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Old 11.07.2020, 17:06
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B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

Entered CH in 2016 with B permit via Family reunification. Wife is natural born Swiss citizen. I've reapplied for the B permit every year and received it without issue.

This year, sent in the renewal back in February, and then COVID-19 happened and I'm still without my physical permit. A few weeks back, the township informed us that they were considering me for a C permit, instead. Today, we received another letter asking for some more documents for the C permit (no problem).

What perplexes my wife and I is that I have not taken or completed nor submitted any proof of *any* language tests. I've completed A1, but only through Scuola Migros, and never submitted the documents (nor ever asked).

A few things about our situation - my daughter (also B permit, 9 years old) is in the process of being adopted formally by my wife (final stages). I also own and operate a company within my township.

We're curious to know if this is either a mistake, or perhaps the reasons above are reasons for the township to support a C permit? We never asked for C, and from what we found out, it's not up to us which permit type is issued - so with such a strict requirement of higher language knowledge (and subsequent proof), why would I be upgraded without meeting those requirements?

....or is the other shoe about to drop in a follow up letter requesting proof of language? From my understanding, the new requirements for language for even B permit holders wouldn't apply to me because I received my initial B permit before the new requirements were implemented.

((Before anyone asks, I'm having a difficult time learning the language. I've taken the classes, and I'm surrounded by it, and while I understand most things said to me, it's difficult for me to respond. I'm also busy working two jobs nearly 12-15 hours a day - so my time for learning language is limited.))
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Old 11.07.2020, 17:34
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

As a spouse of a Swiss citizen you not only have the right to a C permit after 5 years of marriage but the authorities must systematically examine when your 5 years are up to grant it to you. You are not allowed to refuse the C permit either.

Every other case of a C permit must come in the form of a formal request by the applicant (i.e. authorities will not automatically process a request if not specifically submitted by the applicant, even for countries with a settlement agreement).

Don't worry you are not being treated any more favorably than any other spouse of a Swiss citizen

Last edited by qwertz; 11.07.2020 at 17:57.
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Old 11.07.2020, 17:39
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

Thanks for the reply! It's just odd, but we were married in 2016, and so it hasn't been exactly 5 years yet. Next year is five years - so why is it coming this year (early)?
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Old 11.07.2020, 17:48
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

In February you sent in your 3rd or 4th renewal request for your B permit (not counting the first time grant)?
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Old 11.07.2020, 17:52
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

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In February you sent in your 3rd or 4th renewal request for your B permit (not counting the first time grant)?
3rd.
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Old 11.07.2020, 17:56
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

Are you a citizen of one the below countries and were you in Switzerland before your marriage in 2016?

Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Portugal
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Old 11.07.2020, 18:01
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

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Are you a citizen of one the below countries and were you in Switzerland before your marriage in 2016?

Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Portugal
United States.


Another thing that popped up - is having a C permit also require me to do military service? I'm 31.
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Old 11.07.2020, 18:06
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

Then I believe it may be a mistake.

No military service for C permit holders, however if you naturalize as Swiss before the age of 37 you must pay =MIN(11; 37 - your age when you naturalize) years worth of 3% * your taxable income (unless you sign up voluntarily to serve which is now allowed for over 30 year-olds upon request). If you have no income, then its 400 CHF per year.
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Old 11.07.2020, 18:09
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

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Then I believe it may be a mistake.

No military service for C permit holders, however if you naturalize as Swiss you must pay =MIN(11; 37 - your age when you naturalize) years worth of 3% * your taxable income (unless you sign up voluntarily to serve which is now allowed for over 30 year-olds upon request)
I guess three things could happen; 1) they issue a C permit despite the mistake, or 2) once it gets to Bern, bern catches the mistake and the whole application process restarts, or 3) once it gets to Bern, bern catches the mistake and issues a B instead.

Should be interesting. I'm pretty sure this isn't a mistake on our end, but if issued, I would NOT complain
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Old 11.07.2020, 18:42
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

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As a spouse of a Swiss citizen you not only have the right to a C permit after 5 years of marriage but the authorities must systematically examine when your 5 years are up to grant it to you. You are not allowed to refuse the C permit either.

Every other case of a C permit must come in the form of a formal request by the applicant (i.e. authorities will not automatically process a request if not specifically submitted by the applicant, even for countries with a settlement agreement).

Don't worry you are not being treated any more favorably than any other spouse of a Swiss citizen
I've never heard of this. I'm married to a natural born Swiss citizen and I had to specifically request the C. It was not automatic and it was certainly not implied I have a "right" to it. They sent the B renewal first, I wrote on it in German that I want C, and then the request for additional paperwork came. I had to submit that paperwork - debt register extract, proof of no social help, etc. or I would not have received the C. It would have been another B.

That was for Canton Bern. Other cantons (Neuchatel comes to mind) seem to automatically issue C to folks who are eligible after 5 years, whether it's requested or not, and even if not married to a Swiss citizen.

OP, just see where it goes and what paperwork they want. Maybe they figure you're halfway through your 4th year already so they might as well start working on the C for 6 months from now.

Also if you ultimately want to naturalize, do what you can to work on the language, whenever and wherever possible. Think of phrases you might be asked in an interview, and learn what they are and how you could respond.
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Old 12.07.2020, 10:08
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

What I am saying is as a spouse of a Swiss/C permit holder if you would not have requested the C, they would have automatically considered you for one (which involves submitting all the docs) and you could not have refused this for personal convenience according to the latest federal guidance.

