Posted: 16 Jan. 2020

Switzerland - Residence applicants must use recognised language certificates beginning 1 January 2020

What is the change?

Swiss officials have agreed on residence permit applicants to provide a language certificate from recognised certifiers only.

  • Implementation time frame: 1 January 2020
  • Visas/ permits affected: B (temporary residence) and C (permanent residence) permits. 
  • Who is affected: Non-EU/EFTA national dependent spouses of Non-EU/EFTA B-permit holders, foreign nationals seeking permanent residency (C permits) except for nationals from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.
  • Next steps: The list of recognised language certificates is available online in GermanFrench, and Italian.

Switzerland adopted new language requirements for residence permit applicants in 2019. These rules are generally as follows:

Background

Switzerland adopted new language requirements for residence permit applicants in 2019. These rules are generally as follows: 

Type of residenceRequired level of proficiency
Permanent residence (C permits) based on 10 years of residencyA2 level in oral language skills, A1 level in written language skills.
Permanent residence (C permits) based on five years of residency

B1 level in oral, A1 level in written language. Nationals of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain are exempt.

B residence permits based on family reunification

Initial application in some cantons: A1 or equivalent oral skills in the language of the place of residence. If certificate not available enrolment confirmation to a language course.

Renewal: A1 or equivalent oral skills in the language of the place of residence.

NaturalisationB1 level in oral language skills, A2 level in written language skills.

Deloitte's View

While language requirements themselves have not changed, applicants will be required to provide a recognised language certificate when submitting an application for renewal of their residence permit B. Failure to do so may lead to unnecessary delays in the application process or even to rejection of the renewal application.

If you would like to discuss more on this topic, please do reach out to our key contacts below.

Register now for our upcoming Immigration Academy workshop on 17 March 2020 in Zurich and 26 March 2020 in Geneva. 

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Key contacts

David Wigersma

Partner, Global Employer Services

dwigersma@deloitte.ch

Timo Heck

Senior Manager, Immigration

theck@deloitte.ch

Julia Stutzer

Senior Manager, Immigration

jstutzer@deloitte.ch