All male Swiss citizens are required to perform military or civilian service. Those who are fit for military service but have a conscientious objection to serving may apply to do civilian service. Civil defence service is an option for those who are unfit for military service, but fit enough to perform civil defence service.
Whether someone is fit for military service is decided during the recruitment process. Men and interested women are called up for recruitment at the age of 19.
Those who are assigned to civil defence service will be summoned to attend the basic training (link content only in german, italian or french) camp by their canton of residence. Training lasts 10 to 19 days.
Service begins in the year of basic training, and continues for the next 14 years or until 245 days of service have been performed. You can be called up for a maximum of 66 days per year. You will receive notification (link content only in german, french or italian) of the starting date for your service at least six weeks in advance. This requirement does not apply to disaster and emergency missions.
To postpone a call-up for civil defence service, you must submit a written request stating the reasons at least ten days before you are due to report for service. The civil defence office will decide whether or not to accept your request. If it is not approved, you must report for service. If you do not need to postpone the entire call-up period, you can also submit a request for leave.
If you do not perform military or civilian service and even if you perform civil defence service, you must pay an exemption tax. However, if you perform civil defence service, every day of service reduces the amount due by 4 per cent. The exemption tax amounts to 3 per cent of your taxable income, but at least CHF 400 a year.
Civil defence service is open to everyone. The following persons may volunteer for civil protection service:
Men who are no longer required to perform civil defence service;
Men who are no longer required to perform military or civilian service;
Women with Swiss citizenship from the day they turn 18;
Foreign nationals residing in Switzerland from the day they turn 18.