What is fide?

Drapeau suisse
Being able to speak one of the Swiss languages and understand the country's culture is essential for people who want to settle in Switzerland.

Being able to speak one of the Swiss languages and understand the country's culture is essential for people who want to settle in Switzerland. Fide, which means "French, Italian, German in Switzerland", plays a crucial role in the integration process for expatriates and people coming non-EU/EFTA countries.

This article presents:

  • The programme.
  • Its specificities.
  • The different levels required to obtain Swiss residence permits.
  • The importance of this certification in easing the transition to Swiss life.

Overview of this Swiss programme

The aim of the programme is to promote linguistic integration and enable new arrivals from non-EU/EFTA countries to acquire the linguistic and cultural skills they need to settle and integrate in Switzerland on a long-term basis.

The programme is coordinated by the fide secretariat and implemented by a number of federal experts, including:

  • Public authorities.
  • Educational institutions.
  • Language schools and language trainers.
  • Examiner networks.
  • Specialist services.

These experts educate and train expats and people from non-EU/EFTA countries in one of the Swiss languages (French, German or Italian) in order to:

  • Officially recognise their language skills.
  • Facilitate their integration in Switzerland.

The programme focuses on everyday use of the language, to provide practical linguistic skills to communicate more easily in day-to-day situations.

Passing the fide test is now compulsory for anyone from non-EU/EFTA countries wishing to obtain a settlement permit to live and work in Switzerland.

The test

The test can be taken in French, German or Italian. It includes two parts:

  • The oral test, lasting 40 minutes, which includes listening and speaking.
  • The written test, lasting 60 minutes, which includes reading and writing.

You can choose to take only the oral or only the written test, or both.

At the end of the fide test, your language level will be assessed:

  • A1 : A ce niveau, la personne peut communiquer de façon simple dans son environnement personnel à condition que son interlocuteur parle lentement et clairement. Elle peut se présenter et présenter quelqu’un avec des mots simples, répondre brièvement et simplement à des questions et exprimer ses besoins.
  • A2: At this level, you can understand simple questions and messages relating to areas of your life. You can communicate in routine situations in an institution. You can write in simple terms about your background, education and work experience and describe personal experiences.
  • B1: At this level, you can understand the main information provided by school, your employer, your property management company and authorities, provided the language is clear and standard and the information is familiar. You can deal with most situations likely to arise in an everyday life. You can express opinions and goals, hopes and ambitions, and briefly justify or explain them.

Which fide level for which residence permit?

Language requirements vary according to the type of residence permit the expatriate needs to obtain or renew:

  • B permit: A1 oral level.
  • Advance C permit: To obtain an advance C permit after 5 years' residence in Switzerland, the expatriate must provide proof of a B1 oral and A1 written level.
  • C Permit (settlement permit): To obtain a C permit after 10 years' residence in Switzerland, the person must provide proof of a level of A2 oral and A1 written.
  • Naturalisation: to obtain Swiss naturalisation after 10 years' residence, you must provide proof of a B1 oral and A2 written language level.

The fide test: An investment in the future

Beyond the legal requirements, this test is an excellent way of improving your language skills. This can have a considerable impact on your quality of life in Switzerland and the success of your expatriation. Proficiency in French, German or Italian strengthens social ties, gives you access to more professional opportunities and contributes to a sense of belonging.

In summary

When planning to move to Switzerland, it is essential to understand the language requirements. Fide allows you to demonstrate your ability to communicate in French, Italian or German, paving the way for a successful integration into Swiss life.

Investing in the acquisition of the linguistic and cultural skills needed is an investment in your future as a competent and confident individual in Switzerland's multilingual context.

To find out more, go to our dedicated page.

Vous avez aimé cet article ? Partagez-le !

Do you want to boost your business today?

Do you want to find out more?

Learn how we helped 100 top brands gain success