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Old 25.08.2020, 14:59
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Citizenship with criminal record

Hi, looking for some advice please.

I am a UK citizen but am interested in relocating to Switzerland with a view to eventually become a citizen.

However I have a drink driving offence from 6 years ago.

How strict are the Government on not allowing citizenship due to a criminal record? Is it just a straight no or do they consider each case?

Many thanks
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Old 25.08.2020, 15:43
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Re: Citizenship with criminal record

how much money you got?
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Old 25.08.2020, 15:50
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Re: Citizenship with criminal record

It's complicated.
There's a list of Swiss offence types that certainly prevent naturalization (starting with a jail sentence of 90 days and more or an equivalent criminal fine (Geldstrafe), no matter conditional or not, unconditional jail/Geldstrafe for less than 90 days and conditional under 90 days if you break the conditions). They will prevent naturalization at least until they are removed from the "authorities" version of the criminal record, which is 10-20 years after you pay the fine or do your time depending on the seriousness of the offence.
Lesser criminal offences than those may or may not hinder naturalization, it will be decided by the authorities depending on other personal factors of yours.
The offiicial handbook (321/11, Art. 4.4 BüV) explicitly says that foreign criminal records are treated the same as Swiss ones but there's the obvious complication of how your UK drunk driving offence and the sentence for it maps onto the Swiss offence/sanction taxonomy. I doubt anyone but an international UK/CH lawyer can answer this question.
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Old 25.08.2020, 15:52
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Re: Citizenship with criminal record

As far as I know it's only for offences you've committed whilst resident here that are potentially issues.
I think there are many other hurdles more significant than an old conviction if you want to come over here. Best of luck.

Last edited by Ato; 25.08.2020 at 15:53. Reason: I might be wrong from nothing special above.
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Old 25.08.2020, 16:43
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Re: Citizenship with criminal record

I believe a drink driving conviction, so long as you did not kill or injure anyone, is spent after 5 years in the UK. I'd suggest asking for a criminal record check which can be applied for online or via the Post Office. It's not very expensive and it will show any current convictions that are unspent.
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Old 25.08.2020, 16:56
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Re: Citizenship with criminal record

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I believe a drink driving conviction, so long as you did not kill or injure anyone, is spent after 5 years in the UK.
I think you're right, and I think that even if there were death or injury it would be the same time limit. Easiest thing is for the OP to simply request the Criminal Records check at https://www.gov.uk/request-copy-criminal-record. If it's not listed then the Swiss will never know about it.
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Old 25.08.2020, 16:58
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Re: Citizenship with criminal record

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I think you're right. Easiest thing is for the OP to simply request the Criminal Records check at https://www.gov.uk/request-copy-criminal-record. If it's not listed then the Swiss will never know about it.
Surely in another ten years, it would certainly be gone?
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Old 25.08.2020, 17:14
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Re: Citizenship with criminal record

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Hi, looking for some advice please.

I am a UK citizen but am interested in relocating to Switzerland with a view to eventually become a citizen.

However I have a drink driving offence from 6 years ago.

How strict are the Government on not allowing citizenship due to a criminal record? Is it just a straight no or do they consider each case?

Many thanks

Depends where in Switzerland you end up applying for citizenship. The authorities in Valais (and maybe Graubünden) may be reluctant to grant citizenship to anyone without a drink driving conviction.
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Old 25.08.2020, 17:17
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Re: Citizenship with criminal record

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Depends where in Switzerland you end up applying for citizenship. The authorities in Valais (and maybe Graubünden) may be reluctant to grant citizenship to anyone without a drink driving conviction.
Hahaha! Quite possibly true.
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Old 25.08.2020, 17:22
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Re: Citizenship with criminal record

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Depends where in Switzerland you end up applying for citizenship. The authorities in Valais (and maybe Graubünden) may be reluctant to grant citizenship to anyone without a drink driving conviction.
only applies to farmers
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Old 27.08.2020, 12:47
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Re: Citizenship with criminal record

Thank you so much everyone! This provides me with a lot of reassurance

Yes it is currently spent in the UK so I didn’t realise that it wouldn’t show up on the uk police record. That’s great
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