Since 15 June / 20 July 2020 all Schengen and EU countries, small European states and some third countries are no longer considered high-risk countries (see list below). Corona-related border controls were lifted at all land and air borders between Switzerland and the Schengen states. This means that normal entry requirements now apply again.
Normal entry requirements
For all other third-country citizens travelling directly from a high-risk country, it is still not possible to enter Switzerland, for example for a holiday, visit or other reason; entry from a high-risk country for stays of less than 90 days that do not require authorisation is still only permitted in cases of special necessity.
The FOPH publishes a separate list of high-risk countries; persons arriving in Switzerland from these countries are required to go into quarantine, regardless of the entry requirements:
Countries and areas with a high risk of infection
For further information, please consult the website of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH):
Federal Office of Public Health
Coronavirus: Switzerland to lift COVID restrictions regarding all EU/EFTA states
Press release of 12 June 2020
Coronavirus: Workers from third countries to be permitted to enter Switzerland again
Press release of 24 June 2020
Coronavirus: Unmarried partners from third countries may enter Switzerland from 3 August
Press release of 30 July 2020
List of non high-risk countries
The normal entry requirements apply to any persons entering Switzerland directly from the following countries:
EU and smaller European countries and some third countries:
Vatican / Holy See
All other countries are still considered high risk and are listed on the list of high-risk countries in the COVID-19 Ordinance 3. Entry restrictions continue to apply to persons entering Switzerland from these countries.
This list of high-risk countries may be adapted according to changes in circumstances. We therefore recommend that you consult this website regularly.
Even if the country from which you are travelling is no longer on the SEM high-risk list, you may still be required to quarantine when you arrive in Switzerland. Different criteria apply for placing a country on either of the lists.
Please refer to the FOPH travel advice.
- A Swiss citizen can enter Switzerland from any country in the world. The same applies to persons with rights of free movement (see “Who has rights of free movement?” in the FAQs). The list of high-risk countries does not apply to them, but they still may be required to go into quarantine. For further information on quarantine, please consult the website of the
Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)
- A citizen of the third country may not enter Switzerland from a high-risk country (e.g. US or UK), even if they travel in transit through a country that is not on the high-risk list (e.g. Canada).
- A citizen of the third country may enter Switzerland from a country that is not on the high-risk list (e.g. Australia) provided they meet the usual entry requirements. They may fly via a high-risk country (e.g. Turkey), provided they do not leave the airport transit area (i.e. they do not enter the country).
Quarantine and other health-related measures on entry
In addition to these entry restrictions, since 6 July 2020 anyone entering Switzerland from a country or area with an increased risk of infection must spend ten days in quarantine. The Federal Office Of Public Health (FOPH) is responsible for this measure and keeps its own independent list of countries and areas where there is an increased risk of infection:
Which countries are not considered to be high-risk countries?
All Schengen States and the third countries listed as exceptions in Annex 1 to the COVID-19 Ordinance 3.
Can I enter Switzerland from a country not considered to be high-risk?
Yes, normal requirements apply to entry from these countries.
Important information on the normal entry requirements
Persons arriving or returning to Switzerland from certain countries may be required to go into quarantine. For further information, please consult the website of the Federal Office of Public Health:
Helpline BAG: +41 58 464 44 88 (6am-11pm).
Which countries are considered to be high-risk?
All countries that are not Schengen States and those countries that are not listed in Annex 1 to the COVID-19 Ordinance 3.
Can I enter Switzerland from a country or region that is considered to be high-risk?
No. Anyone subject to entry restrictions who wishes to travel to Switzerland from any of these countries or regions will be refused entry. For further information, see the question ‘Who is not affected by the ban on entry to Switzerland?’
Can I enter Switzerland from a country or region that is considered to be high-risk?
It may no longer be possible to use a visa issued after 16 March 2020 in a country that was removed from the list of high-risk countries for a time but which again features on this list at the time of travel.
In this case, please note the following:
- Even you have been issued a visa, this does not give you any absolute right to cross a Schengen external border, as according to the Schengen Border Code the entry requirements must be met at the time of entry and must therefore be reassessed at the time, and
- before travelling, all visa-holders are required to find out about the entry requirements that apply at the time they intend to travel.
This means that, even if you have a visa to enter Switzerland, if you are travelling from a high-risk country and are not in one of exemption categories in the COVID-19 Ordinance 3, you may not be able to enter the country.
Which country counts as the country you are entering Switzerland from?
The country you are entering from is the country from which you have just arrived. This is the case even if you have only passed through that country in transit. If travelling by air on a direct flight, you enter Switzerland from the country in which the aircraft took off.
If you fly via one or several transit airports – without leaving the international transit area – you enter Switzerland from the country in which the aircraft originally took off, not the transit countries.
This means that if you begin your journey in a high-risk country (e.g. the US) and travel in transit via an airport in a non-high-risk country (e.g. Canada), you are travelling from a high-risk country.
