The civilian service is the civilian alternative to military service that is reserved for conscientious objectors. Assignments take place mainly in the social, healthcare and environmental sectors.
To be eligible for civilian service, you must:
have been found fit for military service;
confirm in your application that you are unable to serve in the military for reasons of conscience;
attend an introduction day within three months of submitting your application;
2. be willing to meet all legal requirements when performing your civilian service.
How to apply
You can submit an application to be assigned to civilian service at the earliest after you have been found fit to serve in the military service as part of the recruitment process.
If you submit your application at a later point in time, while already serving in the military, you must continue your service until a decision on your application has been made. Exceptions: If you submit your application at least three months before basic training or your next refresher course, you do not have to start your upcoming military service term.
Applications must be submitted electronically. You can find out more on the website of the Federal Office for Civilian Service (available in German, French and Italian, as are all the links on this web page). You can register in the civilian service portal E-ZIVI. If you do not have access to the internet, you can contact your regional centre by telephone.
Once you have submitted your application, you can register online for an introduction day in your region; you must attend the introduction day within three months of applying. Introduction days take place during the workweek and the number of participants is limited.
Once you have attended an introduction day, you have two weeks to confirm your application, after which will you be admitted to civilian service.
Civilian service – how long does it last?
Civilian service lasts one and a half times as long as military service. If you did not attend or did not complete basic training, you will have to do a long term of at least 180 days (6 months), which you must complete by the end of the third calendar year after admission. You must also complete at least 26 days of service each year.
If you have successfully passed basic training, other rules apply.
Civilian service assignments – where and when?
The civilian service encompasses eight areas of activity, mainly in social welfare, healthcare, environmental protection and nature conservation.
You can decide where and when in the year you want to serve:
Search for a possible assignment on E-ZIVI here.
Apply with the host organisation.
If an agreement is reached you will be notified of your new assignment by your regional centre.
If you do not agree on an assignment or wait too long to do so, the Federal Office for Civilian Service will choose an assignment for you.
Civilian service assignments must be done full time; they cannot be done part time. Your regional centre will answer any additional questions you may have.
Civilian service – salary and compensation for loss of income
You are entitled to compensation for loss of income for every day served. In principle, the amount depends on your income before civilian service. Persons who are not gainfully employed, such as students or the unemployed, are also entitled to compensation.
If you are gainfully employed: You are entitled to 80% of your average income before starting your civilian service, with the minimum paid being CHF 62 and the maximum CHF 196 per day.
If you have not completed basic training: You will receive a minimum of CHF 62 per day for the first 124 days of service (this may be higher depending on the branch of service you have been assigned to) – regardless of whether or not you were gainfully employed before starting your service.
You have children or foster children: You are entitled to CHF 20 in child allowance per child for every service day.
Pocket money / salary: You will receive CHF 5 for every service day from the company hosting your assignment.
If you serve for fewer than 26 days in a year, you are required to pay a military service exemption tax, which is reimbursed to you once you have completed your entire service term.
Civilian service – expenses
Room and board are provided by your host organisation. If your host organisation is unable to do so, you will receive compensation. If you need special work clothes or shoes, your host organisation will provide them or cover the associated costs (max. 60 CHF/month or 240 CHF/assignment). Civilian service clothes are available free of charge.