On May 18th, Swiss authorities announced that unmarried couples and non-immediate family members would be again allowed to cross into Switzerland with the relaxation of the country’s lockdown restrictions.
The announcement applies only to residents of Switzerland, Germany and Austria, with the governments of each country putting in reciprocal arrangements to allow people to cross.
For residents of other countries, they will be able to cross from June 15th onwards when border controls between Switzerland and all of its neighbours will be relaxed.
As yet, agreement has been reached with all of Switzerland's neighbours other than Italy. However that is expected to take place before the 15th.
Crossing during lockdown
While the lockdown restrictions were up, only citizens, residents, cross-border permit holders and immediate family members – i.e. married couples or parents and children – were allowed past border guards.
To do so however, you’ll need to produce your passport and residency information at the border – along with a completed ‘self-declaration’ form which states the reason for travel.
Note: the rules only apply at the countries’ land borders.
As one disappointed Swiss found out last weekend, air borders remain closed for unmarried and unregistered couples.
Signs at the Italian-Swiss border. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
What form will I need?
Known as a ‘self-declaration’ form, the document asks for basic identity details as well as the reason for crossing the border.
The form can be filled in online but will need to be printed and signed. The form is only available in German, French and Italian, but English speakers can fill out the form by following the guide below.
The first section asks for your name, date of birth, address and telephone number.
The second section asks the person filling in the form to provide the reason for crossing the border.
Three options are available: 1-To visit an unmarried partner, provided the relationship started before March 2020; 2-To visit other family members, including grandchildren, grandparents, siblings, step-siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc; 3-To attend family occasions such as weddings, funerals, and other religious celebrations.
The third section asks for the name, address and telephone number of the person being visited – while the final section requires a signature.
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.
Who is allowed to cross?
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.
As it states on the form, couples needed to be together before the lockdown measures were implemented in March of 2020.