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Old 15.01.2021, 10:19
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Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

Hello!

I am new to posting, but have found many of the threads here extremely helpful!

I am a US citizen living in the US and married to a Swiss citizen. We have been married 6 years, going on 7, and we travel to Switzerland once a year. I speak conversational French, but it is often times not grammatically correct, but I would say I understand quite fluently and can get by reasonably well as my in-laws and extended family do not speak any English! We have 2 young children, who have their Swiss passports already, and we hope to get mine so that we can all eventually move and live in Switzerland.

I applied for my citizenship in July 2020, but just received word last week that they would like to conduct my interview in a few weeks! So, I am slightly panicked and very nervous!

I have been studying any and everything that I can, but would love any insight or tips from anyone else who has done their citizenship interview outside of Switzerland. What type of questions did you have? Did they ask any Canton specific questions? How strict were they on the language requirement? In my interview letter, they stated the interview would be conducted in French, but I could answer in English if needed.

Also, has anyone in a similar situation been denied their citizenship? Based on what I've read it seems that the Facilitated Naturalization process should be quite standard as long as you show close ties with Switzerland, but I'm quite nervous about the language requirement and testing. I've read the stories of people being denied in Switzerland, but I haven't heard much from those applying from abroad.

Sorry for the long winded post!! Any insight would be so, so appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 15.01.2021, 11:24
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

Know and understand the federal political system. Helpful to know the names and portfolios of the seven gnomes.

Know and understand the Cantonal political system and names of it’s gnomes. Remember, you are not becoming Swiss, you are becoming a citizen of your commune and Canton of origin.

Geography. Can you name the 26 Cantons? Identify the 1/2 cantons, although they don’t call them that any more. The highest point (trick question, not the highest mountain); the largest lake wholly within Switzerland; neighbouring countries? What is the Röstigrabend?

They will likely ask you why you want to become Swiss, be prepared.

Each Canton has information on their websites about the interview and possible questions.
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Old 15.01.2021, 14:18
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

Not sure if you get access to the RTS replays from abroad but look for the "La fabrique des Suisses" documentary series that was aired recently
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Old 15.01.2021, 19:49
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

I spoke only English and the interviewer only German. I gave her the choice of either German or French, and she was impressed that I could understand both very well, while she could only speak German.

The questions as mentioned by bowlie - plus the current acting pres, and definitely some history and some economic issues (EU, etc).

Know, and especially accept, that once you take pass this test, it will take about a year or so (1.5) of processing, time when no one will tell you anything about where in the process your application is, and don't bother with calling. It's like the black hole. Just trust the system, it works.
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Old 15.01.2021, 22:29
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

Since the new citizenship law came into force, they've standardised the questions to be asked, at least here in the French region. See here the link to Canton Vaud questions, one with answers, other not.

https://www.vd.ch/themes/population/...aturalisation/

Now, caveat is, don't know if they use the same standard questions for facilitated and also for those abroad. But at least it gives an idea. Under normal naturalisation in VD before new law came into force there were indeed some canton specific questions. If VD is not the canton of your spouse, check the naturalisation page of the relevant canton and they should have the same info.
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Old 17.01.2021, 22:15
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

I know the original poster was french speaking, but here is an example of how Kt Luzern treats the process. Might help others that are German speaking to get an idea.

https://gemeinden.lu.ch/Einbuergerun..._einbuergerung

Link to the 100 questions PDF for Luzern:
https://gemeinden.lu.ch/-/media/Geme...n.pdf?la=de-CH

This is definitely the process for those living in Kanton Luzern, again like the earlier poster, don't know if it applies to those living outside Switzerland.
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Old 17.01.2021, 23:50
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

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Know and understand the federal political system. Helpful to know the names and portfolios of the seven gnomes.

