Limited impact of facilitated naturalisation for ‘third generation’ in Switzerland

In February 2017, a 60 per cent majority of Swiss voters approved a constitutional amendment providing for facilitated naturalisation for so-called ‘third generation immigrants’, defined as individuals without Swiss citizenship who were born in Switzerland, who have/had at least one grandparent who was also born in Switzerland, and who have at least one parent with long-term residence who completed their schooling in Switzerland. A year later, the relevant conditions were introduced via amendment to the Swiss citizenship legislation.

A new study commissioned by the Federal Commission on Migration has found that the changes have so far had limited impact in practice: between 2018 and 2020, only 1,847 (ca. 7 per cent) of the 25,000 eligible individuals acquired Swiss citizenship (see summaries in German, French, and Italian). The authors of the study highlight age restrictions, demanding documentary requirements, and a lack of information and awareness as persistent barriers to citizenship acquisition under the new procedure.

For further information on citizenship policies in Switzerland, check out our country profile pages.