COVID-19: What you need to know about entering Switzerland

Melanie Imper Senior Associate Treuhand/Corporate Support Services Switzerland, PwC Switzerland 10 Feb 2021

On 27 January 2021, the Federal Council adjusted the «Ordinance on measures to combat the coronavirus in International Passenger Transport (COVID-19)». On the one hand, the ordinance increasingly requires negative tests upon entry into the country, and on the other hand the quarantine rules have been updated. Under certain circumstances, a person may come out of quarantine early. The ordinance enters into force on 8 February 2021.

The ordinance has been updated due to the fact that some asymptomatic people are not aware they are infected with the virus and do not know they are contagious. So, all people who enter Switzerland by air or from a state or area with an increased risk of infection must present a negative PCR test.

As before, states and areas where the number of new infections over the last 14 days is more than 60 per 100’000 people higher than in Switzerland are considered as states/areas with an increased risk of infection. If it is impossible to calculate this figure, it depends on whether there are indications of an increased risk of transmission. One such indication is infected people entering Switzerland from certain states or areas within the last four weeks. The Federal Council has now added the criterion of COVID-19 mutations. States or areas with a mutation that is proven to be more contagious or cause a more severe course of the disease can also be added to the risk list.

People wanting to enter Switzerland

With the exception of people living in border areas that have close economic, social and cultural ties with Switzerland, it is essential for people entering Switzerland to provide their contact details either electronically or on paper. The international passenger transport organisations are responsible for recording these details. They must make these contact details available to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) upon request, store them for 14 days and then destroy them.

Anyone wanting to enter the country from a state or area with an increased risk of infection must prove that they have tested negative in a PCR test within the last 72 hours. The same applies to people travelling by air, regardless of where the person is travelling from. Every air passenger must provide a negative test result; otherwise, their entry may be refused.

The list of states/areas which currently have an increased risk of infection can be found on the FOPH website.

Quarantine after entry

People who have stayed in a state or area with an increased risk of infection during the ten days prior to their entry into Switzerland must, in addition to presenting a negative test, spend ten days in quarantine. If they present a second negative test, they can leave quarantine three days early. They must also report their entry into the country to the authorities within two days.

This does not apply to people

  • whose work in Switzerland contributes towards maintaining certain services
  • who transport people or goods over the border
  • who enter the country for professional or medical reasons, or were in a state/area with an increased risk of infection for that reason
  • who spent less than 24 hours in a state or area with an increased risk of infection
  • who are transit passengers
  • who have taken part in a professional event (professional sport competition, cultural event or specialist conference) in a state or area with an increased risk of infection and have complied with the protection measures
  • who have been infected within the last three months and are considered to be cured.

Employers must assess whether their employees’ work in Switzerland is considered essential and provide certification.

Contact us

Melanie Imper

Melanie Imper

Senior Associate Treuhand/Corporate Support Services Switzerland, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 28 32