Corona: Questions and answers on entry and stay in Switzerland, the exceptions and suspension of visas

As our helpline is being inundated with emails and telephone calls, we would recommend that you first read the most frequently asked questions and their answers regarding entry restrictions and the applicable exceptions.

If you cannot find the answers to your questions in the following information, you can contact us by email. Please note that we receive more than 1,000 enquiries a day and usually require a few days to answer each of them. We give priority to enquiries on matters of urgency.

As the Swiss migration authority, we can only advise you on the rules that apply when entering Switzerland. The rules governing entry to other countries are a matter for the authorities in those countries.


General questions

The Federal Council is pursuing the following objectives with its measures.

  • The ordinance regulates measures introduced to contain the coronavirus that relate to entering Switzerland at its land and air borders. They are intended to halt the further spread of the pandemic. The safety of the population is the main priority.
  • On 11 May, the Federal Council decided on the first easing of restrictions at the Swiss border.
    See Press release of 29 April 2020
  • A further relaxation involving Germany and Austria has since 16 May allowed unmarried couples to cross the border to visit each other, and owners of second homes or persons tending allotments etc. to cross the border to visit their properties.From 8 June, a further easing of restrictions will come into effect, which will primarily benefit the economy and facilitate recruitment in the jobs market. The processing of all applications made by workers from the EU/EFTA area will begin again. In addition, Swiss businesses will be able to employ highly skilled workers from third countries if this is in the public interest or if they are urgently needed. Family reunification will be possible again under the normal conditions and procedures for anyone holding a permanent residence, residence or short stay permit.
  • On 15 June, it is planned to lift all travel restrictions and restore full free movement of persons with Germany, Austria and France.
  • The Federal Council aims to lift all travel restrictions and restore full free movement of persons to and from all Schengen states by 6 July.
  • The Federal Council will decide on a further easing of entry restrictions for countries at a later date and in consultation with with the other Schengen states.
  • Until then, entry to Switzerland solely for tourist purposes is not permitted.

Any foreign nationals who wish to enter Switzerland country and do not hold a valid residence or work permit will be refused entry.

The following persons in particular are affected by the entry ban:

  • 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.

Currently, all countries except Liechtenstein are affected by the measures.

The Swiss authorities have not imposed any quarantine measures on persons entering the country. However, you must comply with the government’s hygiene and social distancing rules:

Recommendations for travellers

The Federal Council is gradually relaxing the corona-related restrictions on entry and admission. The relaxation of measures is dependent on how the corona pandemic develops, and on the action taken by Switzerland’s neighbouring countries. As a result, it is not possible at present to say exactly when individual measures will be lifted. The first step to ease restrictions was taken in Switzerland on 11 May. The second, a joint move between Switzerland, Germany and Austria, took effect from 16 May 2020. A further relaxation of restrictions will come into effect on 8 June 2020. The aim is to lift all restrictions on travel to and from Germany, Austria and France on 15 June.

See press releases: 

of 29 April 2020 
of 13 May 2020 
of 15 May 2020 
of 27 May 2020


Questions on border closures and the exceptions

The border control authority will not allow you to enter Switzerland unless you meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • You are a Swiss citizen.
  • You 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;
    • - a C visa issued by Switzerland in order to work on a short-term contract;
    • - an assurance of a residence permit from a cantonal migration authority (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.)
  • You have a refugee’s travel document issued by Switzerland and a valid residence or permanent residence permit or a valid F permit.
  • You are an EU/EFTA citizen and have official documentation to confirm that you have a work-related reason for entering Switzerland (notification / attestation d’annonce; for employment/provision of services for up to 90 days). Holders of such documentation may enter Switzerland at the earliest one day before the work is due to begin.
  • You are transporting goods for commercial purposes and have a delivery order for your merchandise.
  • You are simply travelling directly through Switzerland to another country that you are permitted to enter.
  • You are in a situation of special necessity. The border control authority will assess the necessity of your situation.
  • You are a specialist in the healthcare sector and need to enter Switzerland for important work-related reasons (an official document – notification / attestation d’annonce or an assurance of a permit or an entry permit with the visa – is still required).

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. Please ask the airline concerned about the conditions that they apply.

No, the import of goods via a border crossing from a neighbouring country is prohibited if they journey has been made solely in order to go shopping. This applies even if the entry requirements mentioned above are met.