Know and understand the Cantonal political system and names of it’s gnomes.
I agree with the being familiar with the federal system. But does anyone have any evidence of Naturalization Interviews abroad requiring knowledge of Cantonal politics? That's the first I've heard of that in scouring these boards.
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Old 17.01.2021, 23:51
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

OP — where is your interview in the US? Which Consulate?
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Old 18.01.2021, 07:55
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

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I agree with the being familiar with the federal system. But does anyone have any evidence of Naturalization Interviews abroad requiring knowledge of Cantonal politics? That's the first I've heard of that in scouring these boards.
Not Cantonal politics but the system.
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Old 18.01.2021, 09:12
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

I know of two people who had their interviews abroad. It sounded like their interviews were fairly comprehensive and detailed. Neither were given any reading material beforehand, so they had to do a lot of research on their own. The interviews were also conducted in German to test their language skills.
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Old 18.01.2021, 09:58
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

Hello! Thank you to all that have replied as it has all been extremely helpful! My interview will be at the San Francisco consulate, and they did send me a list of websites to reference but there was no mention of any cantonal politics. My husband is from Canton Vaud, so I am using their questionnaire as a study guide. I also did watch the RTS documentary mentioned below and I found it really fascinating. My stress level is still quite high, but it did help to see the process in such detail!

I also intend to answer as much as possible in French, but I am by no means a fluent French speaker. However, I’m hoping my trying to do so shows my intent and drive to become a Suissesse!
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Old 18.01.2021, 10:43
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

The Vaud political system is similar to the federal system. It wouldn’t hurt to be aware of it.
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  #13  
Old 18.01.2021, 11:00
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

This may help:
https://youtu.be/9Dq0hthDBdg?t=4

Part one of 4 part series.
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Old 03.02.2021, 01:55
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

Hello everyone! I just had my interview, and I thought I would update this post with my experience!

So, my husband and I had the interview at the consulate in San Francisco, and it was conducted in French. The interviewer did at times help to rephrase questions or even said 1 or 2 questions in English if I was misinterpreting the question which was incredibly helpful. I answered completely in my spotty French, which she seemed to be quite happy with actually. She confirmed that she was not responsible for any determination, but that it was her job to essentially transcribe my interview answers and add them to my application package for review in Switzerland. Since there is no formal language requirement (certificate), I believe that being able to communicate and speak clearly enough for the interviewer to note and understand is the most critical element.

We began the interview with her confirming some of our entries in our application. The initial question, and the one that felt important for setting up the tone of the interview, was why I wanted to become Swiss. So, I would definitely recommend coming prepared with that answer. She also asked some questions about my children, if they were school age, who is present at their school meetings, what type of values or how do I contribute to raising them. I think these questions were to kind of test if I share Swiss values, perhaps? After answering questions with my husband, the next questions were for me alone. There were approx 20 questions, and it seemed like some were required while the others the interviewer could choose out of a list. These are what I can remember in no particular order.

If you become Swiss, what municipality will you be registered in
Name the 4 national languages and a canton for each where the language is used
How many cantons are there total
What are the countries that border Switzerland
What are the 3 cantons that signed the original pact
3 famous Swiss people
3 lakes
3 museums
Who is the current president of the federal council
What is a referendum and what is an initiative
What type of government does Switzerland have
Who is in charge of enforcing the laws - this question was very strangely worded and the answer was the Police
Who elects the members of the federal council
What does CFF stand for
What things give Switzerland value, or what are the things that I find special to Switzerland
What would I have to do once I become a citizen - Vote, respect the laws, pay taxes
What year were women granted the right to vote
How do I stay up to date on Swiss news
Who created the Red Cross and what is their purpose

After that they interviewed my husband and I again, and asked about our family and friends in Switzerland, if we had any Swiss friends in the US, and if we were members of any Swiss clubs. That pretty much wrapped up the whole process. It lasted about 90 minutes, and at the end she confirmed that I probably wouldn’t hear anything for a year. Eventually our references should get some questionnaires and if we received a form asking about our marital status, that we would be nearing the end of the process at that point. Overall, she was extremely nice and helpful and the questions seemed quite fair and balanced. Hopefully, it all moves forward and I will be holding a Swiss passport in a year or two!!

Hope this helps someone else, and thank you all for your help on this post! Everything that I’ve learned here definitely helped me to prepare!
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Old 03.02.2021, 02:07
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

This is SO helpful thank you. We are about to go through this same process in NYC, I am Swiss, my American wife is applying with her French that sounds a similar level to yours.

Were you able to answer all the questions correctly? Were there any that totally stumped you? I've scoured these forums for potential questions, and there were definitely some new ones that came up in yours: who enforces the laws, CFF, so good to know!

