Entry ban for travellers from the UK and South Africa

Following reports of a new variant of the coronavirus, which seems to be miore transmissible than the existing strain, the Federal Council has taken additional measures. So far, the new variant of the virus has been detected in the UK and South Africa. New provisions have therefore been issued regarding these countries.

  1. The Federal Council has decided to suspend flights between Switzerland and the UK and between Switzerland and South Africa until further notice.  
  1. In addition, the Federal Council has decided to impose entry bans on all foreign nationals coming from the UK or South Africa. These entry restrictions apply to stays of less than 3 months without a permit. This applies in particular to travel to Switzerland for tourism purposes. The measure applies from 1pm on Monday, 21 December.

The following exceptions apply to the entry ban from the UK and South Africa:

  • Nationals of Switzerland and Lichtenstein and their family members, as well as holders of a Swiss residence permit are not affected by the entry ban. If they are able to travel to Switzerland, they may continue to do so.
  • Nationals from the UK and South Africa who are already in the Schengen area may continue to enter Switzerland. The measure is not aimed at persons on the basis of nationality, but on the basis of where they started their journey.

Temporary derogation from flight ban for connections between Switzerland, the UK and South Africa

The competent Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) may grant special flight permits to airlines for the transport of stranded persons.

On the one hand, this concerns flights departing from Switzerland: They are generally intended to enable persons resident in the UK or South Africa currently in Switzerland to return home.

On the other hand, persons from the United Kingdom and South Africa may be carried to Switzerland. Airlines with a special permitOnly the following persons may be transported on flights to Switzerland with an exceptional permit from the FOCA:

  • Swiss citizens (incl. citizens of Liechtenstein)
  • Holders of a Swiss residence permit or type D visa from Switzerland
  • Holders of a ’laisser passer’ issued by a Swiss representation in hardship cases

If you have questions about whether and when a flight will be operated, you should contact the airline directly.

Last modification 24.12.2020

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