COVID-19 – FAQ

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

For all Alerts and Messages from the U.S. Embassy Bern, please click here

 


Notice of Arrival and Quarantine Requirements for the United States

Yes, Americans returning from the affected countries be required to travel through 13 airports:

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia

Upon arrival, travelers will proceed to standard customs processing. They will then continue to an enhanced entry screening where the passenger will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities.  Additionally, some passengers will have their temperature taken.

After the enhanced entry screening is complete, passengers will be given written guidance about COVID-19 and be allowed to proceed to their final destination.

Once home, individuals must immediately self-quarantine in their home and monitor their health in accordance with CDC best practices.

In order to ensure compliance, local and State public health officials will contact individuals in the days and weeks following their arrival.


FAQ's for U.S. Citizens
If travel restrictions prevent you from departing the Schengen area before the expiration of your visa, you MUST contact the immigration authorities in your canton of residence:
Contact the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration Helpline if you have any concerns or questions in regards to your Swiss Visa: https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/ueberuns/kontakt.html 

The European Commission launched a website along with an app on Monday to help tourists as borders reopen across the territory.
The App contains only EU member states.
Website: https://reopen.europa.eu/en

There is the possibility to enter Switzerland for important business appointments which cannot be postponed and have to be in person. At the moment a special entry permit is needed to enter Switzerland for business travel. 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, reason for the need to be present personally, and alike.

 

YES there is a mandatory quarantine for persons arriving in Switzerland from high-risk countries.
As of July 6, people arriving in Switzerland from certain countries (including the USA) are required to go into a MANDATORY 10-day quarantine. This 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.

There is currently no date as of when US citizens can enter Switzerland again. The Swiss Migration Office states in a press release on May 27 that Swiss authorities “will decide on lifting entry restrictions for third countries [including the USA] at a later date and in consultation with the Schengen member states.”

 Please also note that the Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/travel-advisory-alert-global-level-4-health-advisory-issue.html

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

Consequently, we strongly advise against making any travel arrangements until the entry restrictions have been lifted and that you follow the Department’s travel advisory to avoid international travel.

 

You will find this information on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Website at:
https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus-tax-relief-and-economic-impact-payments

Should you have specific questions in this regard, please contact the IRS directly.

The U.S. Embassy does not cash checks. You would need to work with the local banks.
Banking resources are available on our website at: https://ch.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/local-resources-of-u-s-citizens/living-in-ch/banking-resources/

Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] requirements for importing human remains depend upon if the body has been embalmed, cremated, or if the person died from a quarantinable communicable disease.

At this time, COVID-19 is a quarantinable communicable disease in the United States and the remains must meet the standards for importation found in 42 Code of Federal Regulations Part 71.55 and may be cleared, released, and authorized for entry into the United States only under the following conditions:

  • The remains are cremated; OR
  • The remains are properly embalmed and placed in a hermetically sealed casket; OR
  • The remains are accompanied by a permit issued by the CDC Director. The CDC permit (if applicable) must accompany the human remains at all times during shipment.
    • Permits for the importation of the remains of a person known or suspected to have died from a quarantinable communicable disease may be obtained through the CDC Division of Global Migration and Quarantine by calling the CDC Emergency Operations Center at 770-488-7100 or emailing dgmqpolicyoffice@cdc.gov.

Please see CDC’s guidance for additional information.

For more information regarding Consular Reports of Death Abroad visit our Website: Death of a U.S. Citizen


FAQ's for Non-U.S. Citizens (Visa)

Presidential Proclamation 9984 restricts and suspends the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area (which includes Switzerland and Lichtenstein) during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.

This proclamation does not apply to:

  • U.S. citizens
  • Lawful permanent residents (LPR) of the United States
  • Children of a U.S. citizen or LPR
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens and LPRs
  • Parents or legal guardians of unmarried U.S. citizen or LPR children under 21 years of age
  • Foreign government officials and their immediate family members on official travel
  • For additional exemptions please refer to Presidential Proclamation 9984

NO, you cannot travel using the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) at this time. Individuals who meet one of the categorial exemptions under the Presidential Proclamation 9984 (i.e. spouse of U.S. citizen/LPR, parent of U.S. citizen/LPR child, etc.) need to apply for a B1/B2 visa in order to document that they meet the exemption.

The European Commission launched a website along with an app on Monday to help tourists as borders reopen across the territory.
The App contains only EU member states.
Website: https://reopen.europa.eu/en


Local Resources

In Switzerland, call +41 58 463 00 00, 24/7
Please note: This Infoline does not provide medical advice. Due to the high volume of calls you may experience delays in getting through.

In Liechtenstein, call +423 236 76 82

You have symptoms and you are unsure what action to take? Answer all the questions here to the best of your knowledge.
At the end of the check, you will receive recommendations on what to do.

Find your nearest specialist or general practitioner quickly and free of charge: doctorfmh.ch is the official, comprehensive list of doctors in Switzerland. With more than 30,000 entries, it is updated daily.

The cantonal authorities are responsible for many matters/tasks relating to the coronavirus outbreak. Links to cantonal websites can be found at ch.ch, where you will find information on the new coronavirus along with relevant contact details.

We also recommend you consult the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for specific information about the disease, as well as another symptom-checker.

Federal Office of Public Health and ch.ch provide information about the mandatory insurance requirement, benefits and tariffs, and give a health insurance oversight.

For information about health insurance in Liechtenstein, click here

Your wellbeing is more than physical. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues may arise as the confinement period continues. These U.S.- and Swiss-based resources may be of help:

  • Police, dial 117 (same in Liechtenstein)
  • Fire service, dial 118 (same in Liechtenstein)
  • Ambulance, dial 144 (same in Liechtenstein)
  • European Emergency Number, dial 112 (same in Liechtenstein) 

Self-quarantine and social distancing help reduce the spread of COVID-19, but for many dealing with domestic violence, staying home may put people at risk. External factors such as financial strain and stress compound the issue, and when the community is encouraged to remain in their homes, an abuser may take advantage of an already harmful situation. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, call 117 in an emergency and visit Victim Support Switzerland

Travelers and residents are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc.