Since the gradual opening of Switzerland's borders began in mid-June, there has been a degree of confusion surrounding who is actually allowed to enter Switzerland and under what circumstances.
This is especially the case regarding non-European Union arrivals.
Who is allowed to travel to Switzerland from outside the EU?
Travellers from Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, Monaco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Romania, San Marino, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Vatican/Holy See are permitted to enter Switzerland as of July 20th.
Access is also given to residents of some EU states outside the Schengen area — Bulgaria, Ireland, Croatia, Romania and Cyprus.
The decision to re-open Swiss borders to these arrivals was made in late June in tandem with the EU.
But while the EU permitted entry from these third countries from July 6th, Switzerland delayed it until July 20th.
On June 15th, Switzerland also lifted, along with the EU, the restrictions on travel from other Schengen nations, as well as Norway, Iceland, and the UK.
What about quarantines?
Arrivals from the above countries will not be required to quarantine when they get to Switzerland.
Only arrivals from countries listed by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health as 'high risk' will be required to quarantine.
This lists was updated on July 22nd and now includes 42 countries.
These countries are: Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eswatini, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Israel, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Oman, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Suriname, Serbia, South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Switzerland uses three criteria to determine whether a given nation is ‘high-risk’: if a country has had more than 60 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, if it does not have reliable data on the disease, or if several people carrying the virus enter Switzerland from the same country.
But some of these countries are non-EU – how can they be restricted from entering but also required to quarantine?
Good question. This has been a frequent topic of confusion – particularly for the tens of thousands of travellers from the United States who visit Switzerland every week during tourist season.
The discrepancy is relatively simple and it comes down to residency status and reasons for travel.
Basically, people arriving from the 42 countries will be required to quarantine but can enter Switzerland. However, they must be a resident, a citizen or have some other kind of permission in order to enter.
Tourists from these countries are not allowed to enter.
More information is provided in the following link.
Are there any other loopholes?
As of August 3rd, members of unmarried couples are again allowed to visit.
In order to enter, couples will be subject to strict rules and will need to prove the existence of their relationship to authorities.
They will also require an invitation to enter. The invitation must be in writing and come from the member of the couple living in Switzerland.
People from all countries will be allowed to enter, however anyone entering from 'high risk' countries will need to comply with Switzerland's quarantine requirement.
In order to enter, travellers must prove to authorities that the relationship has been ongoing for 'a long time'.
“A short vacation friendship is not enough” said Büschi.
Letters, photos, plane tickets and stamps in passports can all be used to prove the legitimacy and the length of the relationship.
Editor's note: Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice.