For members


When can residents of Switzerland travel abroad again?

After more than a year of travel restrictions, which countries are opening up to Switzerland’s tourists? Here’s what we know – and don’t know — right now.

When can residents of Switzerland travel abroad again?
Up, up and away: many people dream of flying to far-away places this summer. Photo by JOSE JORDAN / STR / AFP

Summer holidays are just around the corner and the epidemiological situation is improving in many parts of the world. Does this mean we can finally travel abroad again?

Unless the pandemic worsens in the next few weeks, there are some promising signs that international travel is picking up.

Some countries are easier to get into than others, so you need to consider whether the entry regulations in place, such as quarantine requirements, make the trip worthwhile. 

READ MORE: When can foreign tourists come to Switzerland again?

First, let’s look at neighbouring countries.


Italy, which has traditionally been one of the most popular destinations for Swiss tourists due to its proximity and access to the sea, is aiming to open the country to tourists in mid-May.

Visitors who have had two doses of Covid vaccine approved in the EU —including Pfizer / Biontech and Moderna used in Switzerland — recovered from the disease, or tested negative 48 hours prior to travelling (and have adequate proof) , will be allowed entry without restrictions.


Another popular destination for Swiss tourists, France is open to residents of Switzerland. No quarantine is required.

But if you live further than 30 km from the French border or intend to stay in the country longer than 24 hours, you will need a negative PCR Covid test as well as a declaration that you are symptom-free and have not been in contact with any coronavirus cases.

You can find the relevant forms, and the exempt groups, here.

The permission forms for trips exceeding 10km from one’s home are no longer needed, and the curfew, which has been in place for months, will be pushed back gradually, ending altogether on June 30th.


Everyone travelling to Germany by airplane must present a negative coronavirus test certificate no older than 48 hours before boarding.

Germany also requires a 10-day quarantine for people coming from high-incidence areas. But as Switzerland is not on that list, no quarantine is required.

What if you simply want to go shopping across the border?

Swiss residents who have been fully vaccinated are now allowed to drive into the neighbouring German state of Baden-Württemberg.

In addition to those who have been fully vaccinated, people who have contracted coronavirus between 21 days and three months prior will also be allowed to cross the border.

But those who have had the virus more recently will need to show evidence of a negative PCR test in order to enter Germany. 


Austria is set to relax its strict coronavirus quarantine on May 19th for most EU countries, including Switzerland.

The quarantine requirement will also be waved.

However, it is not certain yet whether this system will actually be implemented or if Austria would adopt a system which places entire countries on a risk list, or would do this on a regional basis, as Switzerland does for neighbouring nations.

However, even though travel to these four countries is more or less unfettered — or will be, in coming weeks — keep in mind that the quarantine requirement is in place for some regions when returning to Switzerland.

Right now, 15 regions of bordering states are on Switzerland’s quarantine list.

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

But as the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) updates this list roughly every two weeks, some regions, and countries, may be removed (or added) at the time of your travel.

What about destinations that are further afield?

Many countries still have travel restrictions in place, while others, like India, are in the throes of the pandemic.

The question which arises often is: “when can I travel to the United States”?

The US has been off limits to foreign tourists since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, and it remains so to this day.

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

There is, however, tentative hope that the country could re-open in the near future, with US media reporting that President Joe Biden may begin lifting travel restrictions soon.

This link (in German) has an updated country-by-country information about where people from Switzerland are allowed to travel right now, and under what conditions.

However, travel rules will likely change by summer, as increasing number of people across Europe and other countries are getting vaccinated and nations, including Switzerland, are ready to launch immunity cards.

The hope is that these internationally-recognised vaccination certificates will enable people who have been immunised, as well as those who have tested negative and who have recently recovered from the disease, to travel. 

READ MORE: Switzerland promises Covid-19 passport ‘by the summer’

Should you book your foreign trip now or wait?

Given all the uncertainties, waiting is a good idea.

There will be more clarity about travel restrictions in other countries as time goes by. Plus, once the restrictions are lifted, or at least relaxed, more airlines will start operating more flights to various  places.

This means you will be able to travel from point A to point B via a more direct route than presently, when you have to travel all over the map to get to your final destination.


