For members


UPDATE: When will Americans be allowed to travel to Switzerland again —and vice-versa?

With the number of vaccinated people in both countries increasing each day, is there a chance that travel between Switzerland and the United States will be allowed this summer? If so, when?

UPDATE: When will Americans be allowed to travel to Switzerland again —and vice-versa?
SWISS is expanding its destinations for ther USA. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Please note: Switzerland in mid-June announced it would be opening its borders to vaccinated American travellers. More information is available here. 

As things stand now, while travel restrictions have been somewhat relaxed, tourism between the two countries is still not allowed.

Travellers from the United States are permitted to enter Switzerland in some circumstances. 

They include people with Swiss citizenship, permanent residents or valid visa holders returning to Switzerland, as well as transit passengers who connect to other flights at one of Switzerland’s airports.

Unfortunately for people wanting to holiday in Switzerland, this does not include tourists. 

EXPLAINED: Can people from the United States and Great Britain come to Switzerland?

A similar rule is in place in the United States, which only authorises entry for US citizens and permanent residents returning from abroad.

Neither country has said anything definite about opening its borders for foreign travellers, but there are some hints as to what might happen if the pandemic is curtailed.

US media has recently reported that President Joe Biden might revoke the travel ban on foreign tourists by mid-May.

If that happens, people from Switzerland, the European Union, the UK, and some other nations may be able to travel to the United States soon.

From the Swiss side, there is no official announcement about allowing American tourists back anytime soon. However, there is mounting pressure from the tourist and aviation industry to ease restrictions on tourist travel. 

READ MORE: Swiss airlines and unions unite to demand return of air travel

And there are signs that some kind of relaxation might be on the horizon.

SWISS airlines is expanding its US-bound flights to include eight “holiday” destinations, including Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Florida.

This doesn’t mean, however, that the airline will actually fly to all these places in the United States; if the travel ban is not lifted, then the flights will be cancelled.

It is more than likely that Switzerland will not lift any travel restrictions unilaterally; rather, it will act in accordance with EU guidelines as it has done since the start of the pandemic. 

At the start of June, Switzerland rolled out its Covid-19 health pass, which is incorporated into the EU’s travel recovery plan. 

However, as yet this has not changed the situation for Americans entering Switzerland. 

READ MORE: How to get Switzerland’s Covid-19 health pass

French president Emmanuel Macron said on a US news programme that France is planning to allow entry to vaccinated American tourists this summer.

In such a case, Switzerland, as France’s neighbour and part of the Schengen area, will probably open its borders to Americans as well.

But ultimately, the evolution of the Covid pandemic will determine whether travel between the US and Switzerland is a possibility this summer.

Member comments

  1. Biden no longer remembers that the US has a border crisis. Kamala has been on a vacation since January. #aduhelm

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For members


What is the fine for not filling out Switzerland’s Covid arrival form?

There is one essential form all travellers to Switzerland must fill out, but many don’t. If caught, border guards will hand out fines.

A 100-franc fine could be imposed on those who don’t fill out the Personal Locator Form
Important paperwork: Switzerland-bound travellers must fill out the PLF form or risk getting fined. Photo by Zurich Airport

With constantly changing travel rules, it is difficult to keep up with all the regulations that need to be followed to enter Switzerland (and all the other countries, for that matter).

Since September 20th, everyone arriving in Switzerland, regardless of their country of origin, mode of transport, or vaccination status, must fill out the electronic Personal Location Form (PLF).

Once filled out and registered online, you will receive a QR code which you will have to show when entering Switzerland.

However, some people may be unaware of the requirement and enter the country without this form.

READ MORE: Here is the form you need to enter Switzerland

Checks are done randomly, so many travellers slip in without having filled this form. But if caught, you will have to pay a 100-franc fine.

So far, 200 people had to pay this fine, according to Tamedia media group.

The only people exempted from this rule are transit passengers, long-haul lorry drivers transporting goods across borders,  children under 16, cross-border workers, and residents of border areas.

The PLF requirement is an addition to other travel regulations the Federal Council implemented in September:

Two tests to enter Switzerland are now required for the unvaccinated and unrecovered.

Unvaccinated arrivals and those who have not contracted and recovered from the virus in the past six months must show two negative tests. 

The first proof should be presented when arriving in Switzerland.  Then, four to seven days later, travellers will have to undergo another test, which they must pay for themselves.

Both PCR and antigen results are accepted.

These rules only apply to arrivals from nations not on the Switzerland’s high-risk list. As the United States and United Kingdom are considered high risk, only vaccinated people from those countries can arrive in Switzerland.

This article contains more information on the rules which apply. 

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s new travel and Covid certificate rules?