Language skills for permit C

Reading the court case is kinda funny. It had nothing to do with language skills (was about a german citizen in Zurich who had debt) but ended up having so much impact mostly around language.

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Yes, they‘re taking debt seriously.

Imagine if this were the U.S., on the other hand. I mean… can you really claim being well integrated into U.S. society without being or having been in debt?

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Quick question, some UE countries don’t need any language skills for permit C right?

Last time I checked, Portuguese didn’t need any language skills to apply for the permit C

Only until May 2023 (in Vaud), see link and @baldur ’s post above,

Thank you! I wonder if the same will happen in Zurich

«In allen Fällen muss zudem mindestens ein Sprachnachweis der Deutschen Sprache auf Niveau A2 mündlich und A1 schriftlich erbracht werden»

Niederlassungsbewilligung | Kanton Zürich


« Von den Sprachanforderungen sind Staatsangehörige folgender Länder ausgenommen: Belgien, Dänemark, Deutschland, Frankreich, Fürstentum Liechtenstein, Griechenland, Italien, Niederlande, Österreich, Portugal, Spanien. »üre%20Sprachanforderungen.pdf

But, as @nabalzbhf mentioned below, this must be outdated, because…

«Staatsangehörige von Staaten, mit denen Niederlassungsvereinbarungen bestehen (Ziff. und Anhang «Liste der Niederlassungs- vereinbarungen, die einen Anspruch auf Erteilung der Niederlassungsbewilligung einräumen»), müssen wegen der Rechtsprechung des BGer (Urteil BGer 2C_881/2021 vom 9. Mai 2022 E. 4.2. und 4.3) die Sprachkompetenzen ebenfalls nachweisen.»


Yes, same everywhere, it’s a new federal tribunal jurisprudence.

To provide a concrete example, this is a sample Kantonaler Deutschtest für die Einbürgerung:

Kantonaler Deutschtest für die Einbürgerung (KDE) | Kanton Zürich

This is supposed to be A2 in reading/writing.

There used to be bilateral contracts. 5 years for some countries, 10 years for others, including EU countries. Have you confirmed the 5 year requirements applies? Otherwise, just give the migration office a call.

I think so, but I haven’t researched. Unlike for naturalization, I think there’s no requirement to have lived in the same place for x years. Check the official web sites, they often include simple summaries of the laws. Or, again, ask migration office or local Gemeinde. They can be a great and helpful ressource to get an answer.

Whether moving regionally just to get a simpler language test for this permit is up to you, of course.

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Ah. Actually I had totally forgotten that my C needs to be renewed this summer and I’m not a native Gernan speaker nor have done any studies in German :unamused:

That KDE i should pass without practice, but if I don’t have to… :sweat_smile: How large do you estimate the probability that they’ll ask for at least that KDE?

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I can confirm that in Geneva they are asking for that language proof.

I’m from Portugal (so, in the “friendly” list) and I’m moving next month from a B permit to a C one. And I had to do an exam (FIDE) where I had to take at least A1 in writing and A2 in speaking… I have to say that it was kind of easy and at the end I got B1 on both.


Does anyone else have experience from Zurich? Are they in practice ask you certificates now for those in “old friendly list”?

Pretty annoying! I was up for permit C in 1.5 years and speak no German whatsoever.

It’s pretty sure they will ask, right now is the transitory period. Between now and May 2023 seems to depend on cantons (e.g. Geneva above already asked, I’ve seen some mention of May 2023 in iirc Vaud).


No problem - you just stay on a B permit then!?
There’s little to no practical difference between the two.

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Greetings to my fellow countryman, keep in mind that for citizens of new (potentially dangerous :smiley: ) EU member states, application for settlement permit after 5y is granted on exception basis - you will have to prove your integration, language skill is only of the requirements, I recommend joining some club as well.
I will be applying for C after 5y in October in City of Zürich, hopefully everything will be fine there.
I have read in one FB expat group that in some conservative Gemeindes they might ask for stuff like which newspaper are you subscribing etc. (yes even for C, and right answer in this case is Weltwoche :smiley: ), my parents were not given C earlier because they are not member of any Verein (conservative mountain gemeinde)

Im gonna have to disappoint you here - for Slovak nationals and nationals of other member countries that joined at the same time, the waiting period is 10 years. And you need to speak French for Vaud permit. You can build your case and ask for an earlier assignment of permanent residency (permit C), but for that they will likely expect you to speak French at even higher level (like B1) and show exemplary inclusion into the life of your canton. And the nationality process is not a walk in the park either :slight_smile:

FYI. I sent an e-mail to the Migrationsamt in Zürich, obviously in my best German :grin:, asking whether the renewal would be subject to the new language requirements. Quote:

Die Voraussetzung bzgl. Sprachzertifikat gilt deshalb nur für die erstmalige Erteilung der Niederlassungsbewilligung, nicht aber für die Verlängerung der Kontrollfrist.

Obviously this is “just” a response from a civil servant working there, i.e. it has no legal value. However, for me it’s enough not to do a language course before I receive the Verfallsanzeige, which I presume will have the exact requirements.


This relates to extension of permit, I think in previous posts we mentioned this but also the shift from permit b to c.

This may mean that renewal is not a problem but the response does not specify obtaining a Permanent stay (c) from temporary (b)

2 posts were split to a new topic: Learning local language

In earlier discussions it was also not clear whether these would apply to renewals.

On the other hand I’d say it’s pretty clear now that these language requirements are in force when requesting the C permit dor the first time.