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For members


Unmarried couples: How can I visit my partner in Switzerland?

Since the start of the pandemic, unmarried couples have found it difficult to reunite in Switzerland. Here are the documents you need to visit your partner.

Unmarried couples: How can I visit my partner in Switzerland?
A couple enjoys a shared fondue in Switzerland. Photo: STEFAN WERMUTH / AFP

Before the pandemic, visiting your partner in Switzerland involved little more than the money for a flight and perhaps a tourist visa. 

Since March, 2020 however, Switzerland has tightened the rules for entry – which has meant many couples found it challenging or even impossible to see each other. 

While the rules were originally so strict that only married couples could reunite in Switzerland, this was relaxed in August of 2020. 

READ MORE: Unmarried partners again allowed into Switzerland

In order to do so however, unmarried couples will need to ‘prove’ their relationship to satisfy Swiss authorities. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

How can I visit my boyfriend or girlfriend in Switzerland?

First things first, your citizenship and where you are arriving from will be crucially important. 

If you are a Swiss citizen or resident, then there will be no issues. You can come to Switzerland at any time.

If they live in a EU / Schengen state or in the small European states like Andorra, the Vatican, Monaco and San Marino, they can come for a visit as well. 

More information is available at the following link. 

UPDATED: Who can travel to Switzerland right now?

How can people from outside Europe visit their partners in Switzerland? 

For non-Schengen countries, you’ll need to do the following. 

Generally speaking, these people are not allowed to enter Switzerland at the moment, except for a handful of nations deemed low-risk, including Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand.

However, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) does have exceptions for families and partners of Swiss residents.

This what the SEM website says:

“Entry by the immediate family members of a Swiss citizen who are registered with a Swiss foreign representation and are entering Switzerland with that Swiss citizen for a stay here does not require authorisation. Immediate family means the Swiss citizen’s spouse or registered partner and minor children (including step-children). In certain circumstances it also includes unmarried partners”.

SEM then goes on to specify entry rules for unmarried partners:

Entry to visit a partner to whom one is not married or in a registered partnership with and with whom one does not have children is possible if:

  • The person wishing to enter the country has an invitation from the partner living in Switzerland and the partner is a Swiss citizen or has a short-stay permit, temporary or permanent residence permit.
  • Confirmation of the existing partnership is submitted. This can be a document confirming the relationship which has been signed by both partners. 
  • Proof can be given that at least one face-to-face visit or meeting took place in Switzerland or abroad.
  • Entry is not permitted on the basis of a mere holiday acquaintance.
  • Proof must be given that a relationship has already lasted for some time and is regularly cultivated. The persons concerned must provide credible evidence that they have been in regular contact.

How do I prove someone is my partner to visit Switzerland? 

There are no hard and fast rules as to which documents will be sufficient, but the government wants to be convinced that this is a “long-term relationship which is cultivated on a regular basis”, with no definition of “cultivation”. 

The SEM provides some examples, including “documents that document a long-term civil partnership (for example, letters and e-mails, social media, telephone bills, flight tickets, photos); Evidence such as a copy of your passport with entry and exit stamps that at least one mutual personal visit or meeting has taken place in Switzerland or abroad.”

One couple speaking with Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes said they used instagram photos as evidence of their relationship at the suggestion of the SEM. 

A couple sits above the clouds in Switzerland. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Are there any exceptions? 

There are other exemptions as well, which SEM defines as “cases of special necessity”.

They include people coming to Switzerland because a close relative is dying; to visit close relatives who have medical emergency; to continue essential medical treatment; or for important family events like funerals, weddings or births.

The full list of exceptions and other entry-related information for visitors from third countries can be found here. 

If your family or partner are eligible based on the above exceptions,  they may need a visa to enter Switzerland, depending on their country of residence. They have to apply for one at the Swiss foreign representation in their country, explaining and documenting why they are a case of special necessity.

In certain cases, the foreign representation may be able to provide documents confirming the situation.

For those who don’t need a visa, the border control officers in Switzerland or at a Schengen airport decide whether the requirements of necessity have been met, SEM said.

Keep in mind that all the above rules apply only to family visits, not general tourism. Rules for third-country tourists are here.

READ MORE: UPDATE: When will Switzerland relax restrictions on international travel?