If you begin your journey in a non-high-risk country (e.g. Canada) and travel in transit via an airport in a high-risk country (e.g. the US), you are travelling from a non-high-risk country – provided you do not leave the airport’s international transit area.
In both scenarios, it does not matter how long you spend in the airport’s international transit area.
No specific information can be given about airport hotels, as these are sometimes within, sometimes outside the transit area.
Who is not allowed to enter Switzerland?
The ban on entry applies to foreign nationals who want to travel to Switzerland from a high-risk country for a stay here of up to three months, i.e.:
- Persons who wish to obtain services in Switzerland;
- Tourists, visitors and participants in events;
- Persons who wish to come to Switzerland for medical treatment that has not yet begun or that is not regarded as urgently required;
- Persons seeking employment or who have been invited for a job interview in Switzerland;
- Persons who wish to submit an application for a residence permit.
High-risk countries are all the countries outside the Schengen area with the exception of the countries listed in Annex 1 of the COVID-19 Ordinance 3.
Who is not affected by the ban on entry to Switzerland?
The ban on entry does not affect people who are Swiss citizens, or who have rights of free movement, or who are in a situation of special necessity. It is the responsibility of the border control authority to assess the necessity of such situations.
This means that foreign nationals, even those arriving from a high-risk country, can still enter Switzerland if they meet at least one of the following requirements:
- They also have Swiss citizenship.
- They hold a travel document (e.g. a passport or identity card) and
- • a residence permit, i.e. a Swiss residence permit (L / B / C / Ci permits);
- • a cross-border permit (G permit; only for work-related purposes),
- • an FDFA legitimation card;
- • a D visa issued by Switzerland;
- • a C visa issued by Switzerland after 16 March 2020 in a valid exceptional case or in order to work on a short-term contract;
- • an assurance of a residence permit from a cantonal migration authority or an entry permit with a visa issued by Switzerland (an employment contract is not sufficient to cross the Swiss border. Persons with an assurance of a residence permit may enter Switzerland at the earliest three days before the date on which assurance becomes valid.)
- They hold a refugee’s or stateless person’s travel document issued by Switzerland, a passport for foreign nationals issued by Switzerland, a valid residence or permanent residence permit or an F-Permit.
- They have rights of free movement. If they require a visa, a valid Schengen C-visa, a valid D-visa or a valid Schengen residence permit;
- They are transporting goods for commercial purposes and have a goods delivery note.
- In certain cases: They are simply travelling directly through Switzerland with the intention and possibility of entering another country. See “Is it still possible to travel through Switzerland?” under ‘Questions on travelling through and leaving Switzerland’.
- They are in a situation of special necessity (see below). The border control authority will assess the necessity of the situation..
- They are specialists in the healthcare sector who need to enter Switzerland for important work-related reasons and who hold a confirmation of notification, an assurance of a residence permit or an entry permit with a visa issued by Switzerland.
You must be able to prove that you meet the abovementioned requirements. Suitable documentary proof must be produced at the border.
Please note that the airlines themselves decide on the conditions on which they carry passengers. If this is relevant to your situation, please ask the airline concerned about the conditions that they apply.
Who has rights of free movement?
EU/EFTA and UK citizens and their family members, irrespective of their nationality, have rights of free movement. Family members are defined as
- spouses or registered partners of an EU/EFTA/UK citizen;
- relatives in descending line who are under the age of 21 years or who are dependent. This includes the relatives of EU/EFTA/UK citizens and the relatives of their spouse or registered partner;
- relatives in ascending line who are dependent. This includes the relatives of EU/EFTA/UK citizens and the relatives of their spouse or registered partner;
- in the case of EU/EFTA/UK citizens living as students in Switzerland: spouses or registered partners and their dependent children.
For relatives in descending line aged 21 and over and relatives in ascending line, i.e. parents or grandparents, proof must be provided at the Swiss border that their accommodation and maintenance will be covered, otherwise they will not be permitted to enter Switzerland.
Third-country nationals also have rights of free movement if they are posted to work in Switzerland for no more than 90 days by an employer based in the EU/EFTA, provided they have previously been living and working legally in an EU/EFTA member state for at least one year.
Third-country nationals who have rights of free movement may still require a visa. Please contact the Swiss foreign representation at your place of residence for more information.
What constitutes a case of special necessity?
