Does my child automatically become a Swiss citizen?

“I live abroad and will soon become a mother. I would like to know whether my child automatically becomes a Swiss national like me, or whether formal/legal steps are necessary. Is my child allowed to have dual citizenship?”

Your baby has arrived. If you want your child to own a Swiss passport one day despite being born abroad, we recommend that you have your child registered at the registry office of your Swiss municipality of origin in good time.

Yes, your child will acquire Swiss citizenship at birth. According to the Swiss Citizenship Act (SCA), a child born to Swiss parents is a Swiss citizen from birth. If the parents are unmarried and only the mother is Swiss, the child automatically receives Swiss citizenship. The father, on the other hand, first must recognise the child as his own via the competent authorities.

Irrespective of the above, you must notify the Swiss representation at which you are registered regarding the birth. This is important, because a child born abroad to a Swiss parent who is also a citizen of another country may lose their Swiss citizenship on reaching the age of 25, unless a Swiss authority abroad or in Switzerland has been notified of his or her birth or the individual has declared in writing that he or she wishes to remain a Swiss citizen. For a detailed look at the SCA including amendments and related transitional provisions, visit the website of the State Secretariat for Migration (available in German, French and Italian only). (Short link: ogy.de/buergerrecht)

To avoid any administrative complications in future, we advise you to notify your Swiss representation (embassy or consulate) of the birth as soon as possible. They will check your documentation and forward this information to the Swiss authorities, so that your child can be registered at the registry office of your Swiss municipality of origin.

To answer your question about whether your child can become a dual citizen: Switzerland recognises dual nationality without restriction. Swiss law allows you to be both a Swiss national and a citizen of another country. However, some other countries do not recognise dual nationality. By acquiring Swiss citizenship, you might automatically lose the citizenship of the other state concerned.

For more information, please contact the authorities of the state whose nationality you wish to acquire or have already acquired.

Stefanie Mathis-Zerfass, HEAD OF THE OSA LEGAL DEPARTMENT

The OSA’s Legal Service provides general legal information on Swiss law, particularly in areas which concern the Swiss Abroad. It does not provide information on foreign law or intervene in disputes between private parties.

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