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Negative naturalisation decision lays bare the arbitrary and discretionary powers of local naturalisation committees in Switzerland

Funda Yilmaz, a 25-year old born to Turkish parents in Switzerland, has been living in the municipality of Buchs in the canton of Aargau for 16 years She works as a construction planner in Aarau, speaks perfect Swiss German and writes flawless Standard German. She is member of a local association and plays football for a local club. She is engaged with a Swiss man. And she had a perfect score on the citizenship and political knowledge test.

Still, the municipality of Buchs denied her naturalization request. The reason: Yilmaz “lives in a small world and shows no interest in entering a dialogue with Switzerland and its population”. This assessment was based on facts such as her decision to go to a supermarket rather than to the local butcher and having most of her friends in a neighbouring municipality.

After the full transcript of the naturalisation interview – which consisted of over 90 questions – became public, it raised eyebrows even among some members of the right-wing Swiss People’s party. This case shows, again, how restrictive Swiss citizenship law is, not only on paper but even more so in practice.

Read more here (in English) and here (in German).

For details of current and past citizenship legislation in Switzerland check out our country profile pages.