Basically all non-Swiss-nationals* may be affected by the new law.
As for the new language requirements, in particular the following persons may be affected.
Dependents with non-EU-nationality aged at least 18 years applying for a B-permit or an extension of a B-permit
All non-Swiss-nationals applying for a C-permit (unless a treaty provides for an unreserved right to a C-permit) or an extension of a C-permit
What are the new requirements for C-permit applicants?
Regular application (after 10 years of uninterrupted residency in Switzerland):
Applicants need to at least meet an oral language level of A2 and a written language level of A1 in the official language of their Swiss place of residence.
Early application (after 5 years of uninterrupted residency in Switzerland):
Applicants need to at least meet an oral language level of B1 and a written language level of A2 in the official language of their Swiss place of residence.
Those wishing to get a >B1 language certificate, please check here
As per the revised law, dependents with non-EU nationality aged 16 or over who apply for a B-permit must be able to demonstrate either:
- their speaking and writing skills in the language spoken in the region of Switzerland in which they live or intend to relocate to upon presentation of a language certificate (Level: at least A1); or
- that they are at least enrolled on a language course which will lead to acquisition of the above-mentioned language skills.
First time B-permit applications and B-permit extension applications.
The new law does not stipulate how quickly the required language skills must be acquired and so far the authorities have not established a consistent practice throughout all Swiss cantons. In particular, it is not clear at present whether individuals who already hold a valid permit may be required to file (i.e., obtain in some cases) a language certificate before the expiry of their permit.
Thus, it is likely that for the time being regional/cantonal differences will apply. It is expected that the upcoming months will provide more clarity and consistency. For the time being, applicants and holders of B-permits are, however, advised to obtain certification of their language skills as soon as possible.
In case of non-compliance with the new law, individuals may be required to conclude an “integration agreement” setting standards for the level of integration they are expected to reach and the measures to be taken in order to reach this level.
C-permit holders who do not meet the required language skills and/or fail to comply with an integration agreement may be relegated to a temporary residence status (B-permit).
B-permit-holders not complying with an integration agreement may lose their right to stay in Switzerland.
Foreigners with a Swiss national language as their mother tongue will be considered to have adequate knowledge of a Swiss national language. The same applies for foreigners who have completed three years of compulsory schooling in a Swiss national language.
As of 1 January 2020 the language certificate must be obtained from one of the following accredited institutions.
With the Language Passport you can show your ability to communicate in one or more of the national languages: French, German and Italian. It can be presented: to the authorities, to register for a training course or to apply for a new job.
In regard to residence and settlement permits, a new law entered into force on 1 January 2019. Federal law stipulates that applicants for a C permit must provide written proof of level A1 and oral proof of level A2 in one of the national languages. The minimum requirement for the B permit is level A1 oral of CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).
This reliable evaluation leads to obtaining your language passport. It is a possibility to prove one's language skills. The language passport is a document that demonstrates oral and written competence in the national languages: French, German and Italian. It is issued by the Secretariat on behalf of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) and is recognised in particular in the context of a naturalisation procedure or an application and renewal of a permit (B, C).
Since 1 January 2018, new conditions apply to the naturalisation procedure. Several conditions (residence and integration-related) must be met, including "mastery of the French language (equivalent to or higher than level B1 in oral and A2 in written French of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages)". According to Art. 6 of the Legislation on Swiss Nationality, any person wishing to obtain Swiss nationality must demonstrate oral language skills in a Swiss national language at least at the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level B1, and written language skills at least at reference level A2 of CEFR.
French is not your mother tongue.
(The recommended minimum age is 16)
Proof of written and oral proficiency in French and obtain the language passport.
Evaluation of language skills in a progressive and individual manner (possible to register for a single module as required).
You get your language passport after you have completed the FIDE language test. If you wish to take a test in German or Italian, you must register at an assessment centre located in the language region in question.
The FIDE language assessment is divided into two parts: "Speaking and Understanding" and "Reading and Writing". Oral and written skills are assessed separately. You can take one or both parts of the assessment.
"Speaking" (oral assessment), duration: 20minutes - introductory interview, interactive tasks
"Understanding' (oral assessment), duration: 20 minutes - short audio texts and comprehension questions
"Reading and Writing" (written evaluation), duration: 60minutes
As much as possible authentic Swiss texts, comprehension questions (MCQ, true/false), filling in a form or free written production (e.g. writing a short e-mail).
Four weeks after taking the test at Learn French Geneva (Geneva, Lausanne or Neuchatel branches), you will receive your language passport in the mail with your results.
Minimum age 16.
On the exam day, a formal ID with a picture is required.
The exam can be taken only after prior enrolment and confirmation.
Anyone with a disability can take the FIDE language test. Special arrangements can be made. A medical certificate will be required.
Need a refresher? Our qualified trainers will prepare you, in small groups or privately, for the language evaluation in order to give you the best possible chance on the day of the evaluation. To ensure that all your skills are put to good use on D-Day, preparation for the assessment is strongly recommended. In addition, being well prepared will allow you to feel more confident on the day of the assessment.
The result of the evaluation is not expressed as "passed" or "failed".
The language passport will indicate your language level as A1, A2 or B1.
If you wish to certify language skills at a higher level than B1, we recommend you to take the DELF-DALF test.
Yes, you need a black or blue pen.
Yes, see cancellation conditions below
A cancelation fee of CHF 50.— will be requested for any cancelation less than 15 days before the exam
The evaluation is composed of two parts:
Oral: speaking and understanding (2 x 20 minutes)
Written: reading and writing (60 minutes)
You can register for both parts or just one of them. After passing the FIDE language EXAM, you will receive a language passport indicating the level achieved (A1, A2 or B1) in the corresponding national language, separately for written and oral skills.
The assessment can take place on two different days with a maximum difference of one week between the two. The written part always takes place after the oral part.