RE/under-employment before getting C permit/citizenship?

I am a spouse of Swiss citizen living in CH. Since I brought a significantly bigger sum into the marriage and is close to my FI number, the plan is that my spouse will continue working and I can take a long sabbatical and start exploring part-time gigs. However, I am currently on B permit and would like to convert to C and eventually apply to citizenship in a few years. I am worried that having unemployment record (despite voluntary) and underemployment could become an issue.

Wondering if anyone has chosen to retire/take up only part-time jobs and later applied for a C permit/citizenship? How did that work out for you?

Probably depends between EU/non-EU as well.

At least for early C-permit, in Zurich it seems they don’t want over 3 months of unemployment (but afaik that’s ok for the “regular” one).

In general those things will depend on Gemeinde/Kanton, participation in economic life is definitely a criteria for citizenship and having a more unusual situation is likely to make things less certain.

The facilitated naturalization (if you’re married) might be an easier path.

For Zurich there’s details in (page 40)

I am a bit confused. You are married to Swiss. So your C permit or passport application will be under facilitation route based on your partner’s support. Isn’t it?

How does it matter if you are employed or unemployed ?


The following persons can apply for simplified naturalisation:

  1. the husband or wife of a Swiss citizen. They must have lived for a total of five years in Switzerland, have spent the year prior to submitting the application in Switzerland and must have been married to and living with the Swiss citizen for three years;.
  2. the husband or wife of a Swiss citizen living abroad. They must have been married to the Swiss citizen for six yearsand have close ties with Switzerland.

Yes I will be under the facilitation route since my spouse is Swiss. The thing is even for facilitated naturalization and for C as well, I think there is a requirement on participation of economic life. I don’t plan on never working, but would really like to take a break (like a year) and look for something lower stress, possibly part-time. And I am worried this decision will fare badly on my application.

I see. I didn’t know about this requirement. I always assumed that as long as one is married , that’s all matters

You just have to prove that you can live without falling in social support. The criteria is that the income of the whole family is above the amount the family will receive by the social support.

If you are close to FI, you don’t need to worry about being unemployed or underemployed.

How far away are you from getting your C Permit? The easiest thing would be to get that done first as you can remain in Switzerland without employment at that point anyway.

I am married to a Swiss citizen and applied for facilitated naturalization while I was unemployed (and continue to be) and it did not hurt my application in any way. As long as you can demonstrate you can live without social support then there are a whole host of other factors that they will use to determine your eligibility anyway. They only really want to make sure you’re not suddenly going to start claiming social benefits the minute you become Swiss, which based on tax returns etc they should be able to see that you are financially stable.


Thank you for sharing your experience!
I’m still a few years away from C. I have definitely considered don’t take risks quitting my job for a sabbatical / downshifting to part-time before getting my C.

My I ask how did you prove you can live without social support? i.e., is it simply the fact that you’re not claiming social benefits, or you proved it with consistent passive income, or an X amount of net worth, etc.?
My worry is, this is Switzerland and the government may have an different idea about what is enough than what my FI number says…

I would say, as long as you don’t ask for benefits, it means you are not dependent on them.

Swiss authorities are normally suspicious because many people have black money / hidden assets. So it’s not that Tax offices doesn’t believe your FI strategy; they just want to be sure you are not hiding anything

As part of the application process you need to submit various forms, such as that you are not taking benefits / don’t have outstanding debt and I presume they can look up your AVS contributions and/or tax returns. In my experience, they were much more interested in how I had integrated into society (making friends, attending events, knowing about Swiss life, volunteering) than they were about my economic or job situation. I even asked during my interview whether not working (which I wasn’t at the time) would be a problem and I was told no.

As a separate point, you and your husband are treated as one tax entity as I am sure you are aware and as you mention he will continue working. At least from an tax administrative perspective you will still have “income” against your entity both via his income and any dividend payments you receive from your invested assets.

Finally, the ultimate decision, at least for facilitated naturalization is taken at a Federal level. While the commune you live in will handle the integration interview/exam (if they have that where you live) I was told by the lady who interviewed me that ultimately it’s Bern who decides and unless you have a criminal record or are some sort of burden on society - which would probably preclude you from getting your C permit in the first place - you should generally be OK.

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