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UPDATED: Who can travel to Switzerland right now?

Making sense of ever-changing rules about who can enter Switzerland, and when, is not easy. Here's who is allowed to enter, who is not - and the applicable rules.

UPDATED: Who can travel to Switzerland right now?
Who can enter Switzerland right now? Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

Please note: Switzerland again updated travel rules on the 20th of September. Click here for updated rules. 

As at June 2021, Switzerland is opening itself up to tourists and foreigners – however whether they will be allowed in all depends on where they are coming from and whether they are vaccinated. 

Another thing to remember is that there are two sets of rules for entry. One is whether you are allowed to enter. The other is whether you will need to quarantine. 

Of course, Swiss citizens and permanent residents returning to Switzerland are not prevented from entry, but could be ordered to quarantine if they have not been vaccinated and have been in a variant risk area. 

Everyone entering by plane will need to fill out the following form. 

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

Please note that children under the age of 18 are allowed to travel to Switzerland, even if they have not been vaccinated and have not contracted the virus and recovered recently, provided they are travelling with an adult who complies with the entry rules.

If the adult needs to be tested, the child will also need to be tested only if he or she is aged 16 or 17. Children aged under 16 do not need to be tested.  

Here’s what you need to know. 

Entry from the Schengen zone and EFTA countries

There are no entry restrictions for people arriving from Schengen and EU countries or from the small European states like Andorra, the Vatican, Monaco and San Marino, provided you arrive via land. 

Therefore, arrivals from these countries are allowed to enter Switzerland and will not have to quarantine or fill out the entry form. 

If you arrive via air, you will need to be vaccinated or recovered from the virus.

If you have not been vaccinated or recovered from the virus, you will need to present a negative PCR test (not older than 72 hours) or a negative rapid antigen test (not older than 48 hours) before boarding your flight to Switzerland. 

The only possible restriction could be where one of these countries is shown to have a variant of concern (VOC) of the virus.

People from countries or regions with a VOC will still be allowed to enter if they have been vaccinated or recovered.

Those who have not been vaccinated or recovered must go into quarantine and show a negative PCR or antigen test.  

What about outside the EU/Schengen/EFTA zone?

On June 26th, Switzerland’s rules will be relaxed to allow entry from outside the bloc. 

This means that people can enter from non-Schengen zone countries, provided they have been vaccinated in the past 12 months or have recovered from the virus in the past six months. 

READ MORE: Switzerland set to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers including Americans

This includes the United States and other non-Schengen countries which are not on the ‘variant of concern’ list. 

You must be inoculated with your second dose at least two weeks previously with one of the vaccines approved by the European Union, Swissmedic and WHO, which currently are Moderna, Pfizer / Biontech, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson, along with the two Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac. 

What about entering from a ‘Variant of Concern’ area?

As at August 4th, there are no countries on Switzerland’s variant of concern list. 

Prior to August 4th, the UK, India and Nepal are variant of concern countries. Prior to June 26th, these areas included Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa, Nepal, and the UK. 

People arriving from variant of concern areas who have been vaccinated within the past 12 months or recovered from Covid within the past six months — and can prove it — can enter Switzerland without any obligation to test or quarantine.

All others arriving from these areas should show a negative PCR or rapid antigen test result and then go into quarantine, the Federal Council said.

More information is available at the following official government page. 

Anyone wanting to enter Switzerland can use this official Swiss government tool to work out if they can – and what rules they must comply with. 

‘Travelcheck’: This tool shows you what you need to enter Switzerland

What does ‘arrival’ mean?

However, these rules apply only to people who arrive directly from safe locations.

If you are coming from a high-risk country, say the United States, and transit through Germany, you are not considered to be arriving from Germany. In other words, what counts is the origin of your flight, not transit points.

Keep in mind that what is relevant here is where you are coming from, not your nationality.

For instance, Americans who live in Germany – a Schengen country – will be allowed to enter Switzerland without proof of vaccination, but those coming all the way from the US will need to provide proof. 

Reader question: What proof of vaccination will Switzerland require for Americans and Brits to enter?

What are the quarantine rules?

This will depend on where you are coming from and if you’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

Currently, ‘variant of concern’ areas include Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa, Nepal, and the UK.

People arriving from these areas who have been vaccinated within the past 12 months or recovered from Covid within the past six months — and can prove it — can enter Switzerland without any obligation to test or quarantine.

All others arriving from these areas should show a negative PCR or rapid antigen test result and then go into quarantine, the Federal Council said.

More information is available at the following official government page.

Member comments

  1. I’m an American, married to a Swiss, and living in San Diego. My understanding is that I can enter Switzerland with my wife and not quarantine as long as I have “proof” of our relationship, such as a marriage certificate. Am I understanding correctly?

  2. Is it expected this summer, if someone is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and comes from an EU/Schengen Land or Region that is on the FOPH high-risk list, will it still be necessary to quarantine on arrival in Switzerland for private travel (e.g. holiday)?

    1. Hi Henning,

      Unfortunately we do not have confirmation of this yet – it will depend on the rules of the so-called ‘green pass’, i.e. Switzerland’s immunity card for vaccinated people.

