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HEALTH

UPDATED: Who can enter Switzerland right now?

What are the rules for entering Switzerland right now?

UPDATED: Who can enter Switzerland right now?
The Swiss-Italian border. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Switzerland has since updated its policies. Please click here for up to date information. 

So who is allowed to enter Switzerland and under what circumstances? That all depends on where you are arriving from.

Whether you will – and whether you will need to quarantine – will depend largely on infection rates. 

Arrivals from countries considered to be ‘high risk’ inside the Schengen and EFTA zones will be required to quarantine, but will be allowed to enter. 

Arrivals from high-risk countries outside these areas – known as ‘third countries’ – are currently restricted from entry, unless they have Swiss citizenship or residency. 

The list is updated regularly and can be found at the following link. 

READ MORE: Which countries are currently on Switzerland’s quarantine list? 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Arrivals from European – i.e. ‘Schengen or EFTA’ – countries

As it stands, arrivals from all Schengen, EU and EFTA states will be allowed to enter – but may be subject to a quarantine if infection rates are above the above-mentioned threshold. 

For more information, read the following guide

A barrier is removed on the Swiss-French border. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

What about non-European countries? 

Those from outside Europe – known as ‘third countries’ – are restricted from entering. 

This means that anyone without European citizen/resident status will not be permitted to enter, with some limited exceptions. 

READ: What you should know before you travel abroad from Switzerland 

There is a limited list of countries for which entry is not restricted. As at February 2021, these exceptions are: Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore and Thailand.

The official list is available here. 

Are there any exceptions?

The family members of EU/EFTA citizens or residents will be allowed to enter, regardless of their nationality status. 

There are some exceptions for work travellers, although this travel must be essential – i.e. it needs to take place in person – and special approval must be granted.

Anyone needing this approval must contact Swiss authorities at [email protected] 

As of August 3rd, members unmarried couples can enter if one lives in Switzerland and the other abroad – provided they can prove the relationship to authorities. 

In order to do so, the partner not residing in Switzerland must receive an invitation from the Swiss resident partner, while the legitimacy of the relationship will also need to be proven. 

More information is available here.

Do I have to quarantine? 

Quarantine requirements will apply from certain high-risk areas from July 6th onwards. The list of countries is regularly updated by Swiss health authorities. 

Affected people will be informed on planes, coaches and at the borders, and must register with the local authorities once in Switzerland.

How has this changed over time? 

On July 6th, Switzerland put in place quarantine requirements for arrivals from so-called ‘high-risk’ countries. 

Swiss authorities announced on October 29th new measures to rein in skyrocketing coronavirus cases in the country, and acknowledged that it no longer made sense for most travellers to the country to quarantine.

But while introducing stricter rules for mask-wearing and crowd sizes, the government also said it would lift the requirement for people arriving from a long line of countries to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Switzerland or risk a $10,000-fine.

Switzerland has until now put countries and regions on its “red list” for quarantining once Covid-19 infection rates there passed more than 60 per 100,000 people for a period of 14 days.

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s quarantine rules? 

But in recent weeks, the country itself has seen its own infection rate gallop past that mark and has over 760 cases for 100,000 people for the past two weeks.

How are countries deemed high risk from October 29th? 

Only countries or regions whose rate per 100,000 inhabitants exceeds by 60 that recorded in Switzerland would be placed on the red list.

When the announcement was made, only Belgium, the Czech Republic, Andorra and Armenia – along with three regions of France, including Paris – are considered high risk. 

In France, the Hauts-de-France and ÎIe de France / Paris regions as well as the overseas territory of French Polynesia are considered to be risk zones.

The government indicated that this list will be regularly updated on the basis of infection rates in Switzerland and abroad. 

The relevant countries can be seen updated at the following link.

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. 

 
 

Member comments

  1. “Americans who might want to flee to the Alps ” ? !
    Ramping up the fear with exaggerated language…calm down The Local.

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TAXES

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. 

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