My mother is a Swiss citizen since the 1980s (we don't know exactly the year since we discovered recently that her ex-husband applied for her without saying anything to her), and got her Swiss passport a few days ago.

After that, I was looking in the website of the Swiss consulate to find out that since 2017 the son of a Swiss citizen can acquire citizenship directly before he turns 22, and this year (2018) the age was increased to 25.

But the Swiss consulate website in my country (Brazil) is really hard to understand for the citizenship part, so I am really confused if I am eligible of applying for citizenship or not, since my mother was never in Switzerland (neither was I), and I don't know German/French/Italian.

So, can I get Swiss citizenship from my mother (being a Brazilian male 23 years old, born in 1994)? My mother was already separated from her old husband at the time of my birth.

Edit to clarify some questions from the comments:

  1. My mother separated from her former husband in 1988.
  2. She was not married to my father when I was born (nor is she now).
  3. My mother was already a Swiss citizen before I was born.

Edit 2:

I called to the Swiss consulate in Brazil and explained the situation. They told me I might not be eligible for the citizenship, because the age change in the law might not be retroactive, and since I was already 23 when the law changed, I would not be eligible to acquire the citizenship. However, searching the law in english/portuguese, I could not find any document suggesting the retroactive clause in the new law.

  • Was she only separated from her former husband, or actually divorced? If divorced, was she married to your father when you were born?
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 18:55
  • @phoog She got separated from her former husband (consensually, having it on paper and back using her single name), and before I was born too. She was not married (nor is now) to my father when I was born
    – LkN
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 19:13
  • No idea if this matters, but would you confirm that she already was a Swiss citizen (just without a passport) when you were born?
    – mkennedy
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 19:27
  • @mkennedy she was already a citizen when I was born. She also received child support from 1985 to 1993 from the Swiss government for my older brother (he was from her former marriage).
    – LkN
    Commented Apr 26, 2018 at 19:34

2 Answers 2


I have no personal knowledge of Swiss nationality law, but according to the Wikipedia article, you were a Swiss citizen from birth because you were the child of a Swiss woman who was not married to your father. The next question is whether you are still Swiss.

Unfortunately, it looks like you may have lost your Swiss nationality at age 22:

Loss due to birth abroad

A Swiss citizen born abroad to at least one Swiss parent and holding at least one other nationality loses Swiss citizenship at age 22 if:

  • They have never been announced to the Swiss authorities, or
  • They have never written to the Swiss authorities expressing their desire to retain Swiss citizenship, or
  • They (or their guardians) have never sought to procure Swiss identity documents for them, i.e. a passport or an identity card.

Equally, the child of a person who loses Swiss nationality in this manner also loses Swiss nationality. Exceptionally, a person who has been prevented, against their will, from taking the necessary actions to retain Swiss citizenship may undertake the required actions within a delay of 1 year following the cessation of such hindrances.

(spelling error corrected; emphasis added)

You may be able to avail yourself of the exception, although it seems unlikely given the information you have provided here.

The Wikipedia article seems to be outdated, since, as you mention, the age was increased this year. You will want to find out whether the increase applies retroactively. Since the age increase seems to have occurred after your 22nd birthday, if it is not retroactive then you will have lost your Swiss citizenship under the old rule.

  • In the Swiss consulate website in portuguese they say that more details about the immigration laws are only available in the official languages of the country only. I will call the consulate and edit the post accordingly when I have any answer about the situation.
    – LkN
    Commented Apr 27, 2018 at 12:52
  • 1
    @LkN if you find an answer, you should usually post it as a new answer rather than editing the information into the question.
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 28, 2018 at 15:01
  • I got a final answer from Switzerland saying that I indeed lost it when I turned 22 years old and, therefore, I lost the citizenship, like you said, so I accepted your answer as the right one.
    – LkN
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 19:49
  • 1
    Arguably you were prevented against your will from taking the necessary actions, by virtue of the fact that your mother's Swiss citizenship was concealed from her (and you) by your father. If your mother discovered her Swiss citizenship less than 1 year ago, I think you may have a case for the exception. You have nothing to lose other than probably the time taken to write a letter.
    – jbg
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 14:05
  • @jbg good point, though I think you have confused the mother's ex husband with the asker's father.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 19:07

Go check ch.ch but from what I know and found:

So, can I get Swiss citizenship from my mother (being a Brazilian male 23 years old, born in 1994)?

Yes, but hurry! And you need to get in touch with your embassy/consulate to open a procedure to be recognized as a Swiss citizen. You'll also need to provide proof that your mother is a Swiss citizen (her valid passport and record that she is registered at the embassy).

I say hurry, because the administration is not fast, it might take many months because of the exchanges between your consulate and Bern.

  • I called to the consulate to ask and yes, my mother is registered there. But they told me that the change in the age to apply for the citizenship by birth might not be retroactive, meaning that because I was already 22 when the law changed, I might not get the citizenship. Strange enough, I didn't find that information anywhere (at least in portuguese/english)
    – LkN
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 18:33
  • @LkN generally changes in nationality law are not retroactive unless the law makes that explicit.
    – phoog
    Commented May 7, 2018 at 21:29

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