Unmarried partners again allowed into Switzerland

Swiss authorities have lifted restrictions on entry to people from third nations whose ‘significant other half’ lives in Switzerland.

Unmarried partners again allowed into Switzerland
A couple ride their bicycle at sunset near Noville, western Switzerland, on June 2, 2020. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

At a press conference on Thursday, July 30th, State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) representative Barbara Büschi said unmarried couples will again be able to reunite in Switzerland from Monday, August 3rd. 

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. 

READ: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's new 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. 

What is the situation until Monday?

As residents of many countries outside the EU and Schengen zone are not allowed to enter Switzerland, couples where one partner lives in Switzerland and the other abroad have been separated since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The only third-country nationals permitted to come to Switzerland at the present time are people from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Also residents of some EU states outside the Schengen area — Bulgaria, Ireland, Croatia, Romania and Cyprus — are granted access.

READ MORE: Switzerland opens borders to travellers from certain countries outside Europe 

But people from other nations considered to be ‘at-risk’ due to the high number of coronavirus infections are kept away.



Love is not tourism

A large-scale social media campaign, “LoveIsNotTourism”, has been launched in Denmark, Norway and Austria to demand that states make an exception and lift their restrictions on unmarried couples waiting to be reunited.

The governments of these three countries agreed to let the foreign partners in.

Now Switzerland is set to follow this example.

“We have a lot of understanding for people in this situation. We will adjust our entry conditions as quickly as possible”, Barbara Büschi, deputy director at the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) said in an interview.

However, strict criteria will be set regarding the eligibility of foreigners to reunite with their partners in Switzerland.

“We are in contact with customs and the Department of Foreign Affairs to set the criteria for entry clearance”, Büschi said.

What is certain is that people who met on online dating sites but who have not yet met in person will not qualify to enter.

Nor will anyone trying to immigrate to Switzerland under the guise of a reunion.

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. 


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Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s tax deadline is just around the corner. Are Covid-related costs tax deductible?

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

March 31st is the deadline for filing taxes in Switzerland relating to the 2021 financial year. 

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has seen a change in our spending habits. 

While we may have saved on restaurants and travel, we laid out considerable costs on a range of new expenses, including disinfectant, masks and Covid tests. 

As some of these costs are required by law, can they be deducted from your tax?

In some cases, expenses directly related to the Covid pandemic can be deducted. 

Masks, for instance, can be deducted as medical expenses in some cantons, Swiss tax specialist Markus Stoll told 20 Minutes

This depends on the specific framework for tax deductions related to medical expenses in that canton. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, any medical costs paid out of pocket can be deducted. However, most cantons impose a minimum percentage limit from which these costs can be deducted. 

In many cantons, this will start at five percent of your yearly income in total (i.e. including other out-of-pocket costs like dental or specialist visits), meaning you would need to purchase a significant amount of masks to beat the threshold. 

What about testing and vaccination?

Testing and vaccinations however were largely free as their costs were covered by the Swiss government, which means associated expenses cannot be deducted. 

Those tests which were not covered by the government – for instance for travel abroad or for visiting clubs – cannot be deducted, Stoll says. 

“Tests for travel abroad or to visit clubs are not deductible” Stoll said. 

For a complete overview of taxation in Switzerland, including several specific guides, please check out our tax-specific page here.