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What are the current rules on travelling from Switzerland to neighbouring countries?

Travel regulations to and from Switzerland change based on the epidemiological situation both at home and abroad. These are the most recent entry rules for Austria, France, Italy, and Germany as of May 31st.

What are the current rules on travelling from Switzerland to neighbouring countries?
Sandy beaches of Italy and France are now within reach. ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP

Austria

All travellers must register online at the earliest 72 hours before entering the country.

Up to May 19th, arrivals from Switzerland had to show evidence of a negative test taken less than 72 hours before  travel. They were also subject to quarantine for 10 days on arrival, though people could leave quarantine from the fifth day with a negative test.

However, from May 19th Austria has relaxed entry rules for people arriving from Switzerland. 

No test or quarantine is needed if you can present either a vaccine certificate or proof of recovery from coronavirus. In this regard, these rules are similar to the ones Switzerland introduced on May 31st.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What are the latest quarantine rules for arrivals in Switzerland?

These are the exact conditions:

  • Inoculation with BioNtech/Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson&Johnson, AstraZeneca, or Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Start of validity: 22 days after the first inoculation.
  • End of validity: three months after the first inoculation if partially vaccinated (received the first of two prescribed doses).
  • Nine months after the only inoculation, as is the case with single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • Those who have recovered from Covid must show a certificate of recovery  in the six months before travel, or or a positive test for COVID-19 antibodies, not older than 3 months.
  • Only certificates issued in English or German by a medical professional or public authority will be accepted.

If you are nor vaccinated or recovered from Covid, you will still new to show negative test to enter Austria and quarantine while you are there.

Germany

Germany, which had previously required tests and quarantines of all travellers, has also eased the entry measures.

“Proof of vaccination or recovery is deemed equivalent to a negative test result. Additionally, it can exempt you from the obligation to quarantine on entry”, according to official government site.

In the absence of either proof, negative test result are quarantine upon arrival are required.

However a quick shopping trip or stays across the border for no longer that 24 hours are possible without quarantine and testing.

READ MORE: Switzerland: What are the rules for cross-border shopping in neighbouring countries?

France

No quarantine or test are required if you live within 30 kilometres from the French border or intend to stay in the country less than 24 hours. This concerns mostly people who go shopping to France, as well as cross-border workers.

But if you don’t live within the 30-kilometre radius of the border and are not a border worker, you need a negative PCR Covid test as well as a declaration on your honour that you are symptom-free and have not been in contact with any coronavirus cases.

Italy

Switzerland’s southern neighbour also had strict entry rules in place, requiring foreign visitors – including those from Switzerland — to undergo a five-day quarantine and two coronavirus tests.

Now these regulations have been relaxed somewhat.

While a negative test is still required, the quarantine obligation has been scrapped.

Also, people traveling to Italy must fill out a form called Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF) before entering the country. The dPLF replaces the self-declaration form.

These rules also apply to shopping trips to Italy, but don’t extend to cross-border workers.

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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?

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