last paragraph of section 651 cites directly from the dispatch: "Artikel 51 Absatz 1 BüG ist somit immer dann anwendbar, wenn das Gesuch von einem ausländischen Kind gestellt wird, das aus der Ehe einer Schweizerin mit einem Ausländer stammt und das bei seiner Geburt automatisch das Schweizer Bürgerrecht erhalten hätte, wenn Artikel 1 Absatz 1 Buchstabe a BüG bei seiner Geburt gültig gewesen wäre"

I kindly request to reconsider my application or to issue a final ruling against which could be formally objected.
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Old 24.11.2018, 18:50
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

My daugthers were born in the UK, or a British father and Swiss mother. I could not give them Swiss nationality in those days- 73 and 75- but applied immediately when the Law changed in 84, thank goodness. All registered at Commune d'Origine/Heimatsort - where my grandfather was born in the late 1800- and forebears since the mid 18C (Huguenots).
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Old 25.11.2018, 03:56
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A Swiss birth certificate can be ordered from the civil registry responsible for the location of birth. See this link (English):

https://www.ch.ch/en/birth-certificate/

You'll need to enter the Swiss postal code in the box in the last paragraph (8000 is Zurich).


Added:

Direct link to order birth certificate from City of Zurich:

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/prd/de/...eburtCIEC.html
Link to birth certificate order resource is much appreciated. While perhaps not decisive in my current scenario, I will nevertheless request for it and hope that it surfaces. More documentation, especially if sourced from swiss authorities, certainly can't hurt my case.

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Thank you for your information. In this case you would not be Swiss by birth. Because, as I said, Swiss citizenship could not passed from a married mother to its child back then. This is only fully possible with the change from 14 December 1984, and partially with the change from 25 June 1976.

Just two more question. Where was your mother born and how did
she became Swiss ? By marriage with a Swiss man, by decent from Swiss parents, by regular naturalization, or by facilitated naturalization?

Some things to do:

1. Get a Swiss birth certificate, see links by Mullhollander. Does not help much, but you will have at least an official Swiss document. You never know when it may become handy.

3. Check the definition of "enge Verbundenheit" in chapter 5, section 512 of the SEM handbook (page 5) https://www.sem.admin.ch/dam/data/se...g18-kap5-d.pdf

4. If you met this criteria reply to Mr. Glauser from the Swiss Consulate in SF, that you had a look into the actual law, the old and new SEM Handbook Bürgerrecht, as well the The Federal Council's dispatch from 4 March 2011 https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/federal-.../2011/2825.pdf there are no evident circumstances which would indicate that you had not gotten the Swiss citizenship has Art. 1 para 1 of the current law be in force at time of birth.

The law as it was in force 1964 did not allow passing of citizenship through maternal side. This was only fully possible with the change from 14 December 1984. With this change various accompanying transitional provisions allowed children of those mothers which could not pass down their citizenship to apply for Swiss citizenship in retrospect. Art. 51 para 1 is the legacy of this changes and transitional provision. Thus Art. 51 para 1 should be applicable. Specifically, as it mention "A foreign child whose mother had Swiss citizenship at time of birth.

Although the current SEM handbook mentions in chapter 6 section 651 "mother which has lost citizenship" this is neither necessary nor mentioned by the law, nor is it in the spirit of the transitional provision Art. 58a of the old law, and neither mentioned in the Federal Council's dispatch regarding the new law. On the contrary, the SEM handbooks last paragraph of section 651 cites directly from the dispatch: "Artikel 51 Absatz 1 BüG ist somit immer dann anwendbar, wenn das Gesuch von einem ausländischen Kind gestellt wird, das aus der Ehe einer Schweizerin mit einem Ausländer stammt und das bei seiner Geburt automatisch das Schweizer Bürgerrecht erhalten hätte, wenn Artikel 1 Absatz 1 Buchstabe a BüG bei seiner Geburt gültig gewesen wäre"

I kindly request to reconsider my application or to issue a final ruling against which could be formally objected.
Wow, 'SwissinUS', I much appreciate the documentation and advice you provided concerning my specific facts & circumstances. Allow me to address a few questions raised, and then I'll have some follow-up questions:

To the questions raised in your second paragraph, my mother was born in Ilanz, Canton Graubunden to swiss parents -- so I assume she became swiss by simple natural descent. Aside: as she is getting on in years, I have decided to commission a biography of her life story (including her upbringing in the Alps, of course) and later journey to the States, in order to preserve it for later generations. Copies to be provided to my swiss relatives and perhaps to the local library of her home town, Falera.

Now back to your recommendations. So you are suggesting that per current Swiss Law and related Ordinance(s) (SEM handbook?), I could legally pursue (not under protest) simplified naturalization per Article 51, paragraph 1 and assuming that I meet criteria as defined by "enge Verbundenheit"?

I'm somewhat surprised, then, that someone of the stature of Mr. Glauser (Consul General) was not aware of this, if that's the case. So I'm a bit intimidated at the prospect of calling him on this and his losing face, if you know what I mean. After all, it will be his consulate location where the oral interview would take place! But then, the swiss citizenship laws have apparently changed and evolved quite a bit since the year I was born! Understandable, when considered in that way. I will try to word my response diplomatically.

Regarding "SEM" (what exactly is that, in relation to Swiss Law? Simply administrative regulations?) section 651, on what page is the paragraph you cite displayed? As I could not locate it. Thanks:

"Artikel 51 Absatz 1 BüG ist somit immer dann anwendbar, wenn das Gesuch von einem ausländischen Kind gestellt wird, das aus der Ehe einer Schweizerin mit einem Ausländer stammt und das bei seiner Geburt automatisch das Schweizer Bürgerrecht erhalten hätte, wenn Artikel 1 Absatz 1 Buchstabe a BüG bei seiner Geburt gültig gewesen wäre"

Last edited by 3Wishes; 25.06.2020 at 13:27. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 25.11.2018, 19:43
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

State Secretariat for Migration SEM = The Federal Office for Migration.

And don't worry too much about querying the consul general. We've found over the years that many officials don't know the laws at all or understand them imperfectly.
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Old 26.11.2018, 10:26
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Re: Swiss mother: path to my naturalization?

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I'm somewhat surprised, then, that someone of the stature of Mr. Glauser (Consul General) was not aware of this, if that's the case.
According to the official registry Mr Glauser is head of the consular services whereas one Mr Wüest is Consul General.
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