In cases of special necessity, it is possible to enter Switzerland despite the entry ban. Persons who require a visa must apply for one at the Swiss foreign representation where they live, explaining why they are a case of special necessity. In certain cases, the foreign representation may be able to provide documents confirming the situation. For persons who do not require a visa, the border control officers at the Schengen external border (i.e. at the airport) decide whether the requirements of necessity have been met. They will allow entry in the following cases in particular:
- Entry because a close family member in Switzerland has died or is dying; in particular a spouse, life partner, parent, brother or sister, child, grandchild, or sister- or brother-in-law). You may be accompanied by close family members, i.e. your husband/wife, registered partner and minor children;
- Entry to continue essential medical treatment that began in Switzerland or abroad;
- Entry by the foreign spouse and foreign minor children of a Swiss citizen who wish to return to Switzerland with that Swiss citizen from their present home abroad because of the current situation, for example in the case of evacuation;
- Entry on essential official visits in terms of Switzerland’s international commitments;
- Entry by crew members of scheduled and charter flights and crew members on cargo, aerial work and air-ambulance flights, flights for maintenance checks and private flights (business and general aviation) carrying persons authorised to enter Switzerland;
- Entry in order to care for close family members (children, grandchildren, parents, siblings) in a medical emergency. If there is no medical emergency, childcare by family members is not considered to be an absolute necessity and so a work permit is required. The usual admission requirements apply;
- Entry with one accompanying person in order to exercise rights of access to your children; this also covers the entry of your child into Switzerland;
- Entry to visit immediate family members (i.e. husband/wife, registered partner and minor children) who are living in Switzerland;
- Entry for court appearances, business appointments that cannot be postponed or meetings that require personal presence; for example, to negotiate or sign a contract, business-related inspections or other essential assignments;
- Entry by foreign nationals from third countries who are providing a cross-border service, for up to eight days in any calendar year or who are working temporarily in Switzerland for a foreign employer from a third country, provided their personal presence is essential;
- Entry to accompany persons entering or leaving Switzerland where their entry is permitted under Art. 3 COVID-19 Ordinance 3 and the persons concerned require special support, e.g. children, elderly people, disabled people, sick people;
- Entry by the immediate family members of a Swiss citizen registered with a Swiss foreign representation who are entering Switzerland with that Swiss citizen for a stay here that does not require authorisation. Immediate family means the Swiss citizen’s spouse or registered partner and minor children (including step-children). In certain circumstances it also includes unmarried partners.
- Entry to visit a partner to whom one is not married or in a registered partnership with and with whom one does not have children is possible if:
- a) the person wishing to enter the country has an invitation from the partner living in Switzerland and the partner is a Swiss citizen or has a short-stay permit, temporary or permanent residence permit;
- b) confirmation of the existing partnership is submitted;
- c) proof can be given that at least one face-to-face visit or meeting took place in Switzerland or abroad before entry restrictions were imposed.
- Entry is not permitted on the basis of a mere holiday acquaintance. Proof must be given that a relationship has already lasted for some time and is regularly cultivated. The persons concerned must provide credible evidence that they were in regular contact before and during the corona crisis.
Where exceptions are made, these must not be contrary to the objective of combating the pandemic or to the instructions issued by the FOPH. All persons entering Switzerland from certain countries are subject to quarantine, irrespective of these entry conditions.
Credible proof must be provided when an exception is claimed on the grounds of necessity or public interest. The following documents in particular may be presented to the border control officers or to a Swiss representation abroad as proof:
- Certificate of residence (Wohnsitzbescheinigung)
- Medical certificate
- Death notice
- Extracts from the family register or other civil status documents,
- For partners in a relationship:
- a) written invitation from the person resident in Switzerland, including a copy of their Swiss passport of resident permit;
- b) confirmation of the partnership signed by both partners, by post or scanned and sent electronically;
- c) documents documenting that the partnership has existed for some time (e.g. correspondence via post or email, social media exchanges, telephone bills, air tickets, photos);
- d) and proof that the couple met at least once in Switzerland or abroad before the entry restrictions were introduced, e.g. copy of a passport containing entry and departure stamps.
- Court summons
- Court decrees
- Business documents
- Registration as a Swiss citizen living abroad
- Confirmation of the posting to Switzerland, copy of the contract to carry out work in Switzerland
- A letter of invitation from the company in Switzerland with a brief and concise explanation of why your business meeting is important and cannot be rescheduled and why you need to be present in person
The border control authority is responsible for assessing whether a case is one of necessity. A preliminary decision by SEM is not required. Where a visa is required, the decision is made by the Swiss representation abroad.
If the person wishing to enter Switzerland is in possession of a certificate from a Swiss representation abroad regarding a case of hardship (certificate of entry) or a visa, entry is generally granted provided that the usual entry requirements are also met when crossing the border.
When arriving on a flight to Switzerland, you should take note of the following: provided you can produce written proof that the requirements for a case of necessity are met, you will be permitted to enter Switzerland provided the usual entry requirements are met. However, please note that the airlines themselves decide which passengers they are prepared to carry and on what conditions. The Swiss authorities have no influence over this decision, nor will they organise flights to Switzerland for persons in situations of necessity. For persons who do not require a visa, a Swiss representation abroad my issue a certificate of entry free of charge if it is not possible for the person to enter Switzerland without this.
It is recommended that travellers to Switzerland take a direct flight. The certificate of entry does not guarantee transit through another country. Each country has its own entry and transit requirements.
The requirements and restrictions imposed by local authorities abroad vary according to the pandemic situation in the country concerned. You may have to wait a long time for an appointment. For information on restrictions in that country and the services that are available, we would advise you to consult the information provided by the Swiss foreign representation there. In an emergency, please contact the Swiss foreign representation in the place where you live.
Last modification 31.08.2020