Press release from the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) of 16 April 2020

In cases of special necessity, it is possible to enter Switzerland despite the entry ban. The border control officers decide on the spot 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 public transport crew members (e.g. trains, buses, trams, scheduled and charter flights) as well as 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 and drivers of private school buses;
  • Entry in order to care for close family members who are sick, elderly or are minors, regardless of the degree of the relationship;
  • 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. spouse, registered partner and minor children) who are living in Switzerland; it is also possible to visit immediate family members from EU/EFTA states who are staying in Switzerland while working in a temporary job (e.g. as seasonal workers or agricultural labourers);
  • Entry for court appearances or business appointments that cannot be postponed and that require your personal presence; for example, to negotiate or sign a contract, business-related inspections or other essential assignments;
  • Entry by healthcare specialists and their family members;
  • Entry by persons carrying out urgent maintenance work on vital infrastructure; e.g. specialists in nuclear power plant maintenance;
  • Entry to accompany persons entering or leaving Switzerland where their entry is permitted under Art. 3 COVID-19 Ordinance 2 and the persons concerned require special support, e.g. children, elderly people, disabled people, sick people;
  • Entry by EU/EFTA nationals who can produce a contract of employment concluded before 25 March 2020 and a signed lease valid for a property in Switzerland from 1 April at the latest.
  • Entry to care for or collect or deliver animals, which if not done in person would result in the animal suffering harm or death.
  • Entry by children and young adults in order to attend kindergartens, or primary and lower secondary schools in Switzerland. Pupils attending kindergartens, or primary and lower secondary schools may be accompanied by a parent or carer when entering Switzerland.

Where exceptions are made, they must not be contrary to the objective of combating the pandemic or to the instructions issued by the FOPH.

Proof must be provided when an exception is claimed on the grounds of necessity, emergency or public interest. The following documents in particular may be presented to the border control officers as proof:

  • Certificate of residence (Wohnsitzbescheinigung)
  • Medical certificate
  • Death notice
  • Extracts from the family register or other civil status documents,
  • Court summons
  • Court decrees
  • Business documents
  • Written confirmation or student ID card from the primary or lower secondary school or children’s nursery

The border control authority is responsible for assessing whether a case is one of necessity. A preliminary decision by SEM is not required provided the circumstances clearly constitute one of the necessity scenarios. We therefore urge you not to call the Helpline in such cases because of the long waiting times.

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. 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.

Entering Switzerland for the sole purpose of visiting a second home does not currently fall under the valid cases of special necessity (see however the section on "Easing of restrictions by Switzerland, Germany and Austria"); the same applies to everyday banking transactions that do not require the bank customer to be personally present 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.


Easing of restrictions by Switzerland, Germany and Austria

Switzerland has reached an agreement with Germany and Austria to relax certain restrictions on border traffic and allow the following groups from these countries to enter Switzerland for important family-related reasons.

The agreement applies - subject to normal entry requirements - irrespective of nationality:

  • to unmarried couples wishing to visit each other, provided they were already in an established relationship before March 2020;
  • to relatives, i.e. parents, grandparents, adult children, grandchildren, brothers and sisters, in-laws, aunts, uncles, and cousins, (regardless of whether they are directly related or related via an (un)married partner) wishing to visit each other
  • to persons wishing to attend important family events, such as weddings, funerals or religious festivals, including persons from outside the family circle (e.g. close friends).

The duration of the visit is limited to a maximum of 90 days.

The reason for entry must be credibly explained in a signed declaration (self-declaration). This must printed out, completed and signed, and then produced when requested by the border control officers. Entry will not be permitted if the self-declaration is displayed on an electronic device, as a handwritten signature is required. The self-declaration is not handed over on crossing the border and no data is recorded. The self-declaration forms issued by Switzerland, Germany and Austria are each equally valid. Persons may enter Switzerland using any of the three forms. Each person crossing the border must complete one form each time they enter Switzerland. Minor children may however be listed on the form completed by their mother or father.

Self-declaration for visits:

in German 
in French 
in Italian 
(This document is not available in English)

After entering Switzerland, persons must comply with the public health-related regulations issued by the FOPH, most particularly the rules on hygiene and social distancing.

Persons who knowingly provide false information in the self-declaration may be prosecuted.

