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?
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.
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.
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.
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.