The Federal Council has decided that, from Monday, 20 September 2021, persons who have not been vaccinated against Covid or have not recovered from Covid must present a negative test upon entry. They also have to be tested again after 4 to 7 days.
Here are answers to the most important questions about the decision of the Federal Council.
1. To what extent does this new regulation affect vaccinated persons?
Persons who are vaccinated with a vaccine approved in Switzerland or by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), or with a vaccine on the WHO list, may enter Switzerland. All you have to do is fill out the "Passenger Locator Form" (PLF) entry form.
2. Who is affected by this: only tourists, or also Swiss people returning to the country?
All non-vaccinated and non-recovered persons must provide a valid test certificate in addition to the completed entry form when crossing the border into Switzerland. Both rapid antigen tests and PCR tests are accepted. If the required test evidence cannot be provided, the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) imposes administrative fines of CHF 200.
3. Are cross-border workers subject to this new regulation?
Cross-border commuters are exempt from the obligation to complete the entry form or take a test.
4. Can residents of the border area continue to enter the country without a test in the future, e.g., for shopping or visiting relatives/friends?
Persons living in border areas are exempted from the collection of contact data, as well as from the test obligation when crossing the border. In doing so, the Federal Council is taking into account the fact that close economic, social and cultural exchange takes place in these areas. Persons living in border areas who are vaccinated or recovered are allowed to enter the country without further requirements.
5. Are children affected and, if so, from what age?
The test obligation applies from the age of 16 years. Children under the age of 16 are exempt from the test requirement.
6. What kind of test should I take?
Both rapid antigen tests carried out by trained persons as well as PCR individual or pool tests are accepted for the proof of a negative test upon entry into Switzerland. In principle, the tests before entry must be paid for by yourself. For the second test, proof of a test certificate is required for at least one of the days 4-7 after entry. This second test is to be paid for by yourself. The test result must be communicated to the responsible canton. Self-tests are not permitted as proof.
7. Why is a second test required on days 4–7, and who bears the cost?
As people entering the country could also become infected shortly before entry and can still be tested negative at this time during the incubation period, a second test is required on days 4-7. Tests leading to test certificates are to be paid for by persons aged 16 and over from 1 October. Exceptions apply to participants in repetitive tests, insofar as test certificates are issued, as well as to persons who can prove with a medical certificate that they cannot be fully vaccinated.
8. What happens to an unvaccinated and non-recovered person who comes to the border without a negative test?
In this case, a fine will be imposed. The amount of the fines is CHF 200. Although entry will not be refused, the person concerned will have to be tested in the immediate future. Fines are also imposed if the non-recovered or unvaccinated person does not report the test result to the canton 4 to 7 days after entering Switzerland.
Two tests are now prescribed when returning from vacation. Tele M
9. Who needs to check whether a test has been carried out?
The border control authorities (Federal Customs Administration, locally responsible cantonal police) are responsible for random checks on entry into Switzerland. The controls are not carried out systematically, but are risk-based. They will be increased according to the situation and the risk. In addition, the cantons are required to carry out random checks. Persons who have entered the country must indicate their second test result on a website of the corresponding cantonal medical services together with the confirmation of the PLF. As a result, the cantons receive all completed PLFs, as well as the test results.
10. What happens if a person wants to enter Switzerland without a completed PLF?
In this case, the FCA or the locally responsible cantonal police are entitled under the ordinance to impose a fine of CHF 100. In the event that non-truthful information is provided in the form, criminal proceedings may follow.
11. What happens if a person who tests positive turns up at the border?
A person who is entitled to live in Switzerland cannot, of course, be refused entry. In this case, however, he/she will be instructed to go into direct isolation and to report to the cantonal medical service within two days. It would not be reasonable to fine such a person if he/she can show a test result.
12. Which vaccines entitle you to a Covid certificate?
As in neighbouring countries, access to the Covid certificate will not be extended to all WHO vaccines. Only in exceptional cases can a person obtain a Covid certificate if they are vaccinated with a vaccine only on the WHO list. This applies, for example, to returning Swiss people who live abroad, EU third-country nationals working in Switzerland, employees of international organisations and accredited diplomatic staff, students and professionals.
13. What rules only apply for entry into Switzerland?
Persons who are vaccinated with a vaccine approved in Switzerland or by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or with a vaccine on the WHO list do not have to provide a test result upon entry. Anyone who is vaccinated with other vaccines must have a test carried out in order to enter Switzerland.
14. Are there countries from which quarantine becomes mandatory even with a test?
No countries are currently listed in the FOPH's list of risk countries. There is thereby currently no obligation to quarantine after entering Switzerland. The list of risk countries as such can still continue to be updated. As soon as any worrying variants reappear, states may be added to the list again. Quarantine may then become mandatory again after entry from these countries.
15. Will the risk list of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) remain in place? What does this mean for me?
The SEM's risk list regulates who is allowed to enter Switzerland and under what circumstances. More detailed information can be found on the SEM website.
16. If they have been vaccinated with a vaccine approved by the EMA or WHO, similar to persons from the EU/EFTA area, how can vaccinated persons from third countries (outside the EU/EFTA area) enter areas that are subject to certification?
If travellers from third countries are vaccinated with a vaccine that is approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or listed on the WHO, they can have a Covid certificate issued in Switzerland. To obtain this, these persons can contact the appropriate office of the canton of entry.
17. What is required from tourists from a third country who have been vaccinated with a vaccine that is not approved by the EMA?
These persons must be tested in order to obtain access to areas subject to certification.