Switzerland has reached an agreement with Germany and Austria to relax certain restrictions on border traffic and allow persons, irrespective of their nationality but subject to normal entry requirements, to enter Switzerland from Germany or Austria in order to visit properties that they own or rent for personal use (in particular second homes and allotments), to maintain or use agricultural or hunting land and woodlands, or to tend to animals.

The reason for entry must be credibly explained in a signed declaration (self-declaration). This must printed out, completed and signed, and then produced when requested by the border control officers. Entry will not be permitted if the self-declaration is displayed on an electronic device, as a handwritten signature is required. The self-declaration is not handed over on crossing the border and no data is recorded. The self-declaration forms issued by Switzerland, Germany and Austria are each equally valid. Persons may enter Switzerland using any of the three forms. Each person crossing the border must complete one form each time they enter Switzerland. Minor children may however be listed on the form completed by their mother or father. This means that a person can enter Switzerland with their husband/wife and their minor children.

Self-declaration for owners/tenants:

in German 
in French 
in Italian 
(This document is not available in English)

After entering Switzerland, persons must comply with the public health-related regulations issued by the FOPH, most particularly the rules on hygiene and social distancing). Persons who knowingly provide false information in the self-declaration may be prosecuted.

No, in this case you will not be allowed to cross the border. You will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if you have completed the declaration fully and truthfully.


Rules applicable to unmarried couples (apart from those resident in Germany and Austria)

Unfortunately not, the relaxation of measures only applies to couples where one partner is resident in Switzerland and the other resident in Germany or Austria. In the case of other couples who have been separated by the current restrictions on entry to Switzerland, but who are not married or in a registered partnership and who do not have children together, the partner currently outside Switzerland is still not permitted to enter Switzerland at this stage.

See the section on easing of restrictions with neighbouring countries.

However, unmarried couples who have minor children together can enter Switzerland for visits. Suitable documents to prove the circumstances must be provided at the border, such as extracts from the family register or other civil register certificates.

Entry to Switzerland in order to make the administrative preparations required for getting married is not possible at present. Applications for a short stay permit in order to prepare for a wedding are not currently being processed by the cantonal migration offices.


Questions on family reunification

Under the rules of family reunification, relatives of persons resident in Switzerland may move to Switzerland in order to become permanently resident here; family reunification does not simply mean coming to Switzerland to visit or spend a holiday with relatives who live here.

 
Family reunification where the family members already resident in Switzerland are Swiss citizens

As of 11 May 2020, family reunification involving the foreign spouses and minor children of Swiss citizens is again possible.

If you have any questions, please contact the immigration office in your canton of residence.

You will find further information on family reunification in the FNIA directives issued by SEM (Sec. 6.2 ff): 
FNIA directives 
(This document is not available in English)

 
Family reunification where the family members already resident in Switzerland are EU/EFTA citizens

As of 11 May 2020, family reunification involving family members of EU/EFTA citizens holding a Swiss residence permit (L, B or C) is again possible, irrespective of the nationality of the family members currently living abroad.

EU/EFTA citizens can bring their own children, their spouse and his or her children under the age of 21 to live in Switzerland, as long as they can provide for the upkeep of these family members. EU/EFTA citizens and their spouses can also bring children over the age of 21 and other relatives in ascending line (i.e. parents, grandparents) to Switzerland, as long as they can provide accommodation for and cover the upkeep of these family members. Students from EU/EFTA states can bring their spouses and dependent children to Switzerland.

If you want to bring any of your family members here, you must live in a house or apartment that is suitable for accommodating them. Self-employed people or people who are not working must also prove that they have the financial means to support their family members.

If you have any questions, please contact the immigration office in your canton of residence.

You will find more information in the Factsheet on family reunification for EU/EFTA citizens.

 
Family reunification where the family members already resident in Switzerland are third-country citizens
Under the current COVID-19-related restrictions, family reunification is not possible where the family members already resident in Switzerland are third-country citizens.

However, foreign nationals who are admitted to Switzerland under the exceptions in the COVID-2 Ordinance in order to work as specialists in the healthcare sector or in connection with national economic supply may bring their spouses and their children under the age of 18.

If you have any questions, please contact the immigration office in your canton of residence.

