Information about COVID-19 and Travel to the United States

Last Updated: 07-Dec-2021

Effective December 6, all air passengers, regardless of vaccination or citizenship status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before travel to the United States. Nonimmigrant, non-U.S. citizen air travelers will still be required to be fully vaccinated and to provide proof of their vaccination status.

If recently recovered from COVID-19, individuals may instead travel with documentation of recovery from COVID-19 (i.e., a positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country, and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating the individual is cleared to travel).

Effective November 8, all travelers to the United States must show proof of vaccination status.

There are different requirements for different categories of travelers (U.S. Citizens, LPRs, NIV/ESTA travelers) so please read the following information carefully.

All non-U.S.-citizen, nonimmigrant (not a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, lawful permanent resident, or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa) airline passengers traveling to the United States, must demonstrate proof of vaccination as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Order prior to boarding a U.S. bound aircraft. More details regarding what constitutes full vaccination are available on this page of the CDC website. Please note that a person who has recovered from COVID-19 and only received one shot is not considered fully vaccinated per the CDC’s requirements to enter the United States.

Passengers will need to show their vaccination status, and airlines will need to:

  • Match the name and date of birth to confirm the passenger is the same person reflected on the proof of vaccination.
  • Determine that the record was issued by an official source (e.g., public health agency, government agency) in the country where the vaccine was given.
  • Review the essential information for determining if the passenger meets CDC’s definition for fully vaccinated such as vaccine product, number of vaccine doses received, date(s) of administration, site (e.g., vaccination clinic, healthcare facility) of vaccination.

Airlines must deny boarding to passengers who do not meet these requirements or those who test positive for COVID-19.

For additional information or if you have specific questions, please contact your airline and visit the CDC’s website.

The U.S. Embassy will not provide responses regarding specific vaccine and testing requirements. All questions should be directed to the Centers for Disease Control or the airline.

Testing Locations in Switzerland and Liechtenstein

Switzerland and Liechtenstein have many COVID-19 testing locations. Find your canton and testing locations here: https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/testen.html#197439718.

Testing is also available at the Zurich Airport: https://www.flughafen-zuerich.ch/en/passengers/news/corona/general-information

Testing is also available at the Geneva Airport. https://www.gva.ch/en/Site/Passagers/Shopping/Services/Voyages/Centre-test-COVID-19-aeroport

Effective November 8, all U.S. citizens will be required to show a pre-departure negative test.

At this time there are no exceptions for spouses or parents of U.S. citizens to the travel requirements.  Each individual must qualify on their own merits per their travel category.  Non-U.S. citizens should be fully vaccinated to travel to the United States.

See above for testing locations in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.



Effective November 8, all LPRs will be required to show a pre-departure negative test.

See above for testing locations in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.



Effective November 8, 2021, all NIV and ESTA travelers to the United States will be required – with only limited exceptions – to be fully vaccinated and tested prior to boarding an airplane to fly to the United States. For more information, please visit: Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Vaccinations and Testing for International Travel (state.gov). Please note that a person who has recovered from COVID-19 and only received one shot is not considered fully vaccinated per the CDC’s requirements to enter the United States. The CDC has stated that only in exceptionally rare and significant humanitarian or emergency situations will the vaccination requirement be waived. Please note that the CDC will review all vaccination waiver requests.  As a result, long delays are to be expected. If you feel your situation warrants a vaccine waiver, please send an e-mail to bernniv@state.gov. Due to the lengthy processing time, no follow-up e-mails will be read or answered.

At this time there are no exceptions for spouses or parents of U.S. citizens to the travel requirements.  Each individual must qualify on their own merits per their travel category.  Non-U.S. citizens should be fully vaccinated to travel to the United States.

Previously issued National Interest Exceptions or Exemption travel letters are no longer valid and do not exempt travelers from testing or vaccine requirements.

See above for testing locations in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Visa Application Process

U.S. Embassy Bern is scheduling very limited visa appointments only. We are prioritizing services for those who are citizens and residents of Switzerland and Liechtenstein. If you do not live in Switzerland or Liechtenstein or hold a border crossing card (G) permit and you have an urgent need for a visa appointment, you must request an expedited appointment with a U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you reside.

Travelers who cannot obtain ESTA must apply for their visas through www.ustraveldocs.com. Applicants who have had their visa appointment cancelled but need to urgently travel may qualify for an expedited visa appointment. Information on requesting an expedited visa appointment is found here: https://ustraveldocs.com/ch/ch-niv-expeditedappointment.asp. If your ESTA has previously been refused, please mention this in your expedited appointment request. We also advise you to mention if you hold a Swiss or Liechtenstein residency permit or border crossing card.

Pending Visa Application (221g)

Applicants who have previously had their visa applications put on hold due to the travel restrictions can now send us their passport and all necessary supporting documents to the address below to continue processing of their visas.

U.S. Embassy Bern

Visa Section/ 221g

PO Box

3001 Bern

Due to high demand, please expect longer wait times to receive the visa. If you have a pending visa application, you are required to finalize the visa case at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate where you began the process. Having a pending visa case (221g) will lead to an ESTA denial. If you have not received a response with 14 days of sending your documents, please emails us at bernniv@state.gov.

Difficulties Entering the United States

Admission to the United States remains subject to a determination by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at ports of entry. If travelers are stuck at the airport, please contact the airport’s CBP liaison directly: https://www.cbp.gov/contact.