Co-determination rights

What political co-determination rights do foreigners have?

Citizenship is a prerequisite for exercising most instruments that give people a political voice in Switzerland; these are reserved for Swiss citizens. Some cantons have already introduced suffrage and the right to vote for foreigners in municipalities, or at cantonal level. The municipalities in these cantons are authorised to grant these rights to its resident foreign population, or not.


Such rights exist at municipal and cantonal level in the cantons of Neuenburg and Jura, and at municipal level in the cantons of Fribourg, Geneva and Vaud. Municipalities in the cantons of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, Basel-Stadt and Grisons can introduce the right to vote for foreigners in community matters (2018).


In some municipalities in the canton of Grisons foreigners can vote at municipal level. You can find out from the municipality where you are living if this applies to you.


There are other opportunities for foreigners to get involved in politics. You have the right to draw up and sign petitions. The right of foreigners to vote also prevails in the majority of parishes under public law in Switzerland. And it is possible to get involved in committees, interest groups and clubs almost everywhere, which is an opportunity to effect change at a local level, in your district, for example, or in the community.