You will find further information on family reunification in the FNIA directives issued by SEM (Sec. 6.2 ff): 
FNIA directives 
(This document is not available in English)

An application for family reunification must be submitted to the cantonal migration authority in the applicant’s canton of residence. The family members resident abroad, even if they are EU/EFTA citizens, require not only a travel document (e.g. a passport) but also the assurance of a residence permit for Switzerland. If they are third-country nationals, a visa is generally required for entry; they can apply for this at the Swiss representation in their country. The Swiss representation needs the approval of the cantonal immigration office concerned before it can issue a visa.

List of cantonal migration offices


Entry by EU/EFTA citizens and cross-border commuters in order to work, and free movement of persons

Entry to Switzerland is still possible for people who hold a residence document (L, B or C permits), a cross-border commuter permit (G permit) or an official document confirming a work-related reason for entering Switzerland (Meldebestätigung / attestation d’annonce; for employment/provision of services for up to 90 days).

Cross-border commuters and service providers must have a work-related reason for entering the country. In general, border crossings should be kept to a minimum and non-urgent travel should be avoided. In the case of self-employed cross-border commuters working with a business in Switzerland, entry for accounting purposes or to collect post should in principle be permitted even if the business itself is closed. The foregoing applies only if the person concerned can produce a valid cross-border commuter permit.

Furthermore, entry is no longer possible for a 90-day stay not subject to authorisation.  Accordingly, only persons with an official document (Meldebestätigung / attestation d’annonce) or an assurance of a permit or an entry permit with the visa may enter Switzerland. An overriding public interest is required. An employment contract or an order confirmation is not sufficient to cross the Swiss border.

In principle, persons will only be allowed to enter Switzerland in order to work if there is an overriding public interest in them doing so in terms of the COVID-19 Ordinance 2. The activities concerned are primarily those that ensure the supply of essential goods and services in relation to health care, agriculture (skilled and unskilled workers), information technology and scientific research. In these cases, workers may be issued with a residence permit or provided with an assurance that a permit will be issued and this will permit them to cross the border.

In the following cases, the cantonal authority will process applications for residence or cross-border commuter permits for workers from EU/EFTA states even if there is no overriding public interest in doing so:

  • The application for a residence or cross-border commuter permit was filed before entry restrictions were introduced, i.e. before 25 March 2020.
  • The person concerned concluded a contract of employment with an employer in Switzerland before 25 March 2020.

It is the responsibility of the cantonal authorities to decide in each individual case whether there is an overriding public interest.

Persons who have the assurance of a residence permit can enter Switzerland at most three days before the date on which the assurance becomes valid.

The cantonal migration authorities are responsible for granting residence and cross-border commuter permits. You will find contact details here: 
Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities.

If your residence or cross-border commuter permit has expired, contact your local cantonal immigration office to apply for a new one or an extension. Because of current situation, it may take some time to process your application. You will not be allowed to enter Switzerland on the basis of a residence or cross-border commuter permit that has expired.

The notification procedure is used for short-term work that takes a maximum of three months or 90 days within any calendar year. It applies to both short-term contracts of employment and the provision of services.

For a notification to be issued, there must be an overriding public interest in terms of the COVID-19 Ordinance 2. This is the case if the activity concerned ensures the availability of essential goods and services related to health care, agriculture (skilled and unskilled workers), information technology and scientific research.

In the following exceptional cases, the notification will also be confirmed even if there is no overriding public interest:

  • The notification was submitted before 25 March 2020 and then put on hold.
  • The provision of services is based on a written agreement concluded before 25 March 2020.
  • A contract of employment with an employer in Switzerland was concluded before 25 March 2020.
  • The employee has already worked twice before for the same employer in Switzerland.

If any of these exceptions applies, this must be stated in the comment field on the notification form. Supporting documents must be sent to the cantonal authority by e-mail.

SEM has also issued a circular to the cantons recommending that they also confirm notifications that for compelling economic reasons should not be delayed. This applies for example when a customer that would be of major economic importance to the region or company concerned might not otherwise be acquired (for example where entry is required to make presentations of products or services or to hold sales talks with a view to contractual negotiations). The cantonal authorities must decide in each individual case whether there is a compelling economic interest.

