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Old 17.01.2019, 16:13
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My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

I have lived in Switzerland for many years. Originally came for 6 months and the rest of the 25 years is now history.

I notice in the forum there are some articles related to naturalization. Th experiences seem to differ widely so I will simply add my experience as a possible exemplar of how things currently are.

I applied for Facilitated (via marriage) Naturalization in Kanton Schaffhausen. At the time of application I had held a "C" permit for about 18 years and had lived in SH (and had been married to a Swiss national) for just over 3 years. I applied 1Q 2017.

Very soon after, within a few weeks, Bern requested many original copies of many documents, some from the UK and some from Switzerland. The Swiss forms were produced very quickly so within a month of receiving their document request my, I had everything Bern needed and sent it all off.

All goes quiet for just over a month and then am contacted by SH Police to attend my formal interview. I think this is the part of blog most people will be interested in.

I turned up at the police station on time (of an evening), but first I did partake of some dutch courage to calm the nerves. Everything was in German and for sure if you could not hold your own at a basic conversational level in German then it would have been a very short interview.

The policeman was a good guy, thorough and fair. He asked at the beginning should he speak High German or should he use the local SH dialect. I had lived for over 20 years in Zürich so asked (as a joke) if we could speak in the ZH dialect. He laughed and declined. So I opted for SH Deutsch and hoped for the best. I think it is best to opt for the local dialect. You lose no points at all for not being able to speak the local dialect and even if you have difficulty in understanding it, I got the impression he would have taken off some of the dialect if he thought I was struggling. As I say, a fair guy with a fair view.

We chatted about quite a lot of stuff. Nothing was asked about Kantonial or National history, traditions, geography etc. basically he was interested to who I was as a person and my motivations for becoming Swiss. I was actually a bit annoyed about the lack of "Swiss" questions as I actually knew a fair bit about Switzerland and, like everybody else, had done a fair bit of homework too .

The overriding element of the interview from my experience is to simply be honest. Do not try and create an image of who you want the interviewer to think you are. Disagree with the interviewer if you feel so inclined and put your point of view across. Being able to express your view I sensed was important. Oh, I was asked did I have a formal German language qualification and I did not. However from example tests on the internet I said I was absolutely minimum B1 and was 90% B2.

After the interview then the big begins. Everything goes into a black hole and I heard nothing for about 9 months.

I then received a letter asking me to show evidence that my Wife and I had been and still were in a genuine marriage. I was also asked to tell them anything I had done/do to show I am integrated into Swiss society. Marriage proof was in the form of a zillion photos of holidays, plus associated flight and hotel booking confirmations which showed my Wife and I had traveled continuously, as a couple, since we were married. This was easy as we travel a lot and have loads of photos. The second request for proof if integration cam from my side in the form of references for a club I was in, a center I help out at, and photos of my Schrebergarten. I work in Zurich so with travel to and from the office, I personally do not have many free hours Mon - Fri so I did worry they may have been disappointed at my examples of integration, but once again, be honest and just tell them what you do. I did mention my long work days during my interview so it was on file that there was not much time for much more in my life just now.

Sent all the "proof" off, then waited again. 2 months later I then received a very formal form requiring me to answer questions relating to whether I had ever had undertaken anything which broke Swiss law and whether there were currently outstanding criminal proceedings against me. What I would say here is that if you have ever had any formal dealings with the Police, simply go to the police station and ask them how you should answer the specific questions. Speak directly to any police officer you may have had dealings with ans ask them personally. Basically, be honest but ask advice if you have ever had Police matters.

Sent off the form then waited about 2 months and received a letter saying that everything was positive and that I must wait, up to 2 months, for the Kantons I am associated with (where I had lived in the past 5 years and Kantons (Heimatorten) associated with my Wife) to possibly raise an objection.

Within 6 weeks I was informed that no objections has been raised and I was now formally Swiss. It then takes about a week or so for my new Heimatorten to acknowledge they have been informed that I am now on their registers. Once I had this form, I could simply apply for an ID card and a passport, both of which took place within 3 days.

