COVID-19 – FAQ for U.S. Citizens

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

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

 


Travel to the United States

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

If you are overseas and your passport expired on or after January 1, 2020, you may be able to use your expired passport to return directly to the United States until December 31, 2021

You qualify for this exception if all the following are true:

  • You are a U.S. citizen.
  • You are currently abroad seeking direct return to the United States.
  • You are flying directly to the United States, a United States territory, or have only short-term transit (“connecting flights”) through a foreign country on your direct return to the United States or to a United States Territory.
  • Your expired passport was originally valid for 10 years.  Or, if you were 15 years of age or younger when the passport was issued, your expired passport was valid for 5 years.
  • Your expired passport is undamaged.
  • Your expired passport is unaltered.
  • Your expired passport is in your possession.

You do not qualify for this exception if:

  • You wish to depart from the United States to an international destination.
  • You are currently abroad seeking to travel to a foreign country for any length of stay longer than an airport connection en route to the United States or to a United States territory.
  • Your expired passport was limited in validity.
  • Your expired passport is a special issuance passport (such as a diplomatic, official, service, or no-fee regular passport).
  • Your expired passport is damaged.
  • Your expired passport is altered.
  • Your expired passport is not in your possession.

Please be advised that currentlyroutine passport processing in the United States can take 10-12 weeks.  If you need a passport in less than 10-12 weeks due to international travel plans, you can pay an additional $60 fee to expedite your passport, which will shorten the processing time to 4-6 weeks.

If your U.S. passport expired on or before December 31, 2019, please see our website for information on how to renew your passport before traveling: https://ch.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/passports/ 

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.

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/


More FAQ's

Visit the following link from the Swiss Government for information regarding transit through Switzerland:
https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/sem/aktuell/faq-einreiseverweigerung.html#1668147653

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic there are special rules for people entering Switzerland. Depending on the type of travel, you might have to fill out an entry form, show proof of a negative test and/or go into quarantine.

The electronic entry form for incoming travelers is available at swissplf.admin.ch. Important: Fill out the form before your entry to Switzerland.

Visit the FOPH Website for additional information regarding the entry form, testing and quarantine.

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 

No, as of April 5, 2021, the United States are no longer considered a country of high risk infection by the FOPH.

YES

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.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for 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

Veterans registered under the Foreign Medical Program are authorized to receive a COVID vaccine (even non-FDA approved versions) and be reimbursed. This would require they sign-up/receive a vaccine through Swiss authorities https://foph-coronavirus.ch/vaccination/when-can-i-be-vaccinated/#cantons). They should call the toll-free VA contact number (+1 877-345-8179) for more information/to confirm this individually. (source: https://www.va.gov/communitycare/programs/veterans/fmp/index.asp)

Veterans eligible to receive care from military facilities (retirees and medical retirees, for example) can contact Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to see if they are currently eligible for a vaccine (it is likely that they will have to wait until after higher tier groups become vaccinated) https://landstuhl.tricare.mil/

Yes, you can get a COVID certificate. The vaccination you have had abroad must meet the following requirements:

  1. The vaccine must be authorised in Switzerland.
  2. The vaccination must be complete; in other words, it must include the number of doses specified in the FOPH recommendations.

You must also be able to provide sufficient proof of the vaccination administered abroad. To obtain a COVID certificate, contact your canton of residence. You’ll find information on this on the canton’s website.

Source:https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/haeufig-gestellte-fragen.html?faq-url=/en/covid-certificate-vaccination-cross-border-commuters-and-international/if-i-am-vaccinated-abroad 

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.
Economic Impact Payment Hotline: +1 800 919 9835

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


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.

  • 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.