The cantonal authorities are responsible for processing notifications. You will find their contact details here: 
Adressen Meldeverfahren
(This document is not available in English)

The notification procedure must be used for short-term contracts of employment and the provision of services (e.g. carrying out repairs or installation work; meetings with customers to plan projects, specialised work) from the first day of work. It is not possible to enter Switzerland without confirmation of notification. Persons who have confirmation of notification can enter the country no earlier than one day before the start of the job.

If your work meets the foregoing criteria, we recommend that you use the notification procedure by clicking on the following link: 
Notification procedure

Extensions and other changes are possible. A request should be sent by email to the cantonal authority responsible for the notification procedure.


Entry to work for third-country nationals (non-EU/EFTA citizens)

Persons who already have an entry permit including a visa or the assurance of a residence permit can still enter the country. Employees from third countries who already have a permit to work in Switzerland but who have not been issued with a visa because of the entry restrictions will be allowed to enter the country. They or their employer should contact the responsible cantonal migration authorities in order to update their authorisation to enter Switzerland or obtain the assurance of a residence permit.

Applications for authorisation to employ persons from third countries that were filed before the restrictions on the admission of third-country nationals came into force (up to and including 18 March 2020) will now be processed. They will be approved provided the requirements of the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act are met and the person concerned is actually able to begin the job.

Third-country nationals can also enter Switzerland in order to work if their work is vital to Switzerland (e.g. healthcare specialists such as doctors and research scientists, and persons carrying out urgently needed work on crucial infrastructure, such as specialists in nuclear power plant maintenance). In order to enter, they require the assurance of a residence permit or an entry permit including a visa.

Persons from third countries planning to work for a business or organisation that is still required by the Federal Council Ordinance to remain closed are still not permitted to enter Switzerland.

New applications for work permits (submitted after 18 March 2020) for workers who are not currently resident in Switzerland will not be processed by the cantonal authorities at present.


Questions on suspending the issuing of visas

The Federal Council considers that all non-essential travel must be stopped to reduce the spread of the virus. Suspending the issuing of visas helps to achieve this goal.

The currently visa suspension (Visa C and Visa D) will remain in force. At the moment it is not possible to apply for a visa, regardless of the date of your planned journey.

Restrictions will be lifted in line with the gradual general relaxation of the entry restrictions; details will be published on our website. In particular, it is planned to lift restrictions on visa applications from persons wishing to be reunited with close family members in Switzerland.

The Federal Council will decide on a further easing of entry restrictions for third countries at a later date and in consultation with with the other Schengen states.

Yes, exceptions will be made, in particular for specialists in the healthcare sector and specialists who must carry out urgent maintenance work on vital infrastructure (e.g. doctors, research scientists, specialists in nuclear power plant maintenance), since their work is of great importance for Switzerland. Applications can still be submitted and processed for these persons. In order to be issued with a visa, they require a work permit and authorisation to enter the country.

Furthermore, exceptions may be made in the case of applications for short-term stays and for visas in cases of necessity involving persons entering Switzerland in order to work (and their family members). If you wish to apply for a visa, you should contact your local Swiss consulate or representation.

You do not have to submit a new application for a work permit. Your prospective employer should contact the local cantonal migration authority in order to update the entry authorisation or assurance of a residence permit.


Questions on travelling through and leaving Switzerland

Whether you will be allowed to enter our neighbouring countries is a matter for the authorities in those countries. Switzerland will not stop anyone from leaving the country. Anyone wishing to enter Switzerland from abroad must be able to present one of the following documents:

Foreign persons entering Switzerland for the purpose of crossing it directly and leaving it for their country of origin or for the country in which they can prove that they have their habitual residence are permitted to transit. If there is reason to believe that it is not possible to leave Switzerland again after transit (in particular due to entry regulations of another country), entry into Switzerland for the purpose of transit will be refused.

Persons who have to travel to their place of work abroad may travel through Switzerland provided they can present a valid employment contract.

Students and their accompanying person may travel through Switzerland provided they can present a confirmation from their school or a current student identity card.

Persons who have to travel abroad for an important doctor's appointment can travel through Switzerland, provided they can present a confirmation of the doctor's appointment.

Transit for touristic purposes is possible for all persons who are currently legally residing in the EU/EFTA area, provided they can prove that they actually want to/can enter the destination country, for example with a booking reservation, apartment reservation etc.

