Since 15 / 20 June 2020 all Schengen and EU countries, small European states and some third countries (see list of non high-risk countries ) are no longer considered high-risk countries. 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; 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
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:
Morocco (will again be listed as high-risk country from 16 August. Travelers will be subject to entry restrictions)
Vatican / Holy See
All other countries are still considered high risk and are listed on the list of high-risk countries. Entry restrictions continue to apply to persons entering Switzerland from these countries.
The list of high-risk countries may be adapted according to changes in circumstances. We therefore recommend that you consult this website regularly.
- 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 person with Canadian citizenship can travel directly from Canada to Switzerland. However, if this person is travelling from a high-risk country (see “Which countries are considered to be high-risk?” in the FAQs) e.g. the USA, they are not permitted to enter Switzerland directly, regardless of whether they live in the high-risk country or were just staying or were in transit there.
- A person with US citizenship may not enter Switzerland directly from the USA, as the USA is considered a high-risk country. However, they may enter Switzerland from Canada – provided they satisfy the normal entry requirements.
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 the countries that are not considered to be high-risk countries are listed in the 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 do not appear on the list in Annex 1 to the COVID-19 Ordinance 3 are considered to be high-risk.
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?’
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. This means that direct entry from a country not considered high-risk is possible, but entry is not possible if you travel from a country not considered high-risk via a country that is considered high-risk, as that would mean you are entering directly from a high-risk country.
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. 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 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. 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 14.08.2020