in the context of family reunification (joining your spouse or registered partner in Switzerland)
The criteria of integration of foreigners residing in Switzerland are defined by federal legislation.
To know or to learn the spoken language of the place of residency is regarded as beneficial for integration.
It is for this reason that persons who join their partners are required to know or to commit to learning a national language (French in the canton of Vaud) upon arriving in Switzerland (Integration Recommendations).
This disposition does not apply to citizens of a member state of the European Union (EU) or of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) who benefit from the Agreement on the free movement of persons.
Definition of an A1 level, required for speaking :
- The person can understand and use familiar and daily expressions, as well as express themselves with simple words to satisfy basic needs.
- The person can introduce him or herself, or others. The person can ask others where they live, who their friends are and what they possess etc.- and can answer the same kinds of questions.
- The person can communicate in a simple manner with someone who speaks slowly and distinctly and shows a willingness to cooperate.
Proof of language level and French courses
Information on how to obtain proof of language level (attestation, certificate,...) :
The language passport issued by the Fide Secretariat certifies language skills.
Information on the FIDE Language Passport
Transitional measure: throughout 2019, until a list of organisations accredited to issue certificates is established, other institutions may issue proof that the concerned person meets the minimum language requirements.
NB: Persons who have provided a certificate before January 1, 2020 benefit from this transitional measure: their language certificate does not necessarily have to have been issued by an accredited body.
From 1 January 2020, only FIDE, DELF language certificates or any other certificate recognized by the Migration Secretariat will be able to attest to the level of language.
French language learning:
Brochure « Welcome to the Canton of Vaud » from the Cantonal Office for the Integration of Foreigners and the Prevention of Racism (BCI), available in 13 languages (pages 15 to 20)
Swiss Private Schools in the Canton of Vaud
Federal Act of 16 December 2005 on foreigners and integration - Loi sur les étrangers et l'intégration - LEI - (modified in 2019) articles 43, al. 1 lit d and 44, al. 1 lit d
Ordonnance relative à l'admission, au séjour et à l'exercice d'une activité lucrative (OASA) - Federal order of 24 October 2007 related to the admission, residency and the practice of a lucrative activity: article 73a, al. 1 et 2