As of 1 January 2019 the revised Swiss Federal Act on Foreign Nationals and Integration (FNIA) is applicable for Swiss residence permit holders or applicants. This has major implications in terms of language requirements and integration.

While each canton may apply different requirements, the new language criteria are generally as follows:

  • Permanent residence (C permits) based on 10 years of residency will require A2 level in oral language skills and A1 level in written language skills.
  • Permanent residence (C permits) based on five years of residency will require a B1 level in oral and 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 will require an A1 or equivalent oral skills in the language of the place of residence. Proof of a language course demonstrating proficiency at the A1 level may be required if language skills are lacking.
  • Spouses and registered partners of Swiss citizens and of C-permit permanent residents will be required to meet integration requirements including A2 level in oral language and A1 level in written language.

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