Moving to a new place of residence is not always easy, and it may take a while before you feel at home in our town. In Lucerne, you will find a multitude of projects and offers designed to facilitate your integration.
Integration is a process that we all undergo during our entire lifetime. We are repeatedly challenged to reorient ourselves, to find our place in society, to build a social network, and to play an active role in community life. Our individual opportunities and the support from our environment determine how successful this process will be.
+ federal laws on foreign nationals (german)
You can find all pertinent information on the current bilateral treaties with the European Union in the brochure “EU Citizens in Switzerland” ("EU-Bürgerinnen und Bürger in der Schweiz"), which remains valid until the bilateral treaties are officially revised.
As a welcoming gesture, the city of Lucerne organizes an event for newcomers three times a year, with a city tour followed by a reception in the Kornschütte. The mayor addresses the participants, and consultants are available at a variety of information stands. All newcomers receive a personal invitation.
The Cantonal Bureau for Migration (AMIGRA) invites all new residents from other countries to a welcoming interview in which their rights and obligations are explained. The discussion is intended to provide guidelines for persons who have little or no knowledge of the language, the country, and its people. AMIGRA arranges a binding integration agreement with persons who do not have a legal right to residence or knowledge of German that is focused on enabling them to learn the German language.
Brochure with information for new residents arriving from abroad:
Another department that offers a comprehensive selection of information and advisory options is the FABIA, or Department of Counseling and Integration (FABIA - Kompetenzzentrum Migration). These services are aimed at foreign nationals with type B, C, L, and F residence permits as well as employees of the social-service, education, and public-health departments, technical authorities, and administrators.
A majority of Lucerne’s population speaks the local dialect, also known as Mundart, in which the vocabulary and pronunciation differ significantly from the “high German” (also known as “Schriftdeutsch”) that is taught in the schools. Official documents are also written in high German.
+ List of German-language courses in Lucerne
+ List of intercultural venues in Lucerne (Integration Zentralschweiz)
Everyday contact with native Swiss citizens and Lucerners as well as other migrants is very important. The city of Lucerne has a large number of clubs and leisure activities:
+ Leisure activities
There are a variety of ways to help preschool children learn a language; information can be found under the section “Children”. Important language skills are acquired in kindergarten, so that a two-year kindergarten program is often advisable. For school-age children who have recently arrived in Switzerland and do not speak German, there are entry-level classes (Aufnahmeklassen) in the 2nd-6th grades and the secondary school (Sekundarschule). In these classes they receive intensive instruction in the German language in preparation for transfer to a regular class. Children with insufficient command of German receive additional instruction in German as a second language (Deutsch als Zweitsprache, DaZ) in the regular class.
There are additional alternatives for improving one’s command of German after completing the mandatory school years, for example, by means of the transitional program “Startklar”.
You can find courses in your native language at a variety of organizations, institutions, and meeting places. A variety of options can be found here:
+ HSK Kanton Luzern
+ List of organizations for migrants
+ List of Integration offers
An intercultural library with literature in a wide range of languages can be found at the HelloWelcome.
Lucerne is a cosmopolitan city that values solidarity. Together with many other cities, it observes the International Day Against Racism as a sign that it opposes discrimination and stands for greater tolerance and openness.
Anyone who feels that he or she has been discriminated against because of characteristics such as their native country, ethnic origin, political or religious beliefs, language or external appearance such as skin or eye color should consult a contact and counseling center (Anlauf- und Beratungsstelle) to discuss the situation.
You can find further information at the FABIA
If you need advice on the subject of integration, you can turn to various contact persons and organizations.
The FABIA counsels foreign nationals with type B, C, L, and F residence permits as well as employees of the social-service, education, and public health departments, technical authorities, and administrators.
The Caritas Luzern is responsible for counseling and assisting asylum seekers and refugees.
Anyone who works during his or her stay in Switzerland or remains here for more than three months needs to have a residence permit. This is issued by the Cantonal Department for Migration (kantonales Amt für Migration) in Lucerne. Authorization to stay or work in Switzerland depends on several different prerequisites. Information in regard to the different requirements and types of permit can be obtained from the Department for Migration of the city of Lucerne:
Amt für Migration
+ FABIA also provides information in regard to residence permits.
08. Where can I learn more about the history and political system of Switzerland and the city of Lucerne?
Switzerland has a long history and a unique political system. Learning more about Switzerland is an important component of successful integration. Information on Lucerne’s history can be found in the City Archive (Staatsarchiv).
Information on historical and present-day Switzerland as a confederation of many communities and cantons can be found in the pamphlet „The Swiss Confederation – a brief guide", which can be viewed online in numerous languages or can be ordered free of charge in printed form.
You can find further information on politics in Switzerland and Lucerne here:
+ Politics in Switzerland
+ Politics in Lucerne