Language competencies in the Federal Act on Foreigners and Integration

von René Rey (Kommentare: 0)

written by lic. iur. Michael Schermbach


Language competencies for principal (B-) permit holders: In general, there are no language requirements upon application. In certain professional categories there are requirements (e.g. teachers and caregivers: B1 oral, A1 written). A request for proof of language skills is generally possible upon prolongation of the permit.

Language competencies in case of family reunification of a residence permit holders (B-permit) or permanent residence holders (C-permit) are only applicable to spouses of Non-EU/EFTA citizen. It is assumed that minor children will learn the language when visiting school, therefore only the spouse has to prove oral knowledge of the language spoken at the place of residence equivalent to European reference level A1 (only oral). If such skills are lacking, a proof of registration for a language course leading to the achievement of proficiency at least equivalent to reference level A1 is necessary at the moment when getting registered in Switzerland at the latest.

Exception:  There are cantons that require this proof already upon filing the application for family reunification (e.g. Zurich, Bern, Fribourg, Basel-Landschaft). Make sure that the registration is made with a language school that provides one of the diplomas (German, French and Italian) mentioned here: In case of registration with a school, the A1-diploma must be achieved upon the first renewal of the permit after one year.

The requested language competencies to obtain a permanent residence permit (C-permit) have been uplifted: They have to be equivalent to European reference level A2 (oral) and A1 (written). This is applicable on Non-EU/EFTA-citizens who may apply for a C-permit after 10 years of residence in Switzerland and on EU/EFTA-citizens who may apply for a C-permit already after 5 years of residence.

No language competencies have to be proven by EU/EFTA-citizens with whose country Switzerland holds a settlement agreement (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Principality of Liechtenstein).

The language competencies of the spouse (with an origin in a Non-EU/EFTA-country) of a Swiss citizen or a person with a permanent residence permit (Non-EU/EFTA- or EU/EFTA-citizen) have to be also equivalent to European reference level A2 (oral) and A1 (written) to obtain a C-permit.

The requested language competencies for Non-EU/EFTA-citizen to obtain an early permanent residence permit (C-permit) already after 5 years of residence have been uplifted as well and have to be equivalent to European reference level B1 (oral) and A1 (written).


lic. iur. Michael Schermbach
Attorney at Law, Sgier + Partner GmbH


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