Basically the process is a bit lengthy, but is thorough and fair. Do learn the language of your Kanton, in particular listen to radio etc from your local area so as to get your ear tuned to the dialect. Do learn how to speak the "high" version of the local language.

Above all "be honest" and be yourself.
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Old 17.01.2019, 16:31
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

This is for a facilitated naturalisation?

Mine was in Zurich and it took less than 3 months start to finish, a bit of form filling, a few personal docs (birth cert, marriage cert and passport) and a random unannounced 20 min visit to our place from a couple of local plod to whom we served coffee and chatted (in German) about the UK.

Next thing I know, we got a confirmation in the registered post and had to pay an eye-watering fee directly to the postie and that was it. Boom - Swiss.
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Old 17.01.2019, 16:54
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

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This is for a facilitated naturalisation?

Mine was in Zurich and it took less than 3 months start to finish, a bit of form filling, a few personal docs (birth cert, marriage cert and passport) and a random unannounced 20 min visit to our place from a couple of local plod to whom we served coffee and chatted (in German) about the UK.

Next thing I know, we got a confirmation in the registered post and had to pay an eye-watering fee directly to the postie and that was it. Boom - Swiss.



But that was a while ago i guess, since the rules have been changed substantially recently.
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Old 17.01.2019, 16:55
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

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But that was a while ago i guess, since the rules have been changed substantially recently.
Less than 3 years.
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Old 18.01.2019, 09:18
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

I think you are the proverbial exception to the (1010) Swiss Rule(s).

Know 3 people in Zürich who have undertaken the facilitated route and fastest anyone has done it is precisely 1 year. The log-jam is Bern and not the Kanton so do not understand how you expedited your route through Bern.
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Old 18.01.2019, 10:10
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

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I think you are the proverbial exception to the (1010) Swiss Rule(s).

Know 3 people in Zürich who have undertaken the facilitated route and fastest anyone has done it is precisely 1 year. The log-jam is Bern and not the Kanton so do not understand how you expedited your route through Bern.
I guess it's down to the person and how busy the authorities are at the time. I know Zurich is very busy with applications but they are pretty efficient. I know quite a few people who have become Swiss both through the facilitated and non-facilitated route. Even those I know who went through the non-facilitated route took less than a year.

The epic essay you posted above is way, way more than I had to go through. All the deliberating about SH or ZH dialects, for example. Jeezus

All the "zillions of photos" and travel receipts of proof that you are together with your wife sounds a bit Kafka-esque, not to mention the proof of joining clubs as integration. Did they actually request all that or did you just send everything you had and hope for the best?

Actually your "facilitated" route sounds more like a standard "non-facilitated" application in Zurich.

For me it just was minimal fuss and really quite easy (apart from the cost, obvs). Maybe I'm just a delight to the Swiss...
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Old 18.01.2019, 10:51
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

From what I was told and subsequently heard from those who have gone through the facilitated route, what I encountered was standard. Even the time frame of 1 year to 18 months was consistent.

As for the photos end holiday proof, this was requested in the letter from Bern.

What you went through is more like the "ordinary" approach, ie Kanton specific expedition. Even the letter we received from Bern once I had sent the original traunch of documents stated I should not worry if I here nothing for maybe a year.

So 3 months from your side via Bern for facilitated must be a record of some kind.
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Old 18.01.2019, 10:53
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

The Facilitated route is driven totally from Bern, in fact the Kanton can only lodge a "complaint". Bern drives everything and as such is Kanton independent. All decision making is done in Bern so the "Zürich" component, from what I understand, should be almost academic to the overall process and time frame.
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Old 18.01.2019, 11:01
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

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From what I was told and subsequently heard from those who have gone through the facilitated route, what I encountered was standard. Even the time frame of 1 year to 18 months was consistent.

