Swiss citizens living abroad can exercise their political rights and vote on federal issues and participate in National Council elections if they:
The Application form to exercise political rights needs to be submitted to the Swiss representation with which you are registered.
Participation in cantonal votes and elections is regulated in the legislation of each canton and not possible in all cantons. Please enquire at your communal authority about the possibility of participating in cantonal votes and elections.
Swiss living abroad exercise their political rights generally in their last place of residence or their place of origin.
In most cantons, a central authority keeps the electoral register of the Swiss Abroad, organizes the dispatch of voting material and is responsible for counting the votes.
Below is a list of the cantonal offices responsible for voting and elections in the canton you are registered for voting.
If you have received voting material late or not at all please contact the respective authority in your canton.
Should you receive your voting papers directly from your last place of residence/commune you need to contact them directly.
Kantonale Verwaltung Appenzell Innerrhoden
T +41 71 788 93 11
T +41 71 353 61 11
F +41 71 353 68 64
Wahlen und Abstimmungen
T +41 62 835 12 10
F +41 62 835 44 47
Staatskanzlei des Kantons Bern
Amt für Regierungsunterstützung und politische Rechte
3000 Bern 8
T +41 31 633 75 11
Recht und Volksrecht
T +41 61 267 63 00
T +41 61 552 50 32
État de Fribourg/ Staat Freiburg
Chancellerie de l'Etat de Fribourg CHA
Rue des Chanoines 17
T +41 26 305 10 45
F +41 26 305 10 48
République et canton de Genève
Service des votations et élections
route des Acacias 25
1211 Genève 26
T +41 22 5465200
Staatskanzlei des Kantons Glarus
T +41 55 646 6011 / +41 55 646 6012
Tel. +41 81 257 22 23
Fax +41 81 257 21 41
République et Canton du Jura
Secrétariat de la Chancellerie d'Etat
2, rue de l'Hôpital
T + 41 32 420 72 00
F + 41 32 420 72 01
Justiz und Sicherheitsdepartement
T +41 41 228 51 40
République et canton de Neuchâtel
Rue de la Collégiale 12
T +41 32 889 40 03
F +41 32 889 60 71
T +41 618 79 02
F +41 618 79 11
T +41 41 666 62 03
Dienst für politische Rechte
T +41 58 229 88 88
T +41 52 632 73 62
Wahl und Abstimmungsdienst
T +41 32 627 20 41
T +41 41 8192610
T +41 58 345 53 30
F +41 58 345 53 39
Repubblica e cantone Ticcino
Cancelleria dello Stato
Piazza Governo 6
T +41 91 814 41 11
F +41 91 814 44 35
T +41 41 875 2007
État de Vaud
Chancellerie de l’État
T +41 21 316 40 40
Place de la Planta 3
Palais du Gouvernment
T +41 27 606 21 00
Staatskanzlei des Kantons Zug
T +41 41 728 31 20
Direktion der Justiz und des Innern
Wahlen & Abstimmungen
T +41 43 259 75 75
Background photo credits: Depositphotos, Francine Schaepper Photography, Organisation of the Swiss Abroad, CSA Oceania
As happened in 2020, due to the COVID-19, the Congress of the Swiss Abroad and the meeting of the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) that were to be held in Lugano, again had to be postponed to next year. Subsequently, the Council meeting was held online, and split over two sessions. The first 5-hour long session was held late at night Australian time on 20 August, the second took place on 23 August and lasted just over 4 hours.
From 1 May 2021 the AHV/Swiss Compensation Office in Geneva requires again the Life Certificate form to be officially confirmed by a local authority (Consulate General of Switzerland in Sydney, Embassy of Switzerland in Canberra, Centrelink, Public Notary, Justice of Peace).
At the next voting day in June, Swiss Abroad in Australia that are registered in the cantons of Aargau, Ticino and Geneva, will have their voting papers delivered to Australia via diplomatic courier.
Thanks to everyone who provided feedback about the late arrival of voting papers in Australia. Pilot projects like these are the result of Swiss Abroad providing feedback, CSA delegates and media raising awareness and understanding and support by Members of parliament.
Swiss citizens living abroad who receive an OASI (AHV) or DI (IV) pension must submit a certified life certificate to the Central Compensation Office in Geneva (ZAS) every year. Due to the Corona pandemic, it has become difficult to visit authorities, meet deadlines and send documents by post in many countries. For this reason, the Swiss Compensation Office in Geneva is temporarily accepting life certificates by e-mail. These can be confirmed by the insured persons themselves by means of a signature (without an official stamp).
The spring meeting of the Council of the Swiss Abroad was held online, and split over two sessions. The first one was held on 6 February, the second on 20 March.
