I have a work permit in Switzerland. And it is valid until the end of my passport validity (within another 3 years).

My passport is going to expire after 3 years. I can't renew my passport until 2 years more from my embassy. That is because males can't renew their passports, from my embassy, until the final exemption from the military service which will be after 2 years (5 years from now) for me.

In my country, upon reaching a certain age, they are calling you to the military not because it is needed to or we are at war, but because you reached a certain age.

I have a question:

Is that a valid reason to apply for Switzerland travel foreign document as a stateless person? Just until being able to renew my passport again.

  • 9
    The term ‘stateless person’ means a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law. Merely having an expired passport that you intend to renew doesn’t seem to me to fit that definition or to be grounds to be recognised as stateless sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/asyl/asylverfahren/weitere_themen/…
    – Traveller
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 7:57
  • 3
    @Traveller that sounds like an answer.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 8:13
  • 2
    You cannot assume there is a solution that does not involve going back to your country of citizenship and completing your military service. Until you get another citizenship, you still depend on that country to some extent. There are special cases (including refugees) but the laws are not designed to escape that basic reality.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 19:51
  • 5
    I have the feeling you're still trying to deny the problem you're facing, perhaps even to yourself and it sends you on all sorts of wild goose chases. You don't need to renew your residence permit without a passport, you're not stateless, and being able to continue working is not your main problem. You're trying to avoid the draft in your country. That's where you should start to find out if there are legal solutions to do it or whether other people have managed it.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 20:00
  • 1
    You are able to get your passport renewed, all you need to do is to comply with your country's laws. That's not an unheard of demand, in fact many countries condition their passports' issuance/renewal on being up to date with compliance requirements.
    – littleadv
    Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 20:47

1 Answer 1


That's not possible because you are not stateless. You could presumably easily return to your country and serve in the military if you wanted to, that's pretty much the opposite of statelessness.

You keep saying that you cannot renew your passport but that's not quite the problem here, at least from the perspective of the authorities. The fact is that you're trying to avoid conscription and governments do not necessarily want to make that easy, even for foreign citizens.

In the EU, being called for military service can be grounds for subsidiary protection but only if you are fleeing military draft in a country that is at war, you can show that you would be forced to commit war crimes or face unreasonably harsh punishment. It's not the case if you merely find military service inconvenient.

Also note that Switzerland (which is not in the EU) is a country with a strong tradition of mandatory service in the military. All Swiss men have to serve for several months of mandatory training when they turn 18, get a service weapon, and then go back every year or every other year for a few days until they turn 40 or so. If you get an exemption (even on medical grounds), you have to pay a special 3% income tax, which Swiss people frequently describe as a way to contribute to the defense of the country in another way.

Military service is therefore much more important there than in neighbouring countries like France or Germany. Culturally, I would not expect much understanding of your wish to avoid service from Swiss citizens.

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