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UPDATE: Everything that changes in Switzerland in September 2021

From the weather to naturalisation requirements - and of course Covid measures - there are plenty of changes in store in September 2021 in Switzerland.

UPDATE: Everything that changes in Switzerland in September 2021
An SBB clock at the station in Aarau, Switzerland. Image: Wikicommons/SBB

Summer is already making its way into the rear view mirror and autumn is on its way. 

This means there are plenty of changes in store in Switzerland. 

Some are set in stone, others speculative, but each of the following may have an impact on your life in Switzerland soon. 

Here’s what you need to know. 

Switzerland to reassess Covid-19 situation

One year on from the second wave of the Covid pandemic and it feels like many of us have simply not learned our lessons. 

Infections are rising – and most concerning, there are also increases in hospitalisations due to Covid. 

Just over 50 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, well below the country’s targets, which looks likely to lead to further lockdown measures being put in place. 

In an official communication, the government said decisions would be made on the 1st of September. 

“Given the uncertain evolution of the epidemiological situation, the Federal Council will reassess the situation and possibly adjust the measures at its meeting on  September 1st, when the impact of the return from the summer holidays will be more apparent”.

One major change which is likely to take place is an expansion of the Covid certificate. As The Local Switzerland reported on Wednesday, under a proposal by the Swiss government, Covid certificates will be required in all indoor areas of bars, gyms, restaurants, museums and private events.

This is being put out for consultation with the cantons, but looks likely to pass in some respects. 

More information is available at the following link. 

READ MORE: Switzerland proposes Covid certificates indoors in bars, restaurants and gyms

New travel rules to UK

September 30th also marks the day that national ID cards will no longer be accepted for travel into the UK.

So if you are travelling to the UK with your a national ID card – or if a partner, friend or relative is doing the same – remind them that they will need a passport after this date.

Ticino to tighten requirements for naturalisation

From September 1st, naturalisation applicants in Ticino will have to prove that they have not received any welfare benefits in the last 10 years or that they have fully repaid any social assistance received.

Until now, the canton’s law on citizenship provided — as elsewhere in Switzerland — for a time limit of three years.

Similar measures are already in place elsewhere in Switzerland regarding work / residence permits: The Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (FNIA) provides for the possibility of downgrading or revoking the permit of a person receiving social assistance.

How to apply for Swiss citizenship: An essential guide

Booster shots

As reported by The Local in mid-August, several Swiss cantons have already started administering Covid booster shots. 

These shots are expected to be brought to more cantons in September and October. 

READ MORE: Which Swiss cantons are already offering Covid booster shots?

Switzerland has ordered an additional seven million doses so that booster shots can be administered

The canton of Basel-City already started administering booster shots to residents with a particularly weak immune systems on August 6th.

As at August 11th nine people have received a third booster shot, but no further data has been released.

Since then, several other cantons have followed, including Bern, Zurich, Solothurn, Zug, Schaffhausen, Thurgau and Aargau.

UPDATED: How can I get my Covid booster shot in Switzerland?

Federal Day of Thanksgiving, Repentance and Prayer

This annual Eidgenössischer Dank-, Buss- und Bettag / Jeûne fédéral / Digiuno federale) interfaith holiday will be celebrated on September 19th everywhere in Switzerland except in Geneva, which has its own similar observance, Jeûne genevois, on September 9th.

The following Monday (September 10th for Geneva and September 20th for the rest of the country) is a public holiday.

Clock ticking on free Covid tests

On August 25th, the Swiss government also confirmed that tests will no longer be free in Switzerland from October 1st onwards. 

When making the announcement, the government issued a press release pointing to the “sharp rise” in cases and hospital admissions seen in recent weeks. 

Making people pay for tests – which could cost up to 120 francs according to Swiss media – will encourage people to get tested. 

UPDATED: Unvaccinated must pay for Covid tests in Switzerland from October

September 30th will be the last day of free tests. 

Time to bid goodbye to the summer

No doubt the summer season 2021 will be remembered for its extreme weather: on one hand, heavy rains that caused flooding in many parts of Switzerland, and on the other, record-high heatwave.
But on September 22nd the summer will be officially over, and autumn will begin.
Statistik: Durchschnittliche Temperatur in der Schweiz von Juni 2020 bis Juni 2021 | Statista
Mehr Statistiken finden Sie bei Statista

Swiss to vote on ‘Marriage for All’ and ‘the 99 Percent Initiative’

On September 26th, voters in Switzerland will weigh in on two controversial issues: one to allow same-sex couples to marry and the other to force wealthy people to pay 150 percent more tax on their capital income and redistribute this money to the rest of the population.

Opponents of ‘Marriage of all” argue that allowing unions between homosexuals means “to touch the Christian foundations of our civilisation…and the natural order”.

In supporting the Federal Council’s case, Justice Minister Keller-Sutter said that “the state should not dictate to people how they have to organise their private and family life.”

Regarding ‘The 99-percent initiative’, (official name: Reduce tax on salaries, tax capital fairly’) opponents say that all income such as wages, pensions and capital income, is already taxed in full”-

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What’s at stake in Switzerland’s September referendum?

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For members


Everything that changes in Switzerland in May 2022

From changing Covid rules to the next round of referenda, this is what is happening in Switzerland in May 2022.

Everything that changes in Switzerland in May 2022

May 1st: Labour Day

Like many other countries Switzerland is celebrating Labour Day on May 1st (which has nothing to do with the Labor Day in the United States, which falls on the first Monday of September).

In Switzerland, it is also known as International Workers’ Day and May Day.

As it is falling on a Sunday this year, you will not get half a day off work – although a movement has been kick started to change all that. 

READ MORE: Swiss politicians call for ‘lost’ public holidays to be replaced

May 2nd: All entry restrictions to Switzerland will be lifted

Travellers from abroad will once again be able to enter Switzerland or apply for a visa under the usual (pre-Covid) conditions.

The last entry restrictions still in force be dropped on May 2nd.

On that date, vaccine requirement for all tourists, regardless of where they come from, will fall.

READ MORE: Switzerland to drop vaccine requirement for entry from May 2nd

May 2nd: New Covid certificate enters into force

The Federal Council decided that Covid recovery certificates can be issued on the basis of a positive rapid antigen test or a laboratory-based immunological analysis.

Because of new rules in the EU, these certificates will be recognised internationally. 

They can be issued retroactively for positive test results from October 2nd, 2021. 

However, “because no similar rules existed at EU level at the time, they were only valid in Switzerland. Certificates already issued on this basis must be applied for again and re-issued for international compatibility”.  

May 9th: Consultation for extension of Covid law ends

Although no Covid measures are currently in place in Switzerland – and the few that remain for entering the country will be removed on May 2nd – the legal framework which allows the government to make Covid rules remains in place. 

Currently, the Swiss government is undergoing a consultation with the cantons, which is set to end on May 9th, about the continuation of the framework. 

Issues such as covering the costs for Covid tests and issuing Covid certificates for travel abroad will be discussed. 

While the Covid Act is currently set to expire at the end of 2022, it is expected to be extended until at least June 2024. More information is available here

May 15th: Switzerland votes

In the second of four rounds of national referendums scheduled for 2022, the Swiss will head to the polls on May 15th to decide on three issues: The Film Act, support for European border guards (Frontex), and transplant /organ donation law.

More information about issues at stake can be found here:

EXPLAINED: What’s at stake in Switzerland’s May referendums?

May 26th: Ascension Day

Thursday May 26th will mark the Ascension Day, a religious holiday, which is a national public holiday in Switzerland.  

While the following day, Friday the 27th, is not a public holiday — that is, stores and most other businesses operate as usual — schools and some offices remain closed until Monday.

READ MORE: When are the public holidays in Switzerland in 2022?

Spring in full swing

After a cold and miserable winter and spring, things should improve from May onwards in Switzerland. 

Although May is a notoriously temperamental month – with temperatures hitting highs of 20C degrees in Geneva, Bern, Basel and Zurich – the nights can still get very cold, with lows touching on 0C. 

Whatever you plan on doing in Switzerland in May, channel your inner Swiss and remember that preparation is your friend, so bring appropriate clothing for rain, cold and of course golden sunshine.