Entry may be allowed in order to accompany persons who are permitted to enter Switzerland in accordance with Art. 3 COVID-19 Ordinance 2 and who require special support (e.g. children, persons who are elderly, disabled or ill). However, proof must be provided on entry that support is needed and the person concerned is unable to enter or leave the country independently.

It is also possible to take persons directly to or collect them from the French sector of Geneva Airport without entering Switzerland. Persons arriving in the French sector can then pass directly through to the Swiss sector of the airport. For more information, consult the Geneva Airport website: 

Aéroport Genève – Secteur français

Entry is permitted for persons carrying out a transport order and who can produce a bill of lading. A ‘bill of lading’ is any document that lists in detail the goods delivered in the shipment.

Employees of commercial removal companies with a goods delivery note or forwarding order are in principle allowed to enter the country. For private movers from abroad without a valid residence permit (friends, family), entry is currently not possible.


Questions on asylum

In principle, asylum seekers are treated in the same way as any other people. The new ordinance does not contain special provisions on asylum seekers. Anyone on Swiss territory is still entitled to apply for asylum.

No. The procedure is based on emergency law in accordance with our constitution. Emergency law allows for this ordinance and permits the suspension of non-essential international law provisions. However, binding international law provisions such as the non-refoulement principle continue to apply and will be respected by Switzerland.


Information for international travellers

There is no ban on public transport in Switzerland, since people can keep a safe distance from each other in railway stations. You should avoid travelling during rush hours and avoid leisure trips altogether. 

Information from the Federal Office of Transport FOT 
(webpage available in German, French and Italian)

If you are unable to leave the Schengen area before the expiry of your Schengen visa due to a cancelled flight, please contact the relevant migration authority in your canton of residence.

Contact information: 
Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities

It is possible to stop over at one of the Swiss airports, as long as you do not leave the transit zone of the airport and you can prove that you can continue your journey to your destination country.

If you are unable to board your flight and are stuck in an international transit area of an airport, contact the local border control authorities directly.

If you are subject to visa requirements and have to leave the international transit zone until you are able to continue your onward flight, or if you are unable to fly home and are forced to travel by land, a Schengen visa may be issued at the border on the following special terms. These visas are valid for a maximum of 15 days:

  • Travel documents valid for less than three months are accepted.
  • No travel health insurance is required.
  • Nationals subject to the Schengen consultation requirement are issued a visa with limited validity for Switzerland (C-VrG);
  • The visa is issued free of charge.

If you are not subject to the visa requirement, you will be granted entry to the Schengen area, provided no entry restrictions apply. You will need to report to the competent cantonal migration authority of your place of residence within 15 days.

Cantonal immigration and labour market authorities

Any foreign nationals who wish to enter Switzerland directly from a high-risk country will be refused entry. The following persons in particular are affected by the entry ban:

  • Persons who wish to obtain services in Switzerland;
  • Tourists, visitors and participants in events;
  • Persons who wish to come to Switzerland for medical treatment;
  • Persons seeking employment in Switzerland;
  • Persons who wish to submit an application for a residence permit.

The following are considered high-risk countries:

  • All countries except Liechtenstein.

Travellers who have been issued with a visa but who are not allowed to enter Switzerland or the Schengen area due to the entry ban and whose visa therefore expires unused should contact the relevant Swiss representation. 

Swiss representations abroad


Easing of restrictions from 8 June 2020

The definitive arrangements for the easing of restrictions that begins on 8 June will be finalised in due course and published on this webpage. We therefore recommend that you check our website regularly for the latest information.

The following easing of restrictions on migration will come into effect in Switzerland on 8 June 2020:

