American professor denied Swiss citizenship

In Switzerland every community can have its own naturalisation process. So whether your request for naturalisation is successful can also depend on where you live. (SRF/

This content was published on October 23, 2014 - 17:00

A rejected naturalisation request in Einsiedeln has triggered a heated debate. The district council rejected Irving Dunn’s request for Swiss citizenship, even though the retired chemistry professor has lived and worked in the country for over 40 years and raised his children here.

Had Dunn lived in another community, his request might have passed. There are many different procedures in central Switzerland alone. Dunn’s case led to discussions and criticism towards the practice of letting the public decide who should be naturalised.

In other places this isn’t possible. Kriens near Lucerne for instance has 25,000 inhabitants. Like in most larger communities of central Switzerland it’s not the people but a commission that takes the decisions.

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