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What you need to know to register a partnership

You'll find all the important documents here.

The answer in detail

Note: As of 1 July 2022, no new registered partnerships can be established in Switzerland. From then on, marriage will be the only option open to same-sex couples. However, already existing registered partnerships can continue without a special declaration. he registered partnership can be converted into a marriage at any time with a declaration to the registry office. Alternatively, a new marriage can also be entered into.

If you're not planning to marry, it is possible to register your partnership.

How do I officially register a partnership and what effects does it have?

Who can be registered?

Only same-sex couples can have their partnership registered. Both parties must be at least 18 years of age and able to exercise sound judgment. They cannot already be married or live in another registered partnership. Likewise, they cannot be directly related (no registered partnership with a brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, a parent, adoptive parent, or grandparent). One of the partners must have Swiss citizenship or reside in Switzerland.

What do I have to do to register a partnership officially?

An application for registration must be submitted to the civil registry office at the place of residence of one of the partners at least three to four months before the preferred registration date. The civil registry office checks whether the prerequisites have been met in so-called preliminary proceedings and arranges an appointment with the couple for the registration within three months of the decision. The registration is publicly certified (i.e. the civil registrar certifies the registration).  The partners receive a partnership certificate.

What are the consequences of a registered partnership?

As with a married couple, the registered partners form a community of solidarity and interests. In other words, they assist one another, care for each other, and jointly provide for the upkeep of this community. If each of the partners have children, they support each other in carrying out parental responsibilities and maintenance duties.
The legal right to an inheritance applies for registered partners (as with married couples). Moreover, each partner represents the community for its ongoing needs. For example, both partners must agree when terminating a rental agreement or selling a joint apartment. There is also an obligation to provide each other with information regarding income, assets, and debt.
By law, separate ownership of each partner's property applies to registered partners. With a property contract, other arrangements can be made and the division of assets in the event of a dissolution of the partnership can be agreed. The contract must be publicly certified.

How do I dissolve a registered partnership?

The registered partnership is dissolved either by the death of one of the partners or by court order. It is also possible to obtain a court declaration of invalidity. 
If the partners wish to go their separate ways, they can submit a joint request to the court for dissolution of the partnership. However, one partner can individually request court dissolution if the partners have lived apart for at least one year at the time the petition is filed. As in divorce law, occupational benefits acquired during the term of the partnership are shared. The legal right to an inheritance is revoked. In general, the partners are responsible for their own maintenance after the partnership is dissolved. Exceptions are made for cases in which a partner is not gainfully employed or is employed only on a limited basis.

Can my foreign partner come to Switzerland after the partnership is registered?

Yes, after the registration the foreign partner is entitled to receive a temporary residence permit for Switzerland or extend it. This also applies if the other partner is not a Swiss citizen, but only has a permanent residence permit. You must either submit the application for the immigration of family members to the responsible cantonal immigration authority or to the Swiss embassy/consulate abroad, which will forward the application to the responsible authority. If the partner is moving to Switzerland from a non-EU/EFTA member country, the issue of the permit is tied to the condition of a shared home. Exceptions are made if their are important reasons for separate residences and the community is still in tact. The criterion for living together does not apply to foreign partners who live in EU/EFTA member countries.
After orderly and continuous residence of five years in Switzerland, the foreign partner of a Swiss citizen or permanent resident receives a permanent residence permit. This is issued without time limitation and thus gives the foreign partner a fixed right to reside in Switzerland.