  • The cantons will begin to process all applications for residence or cross-border commuter permits made by workers from EU/EFTA states. The same applies to notifications of short-term assignments with an employer in Switzerland and of the cross-border provision of services for a maximum 90 days in any year.
  • A further relaxation of measures is also planned for workers from third countries. The cantonal authorities will be able to accept, process and approve applications provided the requirements of the law on foreign nationals are met, the work is in the public interest and in particular if it is necessary for the national economic supply or meets an urgent economic need, i.e. if the business concerned urgently requires this skilled labour from an economic perspective and the work cannot be postponed or carried out from abroad. Furthermore, with a view to the new 2020/21 school year, teachers from third countries will be admitted provided they meet the requirements of the law on foreign nationals (with the exception of teachers or supervisors for summer camps).
  • Family reunification is once again possible under the usual conditions and procedures for anyone holding a permanent residence, residence or short stay permit and for temporarily admitted persons, i.e. applications can once again be submitted to the cantonal immigration offices.
  • School pupils and students will be allowed to enter Switzerland to begin, continue or finish their studies, regardless of their nationality. This does not apply, however, to education and further training lasting less than 90 days. Confirmation from the school or confirmation of matriculation may be produced at the border as proof.
  • The cantons will again begin to process applications for short stay permits from persons wishing to get married to or enter into a registered partnership with a Swiss citizen or with a foreign citizen holding a residence or permanent residence permit.
  • The Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA in consultation with the Federal Department of Justice and Police FDJP and the Federal Department of Finance FDF may order health checks, such as temperature readings, health questionnaires or quarantine, for persons arriving from countries designated as high-risk under the COVID Ordinance.
  • The Federal Council has decided, in parallel with the step to ease restrictions taken on 8 June to reintroduce the obligation to give notice of job vacancies, which had been suspended, so that job seekers already living in Switzerland gain a time advantage over applicants from abroad.

Italy has announced that it will lift its controls on borders with neighbouring countries within the Schengen Area on 3 June 2020. Switzerland has informed Italy that lifting controls on its borders with Italy on this date would still be too early. The Federal Council plans in the coming weeks to coordinate this step and any accompanying health-related measures at the borders with Italy and countries neighbouring Italy. It will include the border cantons, and especially Ticino, in its discussions.


Easing of restrictions from 15 June 2020

The definitive arrangements for the easing of restrictions that begins on 15 June will be finalised in due course and published on this webpage. We therefore recommend that you check our website regularly for the latest information.

Controls on the borders with Germany, Austria and France should be lifted on 15 June provided the pandemic situation allows.

The Federal Council also intends to reintroduce the complete free movement of persons and lift all travel restrictions to and from Schengen states, starting from mid-June. The process should be completed by 6 July 2020 at the latest.

Federal Council press release of 27.05.2020


For enquiries by telephone, very long waiting times must be expected. Please therefore send your questions by email to corona@sem.admin.ch whenever possible.

Only call the helpline in emergencies: +41 58 465 77 60

We are continuously expanding our helpline team and apologise for any inconvenience!

Documentation

(This document is not available in English)

  • Weisung (Fassung vom 16. Mai 2020) (PDF, 848.73 KB)

    Umsetzung der Verordnung 2 über Massnahmen zur Bekämpfung des Coronavirus (COVID-19-Verordnung 2) sowie zum Vorgehen bezüglich Ein-/Ausreise in/aus der Schweiz

  • Directive (version du 16 mai 2020) (PDF, 450.96 KB)

    Mise en œuvre de l’ordonnance 2 sur les mesures destinées à lutter contre le coronavirus (ordonnance 2 COVID-19) et sur la procédure à l’entrée en Suisse et à la sortie de Suisse

  • Istruzione (versione del 16 maggio 2020) (PDF, 379.43 KB)

    Attuazione dell’ordinanza 2 sui provvedimenti per combattere il coronavirus (Ordinanza 2 COVID-19) – procedure per l’entrata e l’uscita dalla Svizzera
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(This document is not available in English)

  • Rundschreiben (Fassung vom 8. Mai 2020) (PDF, 416.66 KB)

    Umsetzung der Verordnung 2 über Massnahmen zur Bekämpfung des Coronavirus (COVID-19) bei der Bearbeitung von Bewilligungsgesuchen und Meldungen nach dem Freizügigkeitsabkommen

  • Circulaire (version du 8 mai 2020) (PDF, 344.44 KB)

    Mise en œuvre de l’ordonnance 2 sur les mesures destinées à lutter contre le coronavirus (COVID-19) dans le cadre du traitement des demandes d’autorisations et des annonces au sens de l’Accord sur la libre circulation des personnes

  • Circolare (versione dell’8 maggio 2020) (PDF, 338.11 KB)

    Attuazione dell’ordinanza 2 sui provvedimenti per combattere il coronavirus (COVID-19) nel trattare le domande di permesso e le notifiche ai sensi dell’Accordo sulla libera circolazione delle persone

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