As for the photos end holiday proof, this was requested in the letter from Bern.

What you went through is more like the "ordinary" approach, ie Kanton specific expedition. Even the letter we received from Bern once I had sent the original traunch of documents stated I should not worry if I here nothing for maybe a year.

So 3 months from your side via Bern for facilitated must be a record of some kind.
To be fair, my letter said the "expected" time would be up to 12 months but it just went quicker for some reason. At the time I wasn't particularly surprised because other friends had similar experiences of much shorter times than was indicated on the letter, so I just thought 'meh, they put in a generous lead time for when they're busy'. Yours is the first time I heard of it taking such a long time not to mention all the mind-numbing hoop-jumping they seem to have put you through.

Can't get over the "zillions of holiday photos" and "his n' hers flight tickets and hotel reservations" thing. That's fabulously funny...
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Old 18.01.2019, 11:02
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

Changed a lot in the 15 or so years since I did it then. All it took then was a quick trip to the local town hall ("Yes, I want to become Swiss"), a 2 minute phone chat with the local police (turned out he knew my wife), no documents that I can remember (they had copies of the birth and marriage certs from years back) and about 9 months.
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Old 08.02.2019, 17:03
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

I am also going through the facilitated naturalization process and have seen some changes from what I have read from earlier years.

My case: Married to a Swiss, meet all the requirements for Facilitated Naturalization, and applying from Zurich city.

I applied in July,2018 directly at the SEM. I was asked for 10 different documents right at the beginning and had to pay a bill of 900Chf.

Sometime in October 2018, I got a mail from the SEM that they also needed the last 5 years Betreibungsregisterauszug document of my wife
They could have asked that in first list of documents.

Anyhow, they wrote that once they receive this document from me, they will inform the Gemeinde to proceed further. I sent the documents after 2 weeks.

End of December 2018 I got a letter from the GemeindeAmt, Kanton Zurich for a personal interview (gespräch for the facilitated naturalization) on Feb 5, 2019. The letter came with a booklet of around 30 pages, with information about Swiss politics, history, culture etc etc. The letter stated that I will be asked some questions regarding Switzerland from the booklet during the interview.

My interview was at the Stadthaus. The person conducting the interview was super friendly. First couple of questions were open questions like "Why do you want to become Swiss" and "if I have Swiss friends and from where".
After that there were around 40-50 questions. The answers to all of these questions where inside that 30 page booklet. All the questions had a one word answer or a yes/no answer. The whole interview was complete in less than 20 minutes. If you did read through the document, its a piece of cake.

After the process was over I asked the interviewer if there would be any Police visit. She said they only have these invited interviews now instead of the Police interviews. She also said that the Gemeinde part is done.
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Old 11.02.2019, 09:32
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

Yep, this is sort of what happened to me but the interview came first for me. Lots of requirements from SEM for documentation, then more documentation, ..

Looks like your process will be close to a year when it is finally all through which is what I expected from my side.

Somewhere in the thread somebody had everything done in 3 - 4 months which I still find something of a miracle.
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Old 12.02.2019, 10:02
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

My process was somewhere in between SandGrounder and ScouserSH. This was in 2017 in Kanton Zurich and took around 9 months.

I had the police turn up at 7am on a Wednesday morning for my interview, and only about 2 months after my initial application so I was unprepared (and not even awake...).

I find it really bizarre that ScouserSH had to send family photos. One thing I learnt was that even though facilitated naturalisation is driven by Bern, each Gemeinde does their own thing. So unless you know someone in the same Gemeinde that you are applying through then most advice won't help that much.
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Old 13.04.2019, 17:08
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

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I am also going through the facilitated naturalization process and have seen some changes from what I have read from earlier years.

My case: Married to a Swiss, meet all the requirements for Facilitated Naturalization, and applying from Zurich city.

I applied in July,2018 directly at the SEM. I was asked for 10 different documents right at the beginning and had to pay a bill of 900Chf.

