Acquisition of Swiss citizenship gives the right to residence for an unlimited duration and also full political rights. Foreign nationals may apply for Swiss citizenship in accordance with the Swiss Citizenship Act (SCA). At the end of the naturalisation process, a Swiss passport may be granted or refused. This means that the number of naturalisations reflects both the willingness of foreign nationals living in Switzerland to apply for citizenship of this country and the willingness of the Swiss authorities to grant them this (by applying criteria set by the SCA, particularly with regard to the social and economic integration of candidates).
From a demographic point of view, it is important to know how many people acquire Swiss citizenship, by what means and how many hold foreign citizenship in addition to Swiss citizenship. Indeed, the acquisition of Swiss nationality does not necessarily entail the loss of the original nationality. Many naturalised Swiss citizens thus retain their previous nationality and now hold two nationalities. Dual citizenship may also result from the acquisition of another nationality by a Swiss citizen or from the line of descent (binational parents).