Reader question: Can I convert my foreign vaccination pass into a Swiss Covid certificate?

Reader question: Can I convert my foreign vaccination pass into a Swiss Covid certificate?
A generic image of a QR code. The QR code is the centrepiece of many vaccine passports/Covid certificates. Photo by sentidos humanos on Unsplash
Switzerland’s Covid certificate is required for most indoor activities. Here’s what to do if you’re visiting.

As of September 13th, Switzerland’s Covid certificate is required to access bars, gyms, restaurants, private parties and a range of other areas. 

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

EXPLAINED: How does Switzerland’s newly expanded Covid-19 certificate work?

Can I use my country’s Covid pass in Switzerland? 

With several other countries now having their own vaccination passports – along with one at the European Union level – Local readers have asked us the rules for getting the Covid certificate when coming from abroad. 

As at September 23rd, only passes from European Union countries are accepted in Switzerland.

Therefore, if you are coming from an EU state, you do not need to convert your pass and you can simply show your EU country one wherever the Covid certificate is required. 

The situation for non-EU apps is more difficult. 

As yet, any apps from outside the EU are not accepted, including the NHS app and Israel’s Green Pass app. 

When Switzerland expanded the Covid certificate framework, it said non-EU apps “may be recognised” at some point in the future. 

A spokesperson from the Swiss government told The Local on September 10th that a policy change was currently being considered which would allow for non-EU apps to be used. 

This was also confirmed in a press release, which can be found here. 

Can I convert my foreign vaccination pass into a Swiss Covid certificate? 

If you are coming from outside the EU, you cannot ‘convert’ your pass into the Swiss Covid certificate.

However, using the information in the pass – or the original evidence of vaccination, recovery etc – you can get a Covid certificate when in Switzerland relatively easily. 

Issuing Covid certificates is up to health authorities in every canton. The process is similar in each one.

You need to get in touch with cantonal authorities, either by email or using the contact form online. 

Official proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid, with all the pertinent dates included, must also be sent, along with identification and other information.

If you qualify, you will receive the certificate back by email.

As reported by The Local Switzerland previously, people from outside the EU/EFTA states need to pay CHF30 for this service from October 11th onwards. More information is available here

You may show your foreign Covid pass as evidence to get a Swiss Covid certificate, provided it is in English or a Swiss language. 

A guide to how you can do this in each Swiss Canton is available below.

Canton-by-canton: How visitors can get Switzerland’s Covid certificate

You may also get a Covid certificate with proof of a test completed in Switzerland. 

In order to do this, you can scan your test details into the Covid certificate app. 

More information about this is laid out at the following link. 

EXPLAINED: How to get Switzerland’s Covid certificate with a negative test

One possible workaround could be to use an app from an EU country which accepts the NHS app and allows it to be scanned in. 

One reader told The Local about how the French Tous Anti Covid app scans in the NHS app QR code. 

This then produces a valid QR code in the French app, which is accepted in Switzerland. 

This may be an option for people who for some reason are unable to get their NHS details signed off by cantonal authorities or who already have the French app, although keep in mind that it is not reflective of official Swiss government policy and is not endorsed by The Local. 

Member comments

  1. The official French “Tous Anti Covid” App allows UK nationals to upload their NHS Covid certificate and is then valid for use in France when evidence of vaccination is required. Since Switzerland are accepting French (and all EU) certification could this be a simple workaround for UK tourists?

      1. Hi Daniel – just wondered whether you managed to find out whether my suggestion (above) works? Kind regards, Alexander

        1. Hi Alexander, Yes, we’ve updated it as you can see above. We wanted to check it and make sure it worked – and it did. Hopefully the Swiss government allows foreign apps to be scanned in soon.

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