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Legal Issues

What are your rights and obligations in Switzerland? On this page we have summarised the most important contacts for advice centres relating to topics like residence permits, naturalisation, family reunification, marriage, and protection against discrimination.


What are the different types of residence permits? What are my rights with my residency status?

Naturalised Citizenship and Family Reunification

How can I become a naturalised citizen?

The following websites have important information and contacts on this topic:

How can I bring my family to Switzerland?

Legal advice and migration law

Where can I get free legal advice?

The following institutions provide free or low-cost legal advice:

You can find a list of legal advice centres on the City of Bern’s website (DE).

Which Swiss laws particularly affect me as a foreign national?

Special rights and protection against discrimination

Where can I get help with conflicts with the administration?

  • The City of Bern’s Ombudsstelle advises and mediates in conflicts with the city administration.

Where can I get help if I have experienced discrimination?

Have you experienced racism or other discrimination? Do you want to support other people who have experienced discrimination? The following offices can provide you with information and advice:

What rights do I have when getting married, within a marriage or partnership, and / or when I’m pregnant?

Are you pregnant and currently employed? Mothers and pregnant people have special rights.

Do you have questions about getting married?

  • You can find more information about getting married and marriage rights at (EN, DE, FR, IT, RM).
  • Only you decide if, whom and when you marry! Have you experienced it otherwise? The City of Bern’s website on forced marriages provides more information on this topic (DE).
  • Are you in a binational relationship? Are you new in Switzerland? The organisation Frabina offers professional counselling for people of different nationalities and cultures living together (EN, DE, FR, ES).
  • The Women's Counseling Center Infra Bern offers free, multilingual counseling on legal topics related to marriage, divorce, maternity leave and immigration law (EN, FR).

Domestic violence

I experience violence at home. Where can I find help?

  • The Canton of Bern has a summary of different counselling centres on a convenient emergency card in many languages.

Weitere Informationen.