Swiss mom, foreign dad, not married - Swiss child? Bürgerort?

My girlfriend (swiss) and I (not a swiss citizen) are not married and think that the child will have my last name. As I understand the child will/can:

The following may acquire Swiss citizenship automatically from birth:

1.2 A child of a Swiss mother who is not married to the father.

  1. Bürgerrecht
    Das Kind erhält das Kantons- und Gemeindebürgerrecht des Elternteils, dessen Namen es
    trägt (Art. 271 Abs. 1 ZGB)

But what Bürgerort will s/he have? The one from the city it first live in?

No. It will get the one(s) of the mother. In Switzerland you never get the Bürgerort from the place you lived or got born.

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I think it is meant when both parents are Swiss.

I thought it might be like when someone gets swiss citizenship. Then s/he gets the Bürgerort of the Gemeinde where s/he lives, no?

Is that the case even if the child carries my name?

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I did consider this, but have not found a source describing our situation only if mom is foreign.

But it’s nice to hear :slight_smile:

If you get it by yourself, yes. Otherwise you get it from your spouse I guess.

Nevertheless Bürgerrecht is just a historical curiosity and AFAIK it has no effect on your life. Even if you are bankrupt, it is your commune of residence that takes over you.

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It depends. In the case of a regular naturalisation you basically ask your Gemeinde to obtain citizenship from that Canton and Gemeinde, because in Switzerland, there isn’t something like a Swiss citizenship in itself. There is only a Gemeinde and Cantonal citizenship and through that you obtain Swiss citizenship, but you never get only a Swiss citizenship or something like that. So, in the regular process, yes because then you ask for citizenship in that Gemeinde.

In the simplified process, e.g. if you marry your girlfriend and then you get the Swiss citizenship in the simplified process, you get the Bürgerort of your girlfriend/wife, not the one from the place you live.


I am half Swiss and my kids are half Swiss (legally speaking. A quarter Swiss biologically).

You always inherit your Swiss parent’s municipality of origin.

If a person is naturalized on the basis of marriage, they inherit their Swiss spouse’s municipality of origin.

Where you live is only relevant for naturalization without marriage.


So we’ve been at the Standesamt and it’s like you guys said:

Since the mom is swiss, the child will inherit her municipality of origin (Bürgerort) no matter the last name. I’m happy with that :slight_smile: Still struggling with whether to give it my foreign or mom’s swiss last name, but that’s another story…

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You can check if in your case the naming of the child can be done according to the customs of your country of origin (like double surnames for Spanish). Not sure if it works if one parent is swiss, but worth asking.

P.S. and congratulations! I tend to jump into practical issues overlooking simple things of life.

Thank you! :slight_smile:

Is that actually possible? Like a couple could give the child a last name of both parents if that’s the way it’s done in their home country? That would solve the issue :smiley:

Tangent: It’s so stupid we’re not allowed to have a hypenated-last name here in Switzerland!

Yes. Though I don’t know if it’s going to work if one parent is swiss.

From a purely practical point of view, you should probably give the same name as the main caregiver.
If not, the main caregiver must always have a proof of maternity (joint custody document or whatever) if there is the need to proof you are truly the mother.
Typical example: post office. Retrieving a pack adresses to your child without having the same name, if the clerk dies things by the book, requires proof of relationship.
Doesn’t always happens, it did happen to me once, since my children have the mother name.

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Interestingly it is legal in my country! I’m really interested in what the Zivilstandesamt is going to say when I ask them.

See on the other hand as the dad, I feel the pressure/scrutiny will be much greater on me if I, say travel, with my child who carries his mom’s last name.

Irrespective of the child’s name, you’ll face more scrutiny just for accompanying a child as a male.


Considering that little children can’t stop talking “Daddy this, daddy that”, not really.

They will say it is not possible. If the child’s center of life (i.e. you live in CH) is in Switzerland you can’t apply foreign law regarding the name. There are people who tried that and they lost the case in court (Verwaltungsgericht des Kantons Zürich: VB.2018.00414) and the Federal Court rejected an appeal.

In short, if your name is A and your girlfriends name is B, you have to choose either A or B for the child.

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I was going of of what @Dr.PI said. Maybe I did misunderstand him/her though.

But it’s interesting, and the link is pretty much our situation. Thank you!

And I know an unmarried couple, one parent Spanish, another a EU national, who live in Switzerland permanently and their child has a double surname according to Spanish customs.

There are different regulations all over Switzerland and you won’t know if it works or not until you try.