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EXPLAINED: How do visitors get Switzerland’s Covid certificate to access bars, gyms and restaurants?

EXPLAINED: How do visitors get Switzerland’s Covid certificate to access bars, gyms and restaurants?
How do foreigners access the Covid certificate? Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash
Switzerland’s Covid certificate is required in several venues and at events. Here’s how to get it if you’re visiting Switzerland for work, travel or even crossing over the border.

Visiting Switzerland for a holiday or crossing over the border for work? Here’s how to get the Covid certificate. 

Where is Switzerland’s Covid certificate required? 

On Monday, June 7th, Switzerland released its Covid-19 certificate, which provide certain rights and privileges to holders for travel and events. 

The certificate – which is available in paper form and digitally via the Covid certificate app – will allow you to access certain large events and venues. 

The current rules state that any event with more than 1,000 people will require everyone in attendance to have a Covid certificate.

From September 13th, the certificate will be required in bars, restaurants, gyms, casinos, museums and several other areas

More information is available at the following link. 

READ MORE: What will Switzerland’s expanded Covid certificate look like?

Here’s what you need to know. 

What is the Covid certificate?

The Covid-19 certificate – otherwise known as the Covid-19 pass or the green pass – is available in paper and digital form. 

According to the Swiss government, the pass “provides documentary evidence that you have had a COVID-19 vaccination, have recovered from the disease or have tested negative”. 

Is this the same as the app?

Yes – and no. It’s complicated, so let us explain. 

When you test negative, get vaccinated or test positive for the virus, you will receive paper evidence. 

This piece of paper – provided you’ve received it from mid-June – will have a QR code. (If it was before then and you don’t have a QR code, click here with info on what to do). 

In addition to the QR code, this document will provide evidence of your status (i.e. vaccinated, tested negative or recovered), as well as your name and other information. 

As long as it has a QR code, this piece of paper is your Covid Certificate and can be used to visit events, nightclubs etc. 

But what about the app?

If you would prefer not to carry a piece of paper around, you can scan the QR code into the Covid Certificate app on your device, which you can then use to enter events, nightclubs etc. 

The app is free. Here is the link for the Apple App store, and Android

So the app is the same as the certificate then?

The one difference between the paper form and the digital form is that if you want to travel in the EU, you may encounter problems with the paper form. 

As this has been issued in Switzerland, the QR code may not be recognised in other countries. 

The EU has however promised to recognise the Swiss Covid Certificate app in all EU/EFTA/Schengen countries. Therefore, if you are heading abroad, scan your QR code into the Covid Certificate app and you are ready to travel. 

What about visiting Switzerland? 

If you are visiting from an EU/Schengen country, you can simply use the app of your EU country anywhere the Covid certificate is required. 

The Swiss government has confirmed that you do not need to have the Swiss Covid Certificate app and that EU apps will be recognised. 

But what if I come from a non-EU/EFTA/Schengen country?

If you come from a non-EU country, as of July 15th there are no third country apps recognised – i.e. no non-EU/EFTA/Schengen apps are recognised in Switzerland, other than of course the Swiss Covid Certificate app. 

The government has currently left it open regarding apps from outside the EU, saying they may be accepted at a later date. 

If you are from a non-EU/EFTA/Schengen country, this therefore means that you need to need to get the Swiss app in order to access larger events, nightclubs etc. 

How do tourists from outside the EU get a Covid certificate?

If you come from outside the EU, you can get a Covid certificate issued in Switzerland. 

To do so, you will need to contact the authorities in the canton you are in with proof of vaccination. You can find out how to do that here. 

In order to get this, you will need to be fully vaccinated with a vaccine which is authorised in Switzerland. 

You should have an official proof of vaccination from the country in which you were vaccinated, which includes your name, date of birth, the name of the vaccine, batch numbers, and dates of first and second vaccination.

According to the Swiss government, this is only Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. 

As the AstraZeneca vaccine has not been authorised in Switzerland, it is not accepted for the Covid certificate, as the Swiss government outlines here.  

So if I have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca I can’t get the Covid Certificate in Switzerland?

To reiterate, if you have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca in another country where that country’s app is recognised in Switzerland, then it will be sufficient for use in Switzerland. 

For example if you are fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca in Germany, you can use the German app while in Switzerland. 

However, if you have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca in a non-EU/Schengen country, you will not be able to use that proof of vaccination to get the Covid certificate in Switzerland. 

What about recovered people, those who have a foreign negative test and people vaccinated with AstraZeneca who are from outside the EU/Schengen area? How do they get the certificate?

People who have had the virus and recovered in the past six months outside of Switzerland do not automatically qualify for the Covid certificate. Nor do those who have had a negative test abroad, regardless of how recent it was. 

People who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca cannot get Covid certificate in Switzerland. 

The Swiss government’s official guidance outlines as follows: 

“The following applies to people who have not been vaccinated: You must have a test, and if the result is negative you can then be issued with a COVID certificate.”

In every case, people must show evidence of a negative test in Switzerland in order to get the Covid certificate.

Negative PCR tests will be valid for 72 hours after the test. 

Negative antigen tests will be valid for 48 hours after the test. Please note that antigen tests were previously considered insufficient for the Covid certificate, but this rule has been changed by the Swiss government as at July 2021. 


Member comments

  1. When I reached out to the covid certificate administrators in Vaud last week, they claimed that CDC card was not enough of a proof to obtain a Swiss Covid Certificate. What are people vaccined in the US now supposed to do?

  2. What about British visitors with an NHS App and/or the printed NHS certificate, who were fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca? Will they have to pay for the two PCR tests to visit Switzerland?

  3. What about British visitors with an NHS App and/or the printed NHS certificate, who were fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca? Will they have to pay for the two PCR rests to visit Switzerland?

  4. Hi there, the link that tells you how to get a Swiss Covid pass if you are a tourist only has information about how to get it if you have been vaccinated in Switzerland. Do you have information about how tourists get it? For Canton Basel please.

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