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Reinstatement of Swiss citizenship

How you can lose your Swiss citizenship and how can you regain it.

Reinstatement of citizenship

You can apply to have your Swiss citizenship reinstated if you have lost it for any of the following three reasons:

  • on certain legal grounds (termination of the parent/child relationship, adoption, forfeiture of citizenship through being born abroad),
  • because you have been relieved of Swiss citizenship at your own request, or
  • because you married a foreign national before 1992.

Reinstatement of citizenship – what you need to know

Loss of citizenship

Loss of Swiss citizenship

Under certain circumstances, you may lose your Swiss citizenship:                                                     

For legal reasons:

  • If the relationship with the parent through which you acquired Swiss citizenship is severed, unless you will otherwise be made stateless.
  • If you are adopted as a minor by a foreign national and thus acquire the nationality of your adoptive parent.
  • If you are born abroad to a Swiss parent but your parent does not register you or you do not register yourself with a Swiss authority abroad (embassy, consulate) or in Switzerland (civil register office) before you reach the age of 25, or you do not file a written declaration that you wish to keep your Swiss citizenship (this is known in the law as ‘forfeiture of citizenship’)

By official decree:

  • If you have been relieved of your Swiss citizenship at your own request;
  • If you have dual nationality but your Swiss citizenship is revoked because of conduct regarded as seriously detrimental to the interests or the reputation of Switzerland.
  • If your naturalisation has been declared null and void because you provided false information or concealed important facts.

See the State Secretariat for Migration website for details.

Loss of cantonal or communal citizenship

Cantonal and communal regulations provide for the loss of cantonal and communal citizenship in certain cases (such as multiple citizenships). This is possible as long as your Swiss citizenship is not affected.

State Secretariat for Migration – Loss of Swiss citizenship

How you can be "relieved" of your Swiss citizenship

  • Swiss citizenship: If you are a Swiss citizen residing abroad who also holds (or has been assured of) citizenship of another country, you may ask to be relieved your Swiss citizenship at a Swiss representation abroad. The application is then forwarded via the State Secretariat for Migration to the relevant authority in your canton of origin.
  • Cantonal and communal citizenship: If you wish to be relieved of your cantonal or communal citizenship, the procedure, which does not affect your Swiss citizenship, is governed by the provisions of the canton or commune concerned.

Requirements for reinstatement of citizenship

If you have lost your Swiss citizenship, you can apply within ten years to have it reinstated. After this ten-year period has expired, you can only have your Swiss citizenship reinstated if you have been living in Switzerland for three years.

The other requirements are explained on the SEM website, in the Citizenship Manual (Chapter 7: Reinstatement of Citizenship), in the Information sheet on reinstatement of citizenship and in the FAQs on reinstatement of citizenship. The information is not available in English.

When is reinstatement not possible?

  • If the ten-year period has expired and you have not been living in Switzerland for at least three years;
  • If your relationship with your Swiss parent(s) has been officially terminated;
  • If you have lost your Swiss citizenship through being adopted by a parent who is a foreign national;
  • If your naturalisation has been declared null and void; or
  • If your Swiss citizenship has been revoked.