Last Sunday was voting day in Switzerland. For most Swiss in the Oceania region the voting material again did not arrive in time to send back or has not arrived yet at all.
If you are interested in a stay in Switzerland and working as language assistant this might be something for you!
More information and contact details can be found on the website of Movetia, click here!
Many Swiss in Oceania have expressed their frustration and disappointment on the late or non-arrival of their voting material sent by regular mail from Switzerland.
The term of your current four CSA Oceania Delegates ends mid 2021, and elections are being held in Australia starting the process early in 2021.
If you are interested in a stay in Switzerland and working as language assistant then this might be something for you!
More information and contact on the website of Movetia
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Congress of the Swiss Abroad and the meeting of the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) that were to be held in Lugano this August had to be postponed to next year. As a consequence – and as a first of its kind – the CSA meeting was conducted virtually, utilising the online conference system ‘Demio’. It took place on 10 July 2020 and a total of 86 delegates participated.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting of the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA) on 14 March 2020 in Berne had to be cancelled. As a consequence - and as a first in the history of the organisation – the 127 delegates were asked to cast their votes electronically in matters that couldn’t be postponed until the next meeting.
Sadly, the Congress of the Swiss Abroad that was to be held in Lugano from 21 to 23 August 2020, and with it the CSA summer assembly, had to be cancelled.
Dear fellow Swiss
As you are all aware the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is quickly spreading around the world but the World Health Organisation (WHO) has not changed its warning level (public health emergency of international concern) since January 30, 2020.
A lot has happened lately with regards to e-voting. There has been growing resistance and a fair bit of scare-mongering in Switzerland regarding the introduction of e-voting. Whilst the advantages are obvious to the government and the Swiss Abroad, sceptics argue that the trust in the democratic process is compromised due to e-security uncertainty and the cost of developing a secure system is also a concern. Earlier this year, a broad alliance of political parties has been collecting signatures for a popular initiative. Their aim is to ban the introduction of e-voting for at least five years.
The legislative body of the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA), the Council of the Swiss Abroad (CSA), met for its biannual meeting at the town hall in Bern on 23 March 2019. For the second time, the meeting followed on an exchange with Swiss parliamentarians for an update on political issues with relevance for the Swiss Abroad.
Canton Geneva has announced it can no longer afford to bear the cost of an e-voting system and plans to abandon the project, according to Swiss public radio, RTS. This leaves only one other e-voting project still standing in Switzerland run by Swiss Post.
Read the full Swissinfo report here
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 13 June 2018 – The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) representing the interests of 751,800 compatriots living abroad, is disappointed that the Council of States today rejected Motion 17.3626 by 30 votes to 9 with 4 abstentions. The Council of States has decided not to follow the majority of its Foreign Policy Commission (APK-S) and has rejected a motion calling on PostFinance to accept Swiss Abroad on similar terms as citizens residing in Switzerland. The problem that has existed for our compatriots living abroad for ten years remains unresolved.
OSA PRESS RELEASE: Bern, 30 May 2018 – The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) is relieved that the Council of States has today decided to follow the recommendation of its Commission on Social Security and Health (SGK-S) to delete the amendment to Article 4 (1) in the context of the supplementary benefits reform. This means that the current rules remain in place. Last March, the National Council approved an application whereby Swiss Abroad would have had to pay social security contributions (AHV) for at least ten years in order to qualify for supplementary benefits, which would have discriminated against Swiss Abroad.
On 10 March 2018, at he CSA meeting in Bern, the executive of the OSA announced that it had entered into a partnership with the Geneva Cantonal Bank (BCGE).
More information is available under the topic Swiss Banks.
The Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) would like to know about difficulties you have encountered in the area of health insurance and the practical problems that you face as a Swiss person living abroad. This may be of specific relevance to those living temporarily in the Oceania region or those in need for travel insurance when visiting Switzerland. By the same token, if you have had positive experiences or wish to share good practices, please do so!
The purpose is to look at ways of improving the situation of Swiss people living abroad in this regard.
You can send your experiences and suggestions to us delegates and/or directly to the head office in Bern: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Swiss Parliament voted for the Introduction of Automatic Exchange of Information with New Zealand. A summary and comments by Peter Ehrler, New Zealand Member of the Council of the Swiss Abroad.
On 27 September, the National Council (Nationalrat) followed the recommendation from the Economic Commission of the Lower House and rejected implementing the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) with New Zealand. The majority of the members are of the opinion that the Swiss in New Zealand are disadvantaged over other Swiss living abroad, because of the Swiss pension (AHV) being confiscated by the New Zealand Government.
Are you receiving an income from the Swiss Social Insurance (AHV/AVS or IV/AI)?
You may be entitled to claim a tax deduction in Australia for personal contributions paid into the insurance.
For more news please check our News Archive