Eased citizenship for third-generation immigrants to begin mid-February
The Swiss government has announced that from February 15, young people in Switzerland who fulfil certain conditions will be eligible to apply for citizenship via a simplified procedure.
The Federal Council announced the date on Wednesday, almost one year after 60.4% of voters endorsed the eased naturalisation rules for third-generation immigrants.
Normal procedure in Switzerland is that non-nationals must have spent ten years in the country before applying for citizenship, after which they sit tests and interviews.
The new law eases the time burden for those meeting several conditions. They must have been born in the country, hold a C permit, have gone to school in Switzerland for five years, and have a grandparent born in the country or who lived in Switzerland legally for at least six years.
The maximum age for applying through this facilitated channel is 25, to ensure candidates do not wait longer to shirk military service.
As with the standard procedure, candidates are expected to be well-integrated into their communities and to respect the values of the Swiss constitution.
The new rules, which sparked ideological and administrative debates about the nature of citizenship in Switzerland, are not expected to lead to a deluge of applicants: according to a University of Geneva study, some 25,000 people will satisfy all conditions, most of them of Italian origin.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/dos