COVID-19 Information for Switzerland and Liechtenstein

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COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR SWITZERLAND AND LIECHTENSTEIN

Last updated: 01/13/2021


Country-Specific Information:

 

The measures put in place to address the spread of the coronavirus are subject to change, and we recommend confirming directly with Swiss authorities for the most current information. For more details please visit the website of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.

 

 

Keep your distance

 

 

Wash your hands regularly

 

 

Reduce contact with other people

 

 

Work from home if possible

Federal Measures:

 

The existing measures are now limited until February 28, 2021.

In addition, the Swiss Federal Council resolved further measures. The table below shows what nationwide rules apply from January 18, 2021 until February 28, 2021.

Please note that the cantons may have stricter rules.

    • Cantonal measures
      Cantons may have additional cantonal specific measures. You will find a collection of links to cantonal information sites at www.ch.ch

 

  • A Note on Border Openings and International Travel:
    • Transiting Switzerland from the United States to another country may not be possible depending on the final destination.  Currently the Swiss Immigration Office does not allow individuals traveling from the United States or other high risk countries to transit Switzerland to another Schengen country, unless all entry requirements for Switzerland have been met.  It may be possible to transit Switzerland from the United States or other high risk country to a non-Schengen country.  Passengers transiting Switzerland from a high risk country, like the United States, to a Schengen country have been denied onward travel and returned to their country of origin. Travelers from high risk countries like the United States are encouraged to travel directly to their final Schengen destination without transiting Switzerland.
    • Following the discovery of a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus in the UK and South Africa, the Federal Council today decided to take steps to prevent the further spread of this new virus strain. All persons who have entered Switzerland from these two countries since December 14 must go into quarantine for 10 days. The Federal Council has also introduced a general entry ban from today for all foreign nationals seeking to enter Switzerland from the UK and South Africa.

 

    • As of, June 15, Switzerland has lifted all COVID-19 related entry restrictions for travelers from other Schengen countries. The Swiss government has not announced a date when Switzerland will lift the current entry restrictions for U.S. citizens.

 

  • Pregnant women among the people of high risk:
    • On the basis of the evidence currently available, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has come to the conclusion together with the Swiss Association for Gynecology and Obstetrics (SGGG) that pregnant women are among the people at especially high risk.
    • The document entitled ‘Categories of persons at high risk’ (PDF, 139 kB, 24.06.2020) contains a continually updated list of who is considered to be at especially high risk based on the latest scientific findings.
    • If you are unsure whether you are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill, please contact your doctor.

Entry and Exit Requirements:

 

  • Are U.S. citizens permitted to enter? YES, but not for tourism. 
    • Transiting Switzerland from the United States to another country may not be possible depending on the final destination.  Currently the Swiss Immigration Office does not allow individuals traveling from the United States or other high risk countries to transit Switzerland to another Schengen country, unless all entry requirements for Switzerland have been met.  It may be possible to transit Switzerland from the United States or other high risk country to a non-Schengen country.  Passengers transiting Switzerland from a high risk country, like the United States, to a Schengen country have been denied onward travel and returned to their country of origin. Travelers from high risk countries like the United States are encouraged to travel directly to their final Schengen destination without transiting Switzerland.  For the most current restrictions and travel requirements, please see the FAQ page and the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration Office information page.

 

    • There is the possibility to enter Switzerland for important business meetings which cannot be postponed and must be in person. At this time, a special entry permit is needed to enter Switzerland for business travel from non-Schengen countries. This application can be sent directly to corona@sem.admin.ch, including for example the following documents: appointment confirmation, copy of passport, travel itinerary, reason for urgency of appointment/visit, and the reason for the need to be present personally.

 

  • Is a negative COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) required for entry? NO

 

  • Are health screening procedures in place at airports and other ports of entry? YES

Please also note that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for the Switzerland due to COVID-19.