Sometime in October 2018, I got a mail from the SEM that they also needed the last 5 years Betreibungsregisterauszug document of my wife
They could have asked that in first list of documents.

Anyhow, they wrote that once they receive this document from me, they will inform the Gemeinde to proceed further. I sent the documents after 2 weeks.

End of December 2018 I got a letter from the GemeindeAmt, Kanton Zurich for a personal interview (gespräch for the facilitated naturalization) on Feb 5, 2019. The letter came with a booklet of around 30 pages, with information about Swiss politics, history, culture etc etc. The letter stated that I will be asked some questions regarding Switzerland from the booklet during the interview.

My interview was at the Stadthaus. The person conducting the interview was super friendly. First couple of questions were open questions like "Why do you want to become Swiss" and "if I have Swiss friends and from where".
After that there were around 40-50 questions. The answers to all of these questions where inside that 30 page booklet. All the questions had a one word answer or a yes/no answer. The whole interview was complete in less than 20 minutes. If you did read through the document, its a piece of cake.

After the process was over I asked the interviewer if there would be any Police visit. She said they only have these invited interviews now instead of the Police interviews. She also said that the Gemeinde part is done.
Hi DanLF,
I am interested in hearing more from your interview at Stadthaus. Do you remember some of the questions? Did the city official speak high German or Swiss German?

Thank you!
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Old 13.04.2019, 17:27
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

I meant "Chetan". Sorry
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Old 15.04.2019, 10:23
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

Hi Zurizuri,

The interviewer spoke High German. As I said before, the questions were all answerable if you read the 30 page booklet.

There were around 10 simple questions from each of the areas, politics, geography, culture + history, rights and freedom(freiheit).

Example questions.
Politics
1. How many Bundesrat
2. Who makes sure that the Bundesrat carries out their work in a legal way.
3. How many signatures do you need to start an initiative/referendum

Geography:
1. Which tunnel do you pass through when coming from Ticino
2. Name 5 lakes

Culture + History:
1. Who was Wilhelm Tell
2. What were the 3 founding Cantons of Switzerland

Rights and Freedom: I had around 20 questions on religious freedom, gender equality, political freedom.
1. Can a person have different religion than their spouse after marriage?
2. What kind of political rights does a Swiss person have?
3. Should a Swiss woman earn less salary than a Swiss man for the exact same post and position?
4. Can a Swiss person prohibit their kids to go into swimming pools because of religious reasons? (Something along these lines, don't remember the exact wording)


Hope this helps you.

BTW: Last week I received my provisional approval from SEM. This was quick after the interview and I was only expecting it to come in another 2-3 months. The same approval letter has been sent to Heimatort and Wohngemeinde and they have 30 days to raise any objection. After the minimum 30 days and in less than 3 months from now, I should get the final confirmation.
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Old 16.04.2019, 10:29
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

Chetan, Thanks a lot.
All the best for your final final stage of your journey.
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Old 30.04.2019, 12:54
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

Hi Chetan,
A question:
Do you know if after the application is submitted, if change of Cantons is allowed?
If it is even allowed, does it effect the application process or decision making?

thanks in advance
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Old 30.04.2019, 13:41
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

If it's facilitated, the canton/commune is irrelevant.

Tom
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Old 01.05.2019, 13:58
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Re: My Facilitated Naturalization application experience

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Hi Chetan,
A question:
Do you know if after the application is submitted, if change of Cantons is allowed?
If it is even allowed, does it effect the application process or decision making?

thanks in advance
I do not know if it is allowed without having consequences to the application process, best is to ask the SEM or your current Gemeinde.

Although the Canton is not involved in the decision making, the SEM asks them to make a report about your integration. There will definitely be a delay in the whole process if you change Cantons.
The question is, who makes this report now? The old Canton or the new one? Did SEM already send the request to the old Canton to start the process?
You would have no clue about this, because there is usually no communication to you about this from SEM.
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