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UPDATE: Switzerland confirms only vaccinated Americans and Brits can enter

UPDATE: Switzerland confirms only vaccinated Americans and Brits can enter
Planes at Zurich airport. Photo by Pascal Meier on Unsplash
The Swiss government has confirmed to The Local the rules regarding entry to Switzerland from the United States, United Kingdom and other third countries.

On Monday, September 20th, Switzerland tightened its entry rules in order to combat the continued spread of Covid-19. 

The update however led to some confusion, particularly as a press release from Switzerland’s Federal Council said unvaccinated people or those who have not recovered from the virus recently would need to present a negative test “irrespective of where they are travelling from”. 

While this appeared to indicate that arrival from all countries was possible only with a negative test, the Swiss Secretariat for Migration (SEM) told The Local on Wednesday, September 22nd, that these entry rules only applied to Schengen countries and a handful of ‘third countries’ which were not deemed high risk. 

As a result, unvaccinated people arriving from the United States, the United Kingdom and several other high-risk countries will be restricted from entry to Switzerland until at least January, 2022. 

Even those with proof of recent recovery from the virus – or who have evidence of a negative test – will be prevented from entering Switzerland. 

Switzerland’s SEM’s list of high-risk countries includes Schengen states, along with around 30 nations from across the globe. 

While Australia, Canada, Singapore and Taiwan are on the list, several including India, Israel, the UK and the US are not. 

The official list can be seen here. 

Please keep in mind that Swiss citizens and residents are allowed to enter regardless of vaccination status, as are Americans or Brits who have a valid visa for a Schengen country. 

The list of vaccines accepted for entry into Switzerland is relatively broad and includes several vaccines which are not approved for use in Switzerland itself. 

The list can be seen at the following link. 

UPDATE: Which vaccines are accepted for entry into Switzerland?

Why the confusion?

The reason for the confusion over the rules for entry is that two different Swiss government departments keep two separate lists of entry requirements. 

This has occasionally made it difficult to provide accurate information as to which rules apply. 

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Migration keeps a list of high risk countries, from which entry is only allowed in certain cases. 

These exceptions include if the person has a visa for another Schengen state, if they’re resident in Switzerland, if they’re a Swiss citizen or if they’ve been vaccinated. 

The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health up until recently also kept a list of high risk countries, although this has been abolished as of September 20th. 

The FOPH does require those entering to be either vaccinated, recently recovered from the virus or possess a negative test – however these rules only apply to people who are not on the SEM high risk list. 

Therefore, only those entering from non-high risk countries can do so if they are unvaccinated. They will however need to show a negative test or that they have recovered from the virus recently. Click here for more information


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