Switzerland’s cross-border couples can now reunite, officials say

Switzerland's cross-border couples can now reunite, officials say
Border between the Swiss city of Kreuzlingen and the German city of Konstanz is now open for family reunions. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
After weeks of separation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, couples and families living in Switzerland, Austria and Germany can now reunite with their loved ones.

Starting on May 16th, border restrictions between Switzerland, Germany and Austria have been eased, allowing couples, who have been separated on the opposite sides of the border since the state of emergency was declared in mid-March, to meet again.

“Thanks to the positive developments regarding the coronavirus pandemic, reflected in a sharp drop in the number of infections, Germany, Austria and Switzerland have decided to lift the travel restrictions that currently apply to unmarried couples in cross-border relationships”, State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) announced on its website. 

Restrictions are also lifted for people visiting relatives or attending weddings or funerals, or who own a property in a neighbouring country, have to carry out agricultural work, or take care of animals.

READ MORE: Will Swiss residents be able to travel freely within Europe when borders reopen? 

People who want to cross the border for those purposes must complete a self-declaration form and present it at the border. The form can be downloaded from the websites of the respective ministries and printed out.

However, those who make false declarations or abuse the rules “may be prosecuted under the law in the country concerned”, the SEM said.

“The public health requirements and recommendations valid in the relevant state will apply to those entering the country”, it added.

These rules are not yet extended to France, due to travel restrictions still in effect in the country, or to Italy, as it was in partial lockdown at the time the agreement was concluded.

The borders will remain closed for tourism until June 15th, when Switzerland will lift travel restrictions with Germany, France and Austria. 

Italy was not included in the arrangement but has announced on Saturday its plan to reopen its borders to tourists from the European Union on June 3rd.


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