COVID-19 – FAQ

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for the Switzerland due to COVID-19.

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

 


Travel to the United States - All Travelers

 

YES. CDC requires all air passengers age 2 and older traveling to the United States to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result to the airline before boarding the flight. Air passengers who have had a positive viral test for COVID-19 in the past 3 months, and have met the criteria to end isolation, may travel instead with documentation of their positive viral test results and a letter from their healthcare provider or a public health official that states they have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.” For more information on this testing requirement, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions.

For more information see CDC’s Testing and International Air Travel page. Always follow state and local recommendations or requirements related to travel.

  • For additional information visit the CDC Website
  • For information on getting a COVID test, please follow the information provided here.

You will need a viral test (NAAT/PCR or antigen test) and receive a negative result to travel to the United States.

Click here for more information from the CDC.

Testing locations vary by canton.  Find your canton and testing locations here.

YES. Any passenger two years of age and older on a flight traveling to the United States, even for a connection, will require a negative test prior to boarding the flight.

Click here for more information from the CDC.

YES. All passengers age 2 and older traveling to the United States have to get tested, regardless of vaccination status.

Click here for more information from the CDC.

You must provide proof that you had a positive viral test within the past 90 days, have no symptoms, and have a letter from your doctor or health department that states you have been cleared for travel.

Click here for more information from the CDC.

YES. All air passengers age 2 and older must provide negative test results prior to boarding.

Click here for more information from the CDC.

Waivers to the testing requirement may be granted by the CDC on an extremely limited basis when extraordinary emergency travel (like an emergency medical evacuation) must occur to preserve someone’s health and safety, and testing cannot be completed before travel. There are no waivers available for individuals who test positive for COVID-19. Individuals – or air carriers seeking to allow boarding by potentially qualifying individuals – who believe they meet the criteria for a waiver should contact the U.S. Embassy Bern and provide the information below. The U.S. Embassy will then submit the request to the CDC for consideration.

The following information must be provided by email for each passenger:

  1. Name (family name/surname, given name), passport number and country
  2. Cell phone number including country code of passenger or head of household if family unit
  3. Email address of passenger or head of household if family unit
  4. U.S. destination address
  5. Is U.S. destination home address?
  6. Departure date
  7. Flight itinerary
  8. Name of submitting entity if different from passenger
  9. Name of company submitting on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
  10. Name of point of contact submitting on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
  11. Phone and email address for POC submitting waiver request on behalf of passenger(s) (if applicable)
  12. Purpose of travel to the U.S. (provide brief explanation of why urgent travel is needed and how travel will contribute to health and safety of passengers(s))
  13. Justification for testing waiver (e.g. no testing available, impact on health and safety)
  14. Documentation to support justification for test waiver, if available (e.g. medical records or orders for medical evacuation)

CDC does not require that international travelers undergo mandatory federal quarantine, but does recommend travelers get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home or otherwise self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. For more about CDC’s after travel recommendations for preventing COVID-19 see After you Travel Internationally.

CDC has also provided strong guidance to state and local public health officials to use their authorities to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons within their jurisdictions. CDC will continue to work closely with state/local public health officials to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and encourage them to use their own authorities to enforce the use of isolation and quarantine when necessary. Always follow state, territorial, and local recommendations or requirements related to travel.


FAQ's for U.S. Citizens
  1. Is it possible to transit Switzerland from the United States or a third country considered by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) to be high-risk to a Schengen country?
  • NO, it is not possible to transit Switzerland from a high-risk country like the United States in order to travel on to another Schengen country.  There maybe some exceptions.  Third-country citizens holding a residence document for their destination country in the Schengen area are permitted to travel through Switzerland to that country.  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 information and details on exceptions, please visit the SEM Website.
  1. Is it possible to transit Switzerland from the United States or a third country considered by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) to be high-risk to a non-Schengen country?
  • YES, but only via Zurich or Geneva airports.   Travelers should check whether they require a transit visa. In such cases, travelers do not actually enter Switzerland but remain in the international transit area of the airport.
  • Transit visa requirements: Passport and visa requirements not depending on citizenship(PDF, 374 kB, 03.04.2020)
  1. Is it possible to transit Switzerland from one Schengen country to another Schengen country?
  • YES, individuals who are already lawfully present in the Schengen zone can transit Switzerland from one Schengen country to another Schengen country.
  1. Is it possible to transit Switzerland from a Schengen country to a third non-Schengen country?
  • YES, individuals who are already lawfully present in the Schengen zone can transit Switzerland from one Schengen country to a third non-Schengen country.
  1. Is it possible to transit from a third country not considered by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)to be high-risk to a Schengen state?
  1. Is it possible to transit from a third country not considered by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)to be high-risk to another third country?
  • YES, as long as all normal entry and transit requirements have been met such as a transit visa.

As of December 14, 2020, individuals traveling from the United States are subject to the mandatory quarantine.

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.
In order to obtain an entry permit, you would need to contact the Swiss Representation abroad.

 

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 

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 are required to go into a MANDATORY 10-day quarantine. This list of countries will be updated continuously.

As of December 14, 2020, individuals traveling from the United States are subject to the mandatory quarantine.

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.

NO.

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 4 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.

 

The United States Government does not plan to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to private U.S. citizens overseas.  Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.

  • You can find the most up-to-date information on COVID testing in Switzerland and Liechtenstein through the Swiss Office of Public Health.
  • You can register with your cantonal authority for vaccination through this site.
  • National COVID-19 vaccination info-line (every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.): +41 58 377 88 92

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 9993

By U.S. law, U.S. citizens are required to ENTER and EXIT the United States on a valid U.S. Passport.
A child born abroad to a U.S. citizen parent might acquire U.S. citizenship at birth if the U.S. citizen parent met the transmitting requirements.

If a person is a U.S. citizen, he or she is not eligible for a visa. Any prospective applicant believing he or she may have a claim to U.S. citizenship should have his or her citizenship claim adjudicated (officially determined) by a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before applying for a U.S. visa.

For a formal determination of acquisition of U.S. citizenship, Form DS-2029 needs to be submitted to our office.
Step-by-step instructions are available on our website at: https://ch.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/citizenship-services/birth/

Presidential Proclamation 9993 restricts travel from the Schengen Zone to the United States.  Travel on ESTA is not permitted unless there is a documented exemption from the travel restrictions or a national interest exception(NIE) has been recently designated.  For additional information click here.


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.