Civil registration


Country Report: Civil registration Last updated: 30/06/23


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Every birth in Switzerland must be recorded as soon as possible by the civil register office at the place of birth. Parents must present the required identity documents.[1] If the procurement of documents is impossible or unreasonable and the personal data are not disputed, a substitute declaration (Ersatzerklärung) can be made. Residence in Switzerland is not required for the registration of births or paternity recognition, and is therefore also possible for persons without a residence permit. In practice, registration due to missing documents is sometimes problematic, depending on the readiness of the relevant authorities to allow for a substitute declaration.

In principle, persons seeking asylum or rejected asylum seekers may also marry in Switzerland. Nevertheless, lawful residence in Switzerland is necessary. Persons who do not have a residence permit can apply for a short stay permit for the purpose of marriage. In addition to proof of legal residence, identity documents must also be submitted. This may pose a problem for asylum seekers as they endanger their asylum procedures if they contact their home country during the procedure. Furthermore, it is often not possible to obtain documents due to the situation in the home country. In such cases, a substitute declaration can also be requested. In practice, problems with marriage due to missing documents have been reported to the Swiss Refugee Council, depending on the readiness of the relevant authorities to allow for a substitute declaration. Differences exist in practice between cantons.




[1], ‘Registering a birth’, available in English at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection