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UPDATE: Switzerland confirms vaccinated Americans and Brits can enter from June 26th

Fully vaccinated travellers from third countries — including from the United States and the United Kingdom — have been allowed to enter Switzerland since June 26th. Here's what you need to know.

UPDATE: Switzerland confirms vaccinated Americans and Brits can enter from June 26th
US tourists will be able to come to Switzerland soon. Photo by Zurich Airport

The Swiss government has confirmed that people from outside the Schengen zone, including Americans and Brits, will be allowed to enter Switzerland from June 26th if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

The government had previously announced the change would take place on June 28th, but had put it out for consultation with the cantons. 

A spokesperson from the Federal Office of Public Health confirmed to The Local that the decision was made to bring the date forward to midnight on Friday, meaning that the new rules will be in effect on the 26th of June. 

EXPLAINED: Switzerland to wind back coronavirus restrictions

“In view of the positive developments in the epidemiological situation and the progress made in the field of vaccination, the Federal Council is proposing to greatly relax the prescriptions and health measures at the border for people entering Switzerland”, authorities said.

This means not only that there would no longer be any testing or quarantine requirements for vaccinated arrivals for citizens of Schengen area states, but also for those coming from third nations, that is, countries outside the EU / EFLA.

From June 26th border health control will focus on arrivals from countries with a worrying variant of the virus (VOC): currently, these areas include Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa, Nepal, and the UK.

However, even arrivals from VOC countries who have been vaccinated within the past 12 months or recovered from Covid within the past six months — and can prove it — can enter Switzerland without any obligation to test or quarantine.

All others should show a negative PCR or rapid antigen test result and then go into quarantine. The Federal Council said.

There are, however, some exemptions from these requirements for people from variant countries. You can read about them here.

READ MORE: What exceptions allow unfettered travel from ‘variant’ countries to Switzerland?

Filling out the passenger locator form will still be obligatory for all passengers arriving by air, but not for those using land transportation.

What does this mean for travellers from the United States?

For the first time since Switzerland closed its borders in March 2020, American tourists will be able to come to here  — but only if they’ve been vaccinated. If not, they would have to test and quarantine for 10 or seven days, which pretty much defeats the purpose of  a vacation.

The same rule applies for those arriving from Canada, even though it is considered a VOC area.

While the restrictions on arrivals from the USA have been lifted, Swiss citizens still can’t go to the United States at the moment.

However, there’s some hope that this issue might be resolved when Swiss president Guy Parmelin, meets with his US counterpart Joe Biden in Geneva on Tuesday.

How was the decision made?

On June 11th , The Local wrote that even though US health authorities now authorise travel to Switzerland for vaccinated people, travel ban is still in place on the Swiss side for most third countries, including the United States.

READ MORE: US reclassifies Switzerland: What does it mean for American travellers?

However, that was before the Federal Council announced on Friday afternoon that it would likely be lifting remaining travel restrictions on June 28th. 

On June 23rd, the Swiss government confirmed that people from third countries – including Americans – would be allowed to enter from June 28th. 

Initially, Swiss media reported that the changes would come into effect on June 28th, however this was also brought forward to June 26th. 

Please note, initially the Swiss government said vaccination protection would be valid for six months, however this was later extended to 12 months. This article was changed to reflect that update. 

Member comments

  1. Please could you clarify for me – are fully vaccinated adults from the UK allowed to enter Switzerland now?

  2. And you waited until now to report this news of Friday? I will be requesting a refund of my subscription.

  3. Thanks for the update. I have a ticket to fly to Munich from California in mid-July and leaving from Geneva in early August. I have been vaccinated for three months and look forward to international travel to resume after three canceled trips. I can make some hotel reservations and plans stops during the three weeks of vacation in Central Europe.

  4. I was vaccinated in the US in January and February 2021, which was early in the US cycle due to my age being given priority. I plan to travel to Switzerland in late August for 4 weeks. As I read it now, I would not be accepted??

  5. My daughter and grandaughter coming in the month of september .They are living with me during vacation of one month .Are they needed to be quarantine .No history of covid desease ,daughter recieved full vacinne and grandaughter is 10 yrs of age .Coming from Canada !

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READER INSIGHTS

‘Painful’ – is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Following a survey that said Paris Charles de Gaulle airport was the best in Europe, we asked Local readers what they thought...

'Painful' - is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Recently, Paris Charles de Gaulle was voted the best airport in Europe by passengers.

The 2022 World Airport Awards, based on customer satisfaction surveys between September 2021 and May 2022, listed the best airport on the planet as Doha, while Paris’s main airport came in at number 6 – the highest entry for a European airport – one place above Munich. 

READ ALSO Paris Charles de Gaulle voted best airport in Europe by passengers

Given CDG’s long-standing reputation doesn’t quite match what the World Airport Awards survey said – in 2009 it was rated the second-worst airport in the world, while in 2011 US site CNN judged it “the most hated airport in the world” – we wondered how accurate the survey could be.

So we asked readers of The Local for their opinion on their experience of Europe’s ‘best’ airport. 

Contrary to the World Airport Awards study, users erred towards the negative about the airport. A total 30.8 percent of Local readers – who had travelled through the airport in recent months – thought it was ‘terrible’, while another 33.3 percent agreed that it was ‘not great’ and had ‘some problems’.

But in total 12.8 percent of those who responded to our survey thought the airport was ‘brilliant’, and another 23.1 percent thought it ‘fine’, with ‘no major problems’.

So what are the problems with it?

Signage 

One respondent asked a simple – and obvious – question: “Why are there so many terminal twos?”

Barney Lehrer added: “They should change the terminal number system.”

In fact, signage and directions – not to mention the sheer size of the place – were common complaints, as were onward travel options. 

Christine Charaudeau told us: “The signage is terrible. I’ve often followed signs that led to nowhere. Thankfully, I speak French and am familiar with the airport but for first time travellers … yikes!”

Edwin Walley added that it was, “impossible to get from point A to point B,”  as he described the logistics at the airport as the “worst in the world”.

And James Patterson had a piece of advice taken from another airport. “The signage could be better – they could take a cue from Heathrow in that regard.”

Anthony Schofield said: “Arriving by car/taxi is painful due to congestion and the walk from the skytrain to baggage claim seems interminable.”

Border control

Border control, too, was a cause for complaint. “The wait at the frontière is shameful,” Linda, who preferred to use just her first name, told us. “I waited one and a half hours standing, with a lot of old people.”

Sharon Dubble agreed. She wrote: “The wait time to navigate passport control and customs is abysmal!”

Deborah Mur, too, bemoaned the issue of, “the long, long wait to pass border control in Terminal E, especially at 6am after an overnight flight.”

Beth Van Hulst, meanwhile, pulled no punches with her estimation of border staff and the airport in general. “[It] takes forever to go through immigration, and staff deserve their grumpy reputation. Also, queuing is very unclear and people get blocked because the airport layout is not well designed.”

Jeff VanderWolk highlighted the, “inadequate staffing of immigration counters and security checkpoints”, while Karel Prinsloo had no time for the brusque attitudes among security and border personnel. “Officers at customs are so rude. I once confronted the commander about their terrible behaviour.  His response said it all: ‘We are not here to be nice’. Also the security personnel.”

Connections

One of the most-complained-about aspects is one that is not actually within the airport’s control – public transport connections.  

Mahesh Chaturvedula was just one of those to wonder about integrated travel systems in France, noting problems with the reliability of onward RER rail services, and access to the RER network from the terminal.

The airport is connected to the city via RER B, one of the capital’s notoriously slow and crowded suburban trains. Although there are plans to create a new high-speed service to the airport, this now won’t begin until after the 2024 Olympics.

Sekhar also called for, “more frequent trains from SNCF to different cities across France with respect to the international flight schedules.”

The good news

But it wasn’t all bad news for the airport, 35 percent of survey respondents said the airport had more positives than negatives, while a Twitter poll of local readers came out in favour of Charles de Gaulle.

Conceding that the airport is “too spread out”, Jim Lockard said it, “generally operates well; [and has] decent amenities for food and shopping”.

Declan Murphy was one of a number of respondents to praise the, “good services and hotels in terminals”, while Dean Millar – who last passed through Charles de Gaulle in October – said the, “signage is very good. [It is] easy to find my way around”.

He added: “Considering the size (very large) [of the airport] it is very well done.  So no complaints at all.”

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