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What should you know about travelling from the UK to Switzerland?

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Brits visiting Switzerland won’t need to present a negative or positive PCR test, evidence of recovery, or proof that they have been immunised. This change was made after Switzerland largely dropped its Covid-19 restrictions.

Visitors who have not been vaccinated are not allowed to enter the country.

Before crossing the Swiss border, those wishing were required to prove they had been immunised.

Passenger Locator forms will no longer be required for arrivals.

Masks won’t be required in restaurants, shops or public places after you arrive in the country.

What are the requirements to enter Switzerland from the UK?  

Switzerland will allow UK-vaccinated travellers to enter the country from Saturday 22 January without the need to show proof of a negative PCR/antigen test.

Travellers who can prove recent recovery from the virus are also eligible to enter without the need of a negative Pre-Departure Test.

Those who are fully vaccinated/have recovered from Covid-19 only need to:

  • You must show proof of recovery or vaccination
  • If the traveller is flying by plane or by long-distance coach, they must complete a passenger location form ( SwissPLF).

An entry ban will remain in effect for UK citizens who are not currently vaccinated or have not recovered after the virus’ attack.

Anyone who has not had their Covid-19 treatment and is allowed to enter Switzerland without being vaccinated must continue to have a pre-travel PCR or antigen test. They won’t need to repeat the Covid test after arriving, but they can do so for as little as four to seven more days.

They should:

  • You must complete a passenger location form ( SwissPLF). This is required if the person travels by plane or long-distance bus.
  • Pre-departure proof (rapid blood test within 24 hours or rapid antigen test within 72 hours)

Children under 16 don’t have to take any exams.

If you’re travelling through Switzerland

It is not necessary for travellers who transit airside in Switzerland to pass a negative check before boarding a flight to Switzerland. But, they might need to prove a negative report for their onward destination.

If you are entering Switzerland to travel to another Schengen State, the usual requirements for entering Switzerland will apply.

Further information about transiting through Switzerland may be found on the webpage of the State Secretariat for Migration.

Exemptions: Work and compassionate reasons

Before travelling to Switzerland, you must apply for a laissez passer’ from the Swissembassy in situations that are special necessity.

Contact the Federal Office of Public Health for further advice on Switzerland travel. The number is +41 58464 44 88 from 4am to 9pm GMT. English, German, French, Italian, and German assistance is available.

Before you travel, be sure to verify your passport and travel documents.

Passport validity

You must follow the Schengen guidelines if you intend to travel to an EU member country (except Ireland), Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Andorra.

There are 2 requirements for your passport to be valid. It must satisfy the following conditions

  • It is less than 10 year old when you enter the program (check the date of issue’).
  • Valid for at the very least 3 months starting on the day you plan your departure (check the expiry Date’).

We are asking for clarification from the European Commission on the 10-year rule. Their guidance for Schengen frontier guards may not get updated until 2022. For certain Schengen country passports, you may not need to have a passport older than 10years during your entire visit. In addition, the 3 month period at the end of your trip may need to be within 10years from the date of your passport’s issue.

Double-check the expiry date and the issue date on your passport. An extra month may have been added to your passport’s expiry if you renewed your passport before it expired. This could result in your passport needing to be less than 10 years old.

If you believe your passport is not meeting these requirements, contact your travel provider. Renewal of your passport is possible if you feel the need.

Visas

You can travel within Schengen to any country for up to 90% of a 180-day span without obtaining a visa. This applies to tourists, family members, and those who travel for training purposes or business purposes.

You must be within the 90-day visa limit if you travel to Switzerland or any other Schengen country. The 90-day period includes visits to Schengen nations within the preceding 180 days.

For you to stay longer or to study, work or study in Switzerland, as well as for other reasons, it is necessary to meet the Swiss government’s entry requirements. For more information, see the Swiss Embassy website.

The guidance on visas, permits and travel documents for those who are travelling to Switzerland is helpful.

The 90-day visa-free restriction does not apply to residence permits or long-stay visas issued in Switzerland.

Passport stamping

You must ensure your passport is stamped when you enter the Schengen zone through Switzerland as a visitor. Passport stamps will be used by border guards for verification that you have not exceeded the 90-day visa exempt limit for short stays in Schengen. Border guards can assume that you have gone over the visa-free limit by checking your passport for relevant stamps.

You can present evidence to prove when and where your entry or exit from the Schengen zone. The border guards may ask you to add this date/location to your passport. Acceptable evidence includes tickets and boarding passes.

You may also want to:

  • Show a Return or Onward ticket
  • You should show you have sufficient money for your stay

You can stamp your passport by reading our Living and Working in Switzerland guide.

Customs regulations

You can find advice and information about Swiss customs regulations at the website of the Federal Customs Administration.

Swiss Covid restrictions expanded.

UK travel restrictions are being relaxed to allow more people to take advantage of the Swiss slopes this winter. But, travellers should remain cautious of the ongoing national measures in Switzerland that have been put in place to limit the coronavirus’s spread.

A statement released by the Switzerland Federal Council on 19 January stated that “the requirement to work at home will continue through February as well the rules regarding contact quarantine.”

“The 2G’, 2G+’ rules in specific indoor settings, an extended mask requirement in indoor setting, the’ 3G’ rule outdoors with over 300 participants, and restrictions for private gatherings will all apply until the middle of March.”

The vaccination status of a person is called “2G”, meaning they must have received or been vaccinated against Covid. However, the designation “2G Plus” can be used to indicate that they must have received or been vaccinated against Covid and have an additional certificate showing a negative test result.

A person must be vaccinated or have recovered from Covid.

According to the Federal Council, its decision is based on “a strained position in hospitals”.

The Council also stated that, in line with EU policy, it reduced the validity period of certificates used to prove vaccination or recovery from Covid-19 to 279 days after the end of January.

A vaccination certificate that was valid for more than 270 days will no longer be valid.

The measures are not limited to Switzerland. They will be applicable across all EU nations. If they are travelling between EU countries, travellers, including those from the UK, need not meet this requirement.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Switzerland saw a 69% increase in confirmed Covid cases week-on-week at the beginning of January. More than 180,000 Covid cases are confirmed in the country.

Places you should see in Switzerland.

The Matterhorn

This pyramid-shaped giant makes Switzerland one of the most popular places to visit. At an impressive 4,478 metres, thrill-seeking mountaineers around the world descend on Switzerland to attempt this summit. If you’re not feeling energetic, consider the cable cars. This mountain boasts the highest cable car station within the Alps. From here, you can enjoy spectacular views of both the mountain peak itself and the surrounding areas. It doesn’t get any more Swiss than a visit to the Matterhorn.

Jungfraujoch

The Jungfraujoch Alpine beauty is worthy of its nickname “Top of Europe”. The Jungfraujoch is technically a ridge of glaciers between two mountains. Do not let the altitude discourage you – there is plenty to do for everyone, from mountain climbing to tobogganing. The world-famous Jungfrau railroad is perhaps the most striking attraction. The train travels from Kleine Scheidegg up to Jungfraujoch. It is Europe’s highest railway station, at 3,454 metres above the sea.

Chateau de Chillon

You can’t visit Switzerland without seeing the mediaeval Chateau de Chillon. The castle is situated on an Island in Lake Geneva close to Montreux. It was built as a strategic water fort in the 10th century. It was used as a strategic water fort until it became a summer home on Lake Geneva by the wealthy Counts. After that, the castle rooms were furnished with art and treasures, which visitors can still enjoy today. The castle is Switzerland’s most famous historical monument. This is a must-see for anyone visiting Switzerland.

Schweizerischer Nationalpark

It can be difficult for people to know where they should go in a country full of stunning scenery. It is clear that you will want the Swiss National Park close to Zernez. It is the country’s national park and will show you how the Alps used to be before tourism. This area is filled with stunning meadows and snow-crusted ice glaciers. You have a variety of trails to choose from, all leading you past incredible sights. If you’re lucky, you might see the park’s resident red squirrels or ibexes.

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva, extending from Geneva in the West to Lausanne East, is one of Switzerland’s most stunning places. From Geneva’s bustle to the picturesque vineyards that cling to the hillsides, there is plenty to do in this area. The lake itself is full of activities. More active visitors can try windsurfing or water skiing. Kayaking is also possible. If you want to be lazy and just take in the scenery from the decks on a paddle steamer that crosses the water, it is also possible to simply enjoy the views from your chair.

What are the guidelines for returning from Switzerland?

Double-jabbed travellers do not need any tests to return to the UK. They only have to fill out a passenger location form.

Individuals arriving from Denmark or other non-red listed countries without being fully vaccinated will be required to pay for a two-day PCR test as well as fill out a passenger identification form. If the test returns positive, they do not need to self isolate.

On Thursday, 24 February, both vaccinated and unvaccinated will no longer be required to quarantine in England. Chris Whitty from England is advising people to self-isolate if they become infected with coronavirus within the country. If a person tests positive for COVID-19, they will continue being asked to self-isolate. This is to help reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others. Wales and Northern Ireland have not updated their advice.

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