      As we cover in the following story, Switzerland has already indicated fully vaccinated people will be entitled to certain privileges – although the rules on arriving from high-risk areas are as yet unclear, particularly if those areas have mutations of the virus.

      https://www.thelocal.ch/20210324/green-pass-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-coronavirus-immunity-card-in-switzerland/

      We’ll do out best to keep you updated as soon as more information becomes available.

      Cheers, Daniel.

      Daniel Wighton
      Editor
      The Local Switzerland

  3. Thanks, Daniel, for the link. It looks like I can come to Switzerland, as long as I bring our marriage certificate. Also, thank you for important service you are doing for those with a strong connection to Switzerland. It’s much appreciated.
    Mike Yorkey
    http://www.mikeyorkey.com

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TRAVEL NEWS

The Covid rules you should know if you’re travelling from Switzerland this summer

When it comes to Covid regulations in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe, the situation is certainly much more relaxed than it was last summer. However, certain countries still maintain rules in regards to vaccinations and masks.

The Covid rules you should know if you're travelling from Switzerland this summer

Months ago, health experts predicted that coronavirus will not be circulating extensively during the summer months and won’t strike us again before the weather turns cold in the fall / winter.

But as it turns out, these forecasts were wrong, as Omicron and its highly contagious sub-variants keep infecting increasing numbers of people across Europe.

In Switzerland, the number of reported contaminations has risen from under 10,000 a week in May to 33,108 registered in a span of seven days on June 28, with officials expecting an explosion in cases as summer progresses.

READ MORE: ‘Over a million people’ in Switzerland could be infected with Covid this summer

What does this mean for international travel?

As of right now (and the situation could change in coming weeks), Switzerland doesn’t require either testing or proof of vaccination upon entry. This is also the situation in many other countries in Europe as well as farther afield.

However, some popular European tourist destinations still (or again) have Covid-related entry regulations in place, as well as rules inside the country.

This is an overview of the places where people who live in Switzerland like to spend their summer holidays:

France

Entry requirements:

For vaccinated persons, full vaccination for at least one week must be proven. The last dose must be less than nine months old. Cured people can travel a week after receiving a single dose.

For recovered people: the positive result of a PCR test more than 11 days old and less than six months.

For non-vaccinated persons: a negative PCR test dated less than 72 hours or an antigen test carried out less than 48 hours before departure. Children under 12 are exempt.

On-site measures:

Wearing a mask on public transport, which has not been required since May 16th, is once again strongly recommended — though not compulsory.

Italy

While proof of vaccination or negative test is not required to enter Italy, there are some mask requirements in place in the country.

From mid-June, Italian government extended the obligation to wear FFP2 masks on public transport until September 30th, except on planes. The surgical mask is also still compulsory from the age of six in health establishments.

Portugal

Proof of full vaccination for at least 14 days is required to enter, with the last dose no older than 270 days ago. Swiss Covid certificates should suffice.

For recovered people, proof of recovery dating from 11 to 180 days before arrival in Portugal is required.

The unvaccinated should have a negative PCR test dated less than 72 hours or an antigen test carried out less than 24 hours before departure.

Children under 12 are exempt from these requirements.

Also, all travellers must fill out a passenger locator card before departure, as well as a form required by the Portuguese health authorities before their departure or during the flight.

On-site measures:

Portugal decided on April 21st to end the obligation to wear a mask indoors. However, masks are still required on public transport, hospitals or retirement homes.

These are the regulation for mainland Portugal; those visiting Madeira, can see the rules in this link.

Spain

Since June 2nd, travellers from a Schengen area (which includes Switzerland) are no longer subject to any health checks upon arrival.

On-site measures:

Spain lifted the requirement to wear a mask indoors on April 20th. The mask is, however, still required from the age of six on public transport, in hospitals and retirement homes. Differences may exist between regions, so consult the websites of individual areas.

Austria

Since May 16th, travel restrictions have been lifted. Nevertheless, an FFP2 mask remains compulsory from the age of six for flights to and from the Vienna region.

On-site measures

FFP2 masks are mandatory from the age of 14 on public transport and in pharmacies in Vienna.

Germany

Since June 1st and until at least August 31st, entry restrictions to Germany have all been suspended.

On-site measures:

No vaccination or testing rules on entry, but restrictions remain in some federal states, so check local websites for more information.

Wearing a mask remains compulsory from the age of six on public transport and in medical establishments. To go to the hospital, an antigen test of less than 24 hours or PCR of less than 48 hours is required.

READ MORE: EU extends Covid travel certificates until 2023

United Kingdom

There are no more Covid restrictions across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and arrivals no longer need to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before arriving in the UK.

United States

According to the US Embassy in Switzerland, “air travelers to the United States are no longer required to show a negative COVID-19 test result, or documentation of recovery from COVID-19, prior to boarding a flight to the United States”.

However, there are different requirements for different categories of travelers: “all non-U.S.-citizen, nonimmigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa) airline passengers traveling to the United States, must demonstrate proof of vaccination prior to boarding a U.S. bound aircraft”.

If you want to find out what the latest requirements are at your destination, you can do so by checking out the websites of their embassies in Switzerland, or official tourist bodies for each country / region.

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