Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know
From Saturday, June 26th, Switzerland will again allow people from outside Europe to visit if they have been vaccinated. Here’s what you need to know.
The Swiss government has confirmed that people from outside the Schengen zone, including Americans and Brits, will be allowed to enter Switzerland from June 26th if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus.
The Local Switzerland spoke to a representative from the Federal Office of Public Health, who confirmed the change.
Who can enter?
Prior to June 26th, only people from the Schengen zone were allowed to enter Switzerland.
As of June 26th, people from countries outside the Schengen zone are allowed to enter (alongside of course people from inside the Schengen zone).
The government changed the entry rules to focus on what it calls ‘Variant of Concern’ areas (VOC).
What are the rules for entering from a country within the Schengen zone?
People from inside the Schengen zone can largely enter freely and will not have to quarantine.
People entering from inside the Schengen zone who have not been vaccinated within the past 12 months or who have not had the virus and recovered in the past six months will need to take a test if they arrive by plane.
They will also need to provide contact details.
There is no testing or contact details requirement for those arriving by land, regardless of vaccination status. For those trying to arrive by sea, they won’t be arriving in Switzerland.
What about from outside the Schengen zone?
Only people who have been vaccinated within the past 12 months can enter from outside the Schengen zone.
No quarantine or testing requirements will be imposed on people from countries outside the Schengen zone.
For advice on how to prove you have been vaccinated, please read below.
What about entering from a 'Variant of Concern' area?
Currently, these 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.
How do I prove I have been vaccinated?
Basically, the requirements for residents of third nations are the same as for people coming from the EU/EFLA states.
The proof showing you have been fully vaccinated should be an official document issued by a recognised health authority in your country of residence.
More information is available at the following link.
What about the Delta variant?
While the Swiss government is concerned about the spread of the Delta variant, it is putting faith in the vaccination campaign.
Switzerland only uses mRNA vaccines - those produced by Moderna and Pfizer/BionTech - which are known to have a high degree of effectiveness against variants.
This is why entry from countries where the variant is prevalent is allowed, provided the person arriving has been vaccinated.
This is noted in the official government advice: "the vaccines used in Switzerland are only slightly less effective against the Delta variant and thus still offer a very high level of protection."
When will the change be put in place?
The government had previously announced the change would take place on June 28th, but had put it out for consultation with the cantons.
A spokesperson from the Federal Office of Public Health confirmed to The Local that the decision was made to bring the date forward to midnight on Friday, meaning that the new rules will be in effect on the 26th of June.
What about the green pass, i.e. Switzerland’s immunity passport?
The final touches are currently being put on the green pass in negotiations with the EU.
It is expected to be ready on the 1st of July.