you must be of the same sex*
you must both be at least 18 years old
you must have legal capacity
at least one of you must be a Swiss citizen or live in Switzerland
you must not be married or in another registered partnership.
There are various steps you have to take to prepare for your registered partnership. Contact the civil register office in your (or your partner's) place of residence to find out which documents are needed.
After checking that all the conditions have been met, the civil register office will authorise you to enter into a registered partnership.
After the preparatory procedure, you have three months to register your partnership at the civil register office in Switzerland of your choice.
In contrast to a marriage ceremony, no witnesses are required for a registered partnership ceremony.
Some civil register offices allow you to exchange rings.
At the end of the ceremony, you are given a registered partnership certificate.
The costs of entering into a registered partnership vary between CHF 300 and CHF 400.
In principle, each partner keeps their own surname.
However, you can choose a common surname on registering your partnership, either your own or that of your partner.
Unlike marriage, a registered partnership does not entitle the foreign partner of a Swiss citizen to simplified naturalisation.
However, if you are the foreign partner of a Swiss citizen, you have advantages under the ordinary naturalisation procedure. You can apply for ordinary naturalisation after three years of registered partnership if you have lived in Switzerland for five years including the year preceding your naturalisation application. The cantonal migration authority can provide you with detailed information on this subject.
If you are living in a registered partnership, you and your partner are not permitted to adopt a child together or use medically assisted reproductive techniques to become parents together.
However, you can adopt your partner's child if you have been living in a registered partnership for at least three years and have provided for the child's care and upbringing for at least one year.
If your partner has children, you must in any case support him or her as a parent and can also act on your partner's behalf if he or she is ill or temporarily absent.
If you and your partner are both parents because you have adopted your partner's child, you have the same parental rights as a married couple.
Property and debts
In principle, the assets (and debts) of the two partners remain separate.
However, you and your partner can enter into a property agreement, which must be certified by a notary, in which you can regulate how your assets are managed.
Partners in a registered partnership must fill in their tax returns together and pay taxes together.
In the event of the death of your partner, you have the same rights as a widow or widower in a marriage:
If you have minor children, you receive a widow(er)'s pension from the OASI.
You are also entitled to a pension from your partner's occupational pension fund if you have to support a child or if you are over 45 years old and your registered partnership lasted for at least 5 years.
You are your deceased partner's legal heir. For further information, you should consult the page on Succession.
For general information on registered partnerships, consult the frequently asked questions page on the Federal Office of Justice website.
For information on preparing for and holding a registered partnership ceremony, as well as on the recognition in Switzerland of a registered partnership entered into abroad, contact the civil register office at your place of residence.
For information on choosing a surname when in a registered partnership, see Information about surnames.
For information on taxes, please contact the tax authority in your canton of residence.
For information on dissolving a registered partnership, go to the page on that topic.
If you have questions about your own registered partnership or an agreement on managing a registered couple's assets, you can also contact a lawyer or notary of your choice.