Voluntary military service in Switzerland

Every year young Swiss from abroad complete the Recruit School (RS) on a voluntary basis. This lasts for 18 or 21 weeks and is normally completed at the age of 20.


It should be made clear, however, that not every Swiss expatriate who so desires is called up for the RS. In fact, he cannot be simultaneously a citizen of his country of residence (although he can announce his intention to renounce citizenship of his country of residence in due course). On the other hand, dual nationals who do not reside in their second country, but live in a third country, can be called up.


Moreover, the future recruit has to master at least one of the Swiss national languages and must not have been sentenced for a serious offence in his country of residence.


Swiss expatriates who wish to complete the RS on a voluntary basis should enrol with the competent Swiss representation. Recruitment age is normally 19 and a special procedure is followed. In exceptional cases the applicant can send in a request for early recruitment. But, in any case, it is advisable to contact the competent Swiss representation in good time. The military service record will be drawn up by the authorities in Switzerland.


If a young Swiss expatriate recruit's financial situation does not enable him to cover travel costs to Switzerland, he may on certain conditions formulate a request for reimbursement at the Swiss representation.