Administration blunder – At 22, he learns that he has the Swiss passport “by mistake”

Administration blunder – At 22, he learns that he has the Swiss passport “by mistake”
Administration blunder – At 22, he learns that he has the Swiss passport “by mistake”

Posted27 October 2021, 17:21

The Federal Court rejected the appeal of a young man to whom the administration had granted Swiss nationality a little too quickly at birth.

From Winterthur to Lausanne, this “false Swiss” has tried everything to win his case.

20min / Marvin Ancian

He went to the Federal Court (TF), in vain. In 2015, then 22 years old, this young man born in Winterthur applied for a renewal of his Swiss passport. Stupor: the authorities then replied that he “had been treated by mistake as a Swiss citizen by the authorities until then”, summarizes the TF in the judgment he has just rendered.

The injured party was born to a Lebanese father and a French mother who had obtained Swiss nationality through a previous marriage. Obtaining a passport with a white cross was not automatic under these conditions and the Court notes that the Zurich authorities made a mistake when the young man was born.

Crippling debts

After hearing the startling news, he used a possibility offered by the Migration Secretariat (SEM), which states that “anyone who has lived for five years in the belief that he or she possesses Swiss nationality and has indeed been treated as a citizen Switzerland by a cantonal or communal authority may submit an application for facilitated naturalization. ” SEM’s response to his request: “Nein!” The main reason is that the plaintiff was in debt.

The young man did not give up and appealed to the Federal Administrative Court, which rejected his appeal. Still not discouraged, he took the case to the Federal Court. With arguments that are not devoid of common sense.

A reject and a flower

Because among his debts, there were unpaid military tax bills. “If I’m not Swiss, then I don’t have to pay this tax and therefore you can’t count these debts,” he said. Another argument put forward by the tenacious appellant: if he had known that he did not have the Swiss passport and if he had known that debts would cause him problems in obtaining it, he would have been more careful not to have them. accumulate.

The TF was not convinced. In his judgment, he develops a legal-historical argument and goes back to the old versions of the laws on naturalization, before dismantling all the arguments of the young man. But he ends with a little balm in the heart: “Due to the special circumstances, it is justified exceptionally to waive the charging of costs for the proceedings before the Federal Court”, said the High Court.


Administration blunder learns Swiss passport mistake

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