For non Swiss/C permit holder spouses, under the new rules from 01.01.2019 simply writing on the B renweal form you would like a C does not suffice as a formal request.
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Old 13.07.2020, 13:39
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

Update about all of this. We contacted the Ticino immigration office regarding this, because something is most clearly messed up. Buckle your seatbelts..

According to their records, I entered Switzerland in 2011.

I did not enter Switzerland 2011. 2016.

They said, "well, that's what's in our systems ¯\_(ツ)_/¯..." (emoji emphasis mine)

We said, listen, please, we have documentation showing this. We have marriage preparation documents. We have the family reunification permit documents for my daughter, this is not right, we don't want to pay CHF150 per permit to have this messed up. (We've already paid this)

"This is how it is. If there's a mistake, its not our job to catch it, and if a mistake has occurred, you will be charged, and have to resubmit the process."

Meanwhile, both my and my daughters B permits expired two months ago. My daughter's permit is family reunification based on my own, so she can't get hers until I get mine - despite her soon getting a passport and citizenship because of the adoption.

The immigration office told us they sent me an "e-mail in April asking for more documents", which we never received. I checked my e-mail server raw logs and there's absolutely no record of such an e-mail, and the immigration office will not give us proof from their server logs, and are also charging us an additional CHF20 due to the lateness of our documents due to not receiving the e-mail.

We've requested them to send us an e-mail detailing all of this for the record. I'm completely flabbergasted at this.
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Old 13.07.2020, 14:20
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

this mess with the emails sent but not received by you could be easily fixed. You just simply tells them to forward you the initial mail. It's mid-July, so since April is not that far away.
The email could also be restored if they deleted in their mailbox.
Moreover, that time was the spike of Corona so many could have been simply confused with the time of home-schooling, home-office and so on.
Just ask them to resend you the initial mail, if they want to do this, of course!
Good luck!
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Old 09.08.2020, 17:26
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

Hi all,

My wife and I are also looking to upgrade to a C permit (I have a French passport; she's American; we've been here 5 years and she has an A2 German certificate; we live in Zurich city).

My question: When you go to the Kreisbüro to submit all the documents, do they keep your current B permits while the renewal/upgrade goes through? Our permits don't expire until late September, so they are still valid.

Asking because we need to take a short trip across the Austrian border, and for my wife and her US passport, not having a physical Schengen residence permit in hand isn't technically correct. We're trying to see if it makes sense to start the permit renewal/upgrade process before that trip or not.

Thanks!
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Old 09.08.2020, 17:34
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

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Hi all,

My wife and I are also looking to upgrade to a C permit (I have a French passport; she's American; we've been here 5 years and she has an A2 German certificate; we live in Zurich city).

My question: When you go to the Kreisbüro to submit all the documents, do they keep your current B permits while the renewal/upgrade goes through? Our permits don't expire until late September, so they are still valid.

Asking because we need to take a short trip across the Austrian border, and for my wife and her US passport, not having a physical Schengen residence permit in hand isn't technically correct. We're trying to see if it makes sense to start the permit renewal/upgrade process before that trip or not.

Thanks!
Yes they keep you permit when you renew, so she will be without for a while. You can get a document/letter to say that the permit is under renewal to allow her to travel.
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Old 10.08.2020, 00:30
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

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Yes they keep you permit when you renew, so she will be without for a while. You can get a document/letter to say that the permit is under renewal to allow her to travel.
No in Zürich (city) they don't.
I still have every single one of my old permit cards. Generally this depends on the canton (of course ), maybe even on the commune (I think there's a suburb of Zürich where they take your old permit during renewal but not 100% sure).
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Old 14.08.2020, 06:20
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

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Yes they keep you permit when you renew, so she will be without for a while. You can get a document/letter to say that the permit is under renewal to allow her to travel.
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No in Zürich (city) they don't.
I still have every single one of my old permit cards. Generally this depends on the canton (of course ), maybe even on the commune (I think there's a suburb of Zürich where they take your old permit during renewal but not 100% sure).
I'm in Canton Zurich, outside Zurich City, and also have all of my old permit cards. The first renewal happened while I lived in Zurich City, and I have the old permit from that time as well.
So, no, they didn't take my old permits or even ask for them.
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Old 14.08.2020, 07:31
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

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I'm in Canton Zurich, outside Zurich City, and also have all of my old permit cards. The first renewal happened while I lived in Zurich City, and I have the old permit from that time as well.
So, no, they didn't take my old permits or even ask for them.
Interesting. Mine were always taken from me when renewing (Bern & Wallis, paper EU) I wonder if this is a difference between Cantons or EU/NonEU?
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Old 14.08.2020, 14:44
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

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Interesting. Mine were always taken from me when renewing (Bern & Wallis, paper EU) I wonder if this is a difference between Cantons or EU/NonEU?
Most probably between the migrationsamts of various cantons.
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Old 19.08.2020, 20:53
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Re: B permit renewal - upgrade to C?

Thanks for the replies. In the end we played it safe and waited until after the trip to renew.

I can confirm that Zurich (city, Kreis 9) didn't keep our current permits, they just photocopied them. I have to go to the Migrationsamt to get my biometric data into the system for the C permit (as my French passport allowed me not to need to do that for the B permit), but otherwise should be all set.
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