Thank you again, it sounds like you passed with flying colors!
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Old 03.02.2021, 03:06
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

I hope you’re right that I passed the test!! It seems like some of the questions are not exactly right/wrong. For instance, as far as what I valued, I talked about the quality of life, the quality of the food, Switzerland is clean very organized, neutral, etc. The CFF question surprised me, I knew it was related to transport and the trains, but I didn’t know the exact answer for what it stood for. The police question was also strange simply because the question was worded very particularly, but the answer was simple. The one that almost caught me was where would I be registered, I got it correct eventually but she had to specify that it was not the municipality that my husband was born but where he is registered. I managed to figure it out because I remembered what was listed on his passport! I will say that the interviewer was very nice, and as I was answering she would kind of follow up and it would definitely help prompt me to give her the exact answers she was looking for.

I found the RTS documentary mentioned in this thread very helpful in hearing how the questions were asked. I also tried to watch a lot of informative Swiss videos in French to get my ear used to hearing that type of vocabulary.

Wishing you guys the best of luck!!
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Old 03.02.2021, 08:18
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

Quote:
I've scoured these forums for potential questions, and there were definitely some new ones that came up in yours: who enforces the laws, CFF, so good to know!
Each Canton has a list of 100 questions of which 20 or so are asked at interviews. You can find them on the Cantons website.
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Old 03.02.2021, 20:12
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

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I...The one that almost caught me was where would I be registered, I got it correct eventually but she had to specify that it was not the municipality that my husband was born but where he is registered. I managed to figure it out because I remembered what was listed on his passport!
To clarify further for future readers, tamzee was expected to know her husband's place of origin (commune d'origine in French or Heimatort in German). That's the place where his family comes from, and what is listed in his passport. He may or may not have been born in that specific town or village. The place of origin is where the record of his birth has been registered, whether he was born in Switzerland or abroad.

Some Swiss have never even been to their place of origin, even if currently living in Switzerland!
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Old 05.02.2021, 02:55
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Re: Any tips for a Citizenship Interview Abroad!

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Each Canton has a list of 100 questions of which 20 or so are asked at interviews. You can find them on the Cantons website.
Thank you for this, I have seen them for Vaud and Luzern, but I need them for Zurich, and have been unable to find... perhaps someone's google-fu is greater than mine?

I did find the very helpful "Informationsbroschüre der Stadt Zürich zu Ihrem Einbürgerungsgespräch"
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Old 16.02.2021, 20:29
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Wanted to thank everyone who was posted on this board over the years for their experiences with facilitated naturalization. In the spirit of paying it forward here's what was asked at our interview:

WHY DO YOU WANT TO BECOME SWISS? (caps because this is the most important. be prepared)

Name the following...

where were you on your 3 trips? prepare to point them out on a map
which lake is entirely in switzerland?
how many cantons
which are 1/2 cantons
newest canton
largest canton by area
Name the 4 languages and a canton where they are spoken
3 bilingual cantons
Figure of Legend in the founding myth of Switzerland (William Tell)
3 founding cantons
Where: rutli
When: 1 august: 1291
when womens suffrage 1971
3 lakes
3 foods
3 rivers
3 mountains
3 cheeses
3 famous swiss
3 Swiss “events” - 1 august, Sechslaute, Fasnacht festivals, art basel, Davos, Car show etc.
what is referendum
what is initiative
age right to vote
is military service obligatory for men? Yes
3 sports
3 museums
3 obligations of being Swiss
3 rights of Swiss

What is Rivella, Ovalmaltine

3 Swiss supermarkets
3 Swiss musical instruments

Showed Picture of Swiss federal council, Name who was president, name other councilors
how long is the president’s term?
Who elects Federal councilors? (conseil d’etat and conseil national)
Name 3 political parties

Which canton has drug companies??? Didn't know this... is it Zug

CH stands for...
CFF stands for...

does Switzerland belong to EU?
where are international orgs centered

Who is in charge of enforcing penal code - Police (THANK YOU @TAMZEE)
If you see a crime or are a victim of crime, who do you call: police
If someone owes money, who do you call... Said justice system, but maybe lawyer?

FINGERS CROSSED AND GOOD LUCK TO ALL

and of course as soon as I post I remember some more:

Which Gemeinde / Communaute would you be a part of if you became Swiss?
Who founded the Red Cross and what does it do?

Oh and

What Gemeinde / Communaute would you belong to
Who founded Red Cross and what does it do

Last edited by 3Wishes; 17.02.2021 at 20:07. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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