Movement Restrictions:

 

  • Is a curfew in place? NO
  • Are there restrictions on intercity or interstate travel? NO

Quarantine Information:

 

  • Are U.S. citizens required to quarantine? YES (as of December 14, 2020 if arriving from the United States) 
    • Mandatory 10 day quarantine for persons arriving in Switzerland from certain countries
    • All persons who have entered Switzerland from the UK and South Africa countries since December 14 must go into quarantine for 10 days.
      The list of countries will be updated continuously.  If you are arriving in Switzerland from one of the countries with a high risk of infection you will be required to:

      • Go immediately on arrival to your home or to other suitable accommodation.
      • Stay there for 10 days from the day of your arrival without going out. Follow the instructions on quarantine(PDF, 142 kB, 06.07.2020).
      • Report your arrival within two days to the responsible cantonal authority.
      • Follow the instructions from the authorities.
      • A negative test result does not shorten the quarantine period.

COVID-19 Testing:

  • Identifying infection early on: if you feel ill, or are experiencing particular symptoms, stay at home, take the coronavirus check, or call your doctor. Answer all the questions in the online check or on the phone as well as you can. At the end you’ll receive a recommendation as to what to do next  and be instructed to get tested if necessary. Stay at home until the results of the test are available. These recommendations also apply if you have only mild symptoms. This is because infected people are contagious even if they feel well.
  • You can find information on how best to proceed in the event of a positive or negative test result on the page What to do in the event of symptoms and possible infection.
  • You’ll find details of the typical symptoms on the page Disease, symptoms, treatment.
  • Federal government assumes test costs: In order to rapidly break chains of infection it is important that as many people as possible infected with the virus are identified and tested. As of 25 June 2020, the federal government is therefore assuming test costs where the FOPH’s criteria are met. This is the case, for example, if you experience symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and your doctor advises that you get tested for the coronavirus. A notification via the SwissCovid App of a contact with an infected person is also a criterion for cost coverage. If the FOPH’s test criteria are not met, the federal government will not pay the test costs. This can be the case if you require a test result in order to be able to travel, or if the test is carried out at the request of your employer.

Transportation Options:

 

  • Are commercial flights operating? YES
    • International commercial flight options currently exist in Switzerland.  

      Transit flights: Many countries have closed their national borders. Travelers flying to the U.S. by transiting through a third country should work directly with the airline to confirm that they are allowed to transit.

      The Department of State does not endorse any private company and assumes no responsibility or liability for services provided by private companies.
      Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website, the CDC Website, as well as the CDC Travel Planner regarding the latest travel restrictions affecting travel to the United States.

      For more information visit Embassy Bern’s COVID19 Information Page FAQs.

  • Is public transportation operating? YES
    • Persons over the age of 12 are required to wear a mask in trains, trams, and buses, as well as on mountain rail and cableways and on lake and river boats.

Fines for Non-Compliance:

 

  • For non-compliance with host country rules, heavy fines or arrest may apply.


Consular Operations:

 

  • American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit
    Although services for U.S. citizens are still limited, passport production has resumed.  Visit our website to apply for a U.S. passport or U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad as well as Notarial Services.  Appointments are available at the U.S. Embassy in Bern and the consular agencies in Geneva and Zurich. 
  • Visa Unit
    Limited services.  The travel restrictions from Schengen countries to the United States under Presidential Proclamation 9984 still apply.  U.S. Embassy Bern recommends that individuals who meet one of the categorial exemptions under the PP 9984 (i.e. spouse of U.S. citizen/LPR, parent of U.S. citizen/LPR child, etc.) apply for a B1/B2 visa in order to document that they meet the exemption. If you are planning to travel to the U.S., please visit the CDC’s Website for Travelers.

Any person entering the consular section will be required to wear a face covering; children under six years old and those unable to wear a covering are exempt from this requirement.


Local Resources:

 


Assistance:

U.S. Embassy Bern, Switzerland
031 357 70 11 (dialing within Switzerland)
+41 31 357 70 11 (dialing from overseas)
BernACS@state.gov

State Department
Bureau of Consular Affairs
+1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada)
+1-202-501-4444 (from other countries)·

Swiss Federal Office of Public Health Hotline
+41 58 463 00 00 (staffed 24 hours in German, French, Italian and English)