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What are the rules for travel between Switzerland and the UK?

What are the rules for travel between Switzerland and the UK?
Only vaccinated UK residents can enter Switzerland. Photo by Zurich Airport
Travel between Switzerland and the United Kingdom is much easier than it was just a few months ago, but there are still a few hoops to jump through. Here’s what you need to know.

From late 2020 until the middle of 2021, travel between Switzerland and the United Kingdom was heavily restricted. 

Indeed, it was difficult or in some cases impossible for people to make the trip unless they were citizens or residents of both countries. 

But with the progress of the vaccination campaign in both countries, things have begun to return to normal. 

Entering Switzerland from the UK

Switzerland’s current (as of September 20th) entry rules depend on whether or not you are vaccinated.

While unvaccinated visitors from most countries must show proof of a negative Covid test and then have another test four to seven days later, this rule doesn’t apply to UK tourists.

That’s because Switzerland placed the UK — along with the United States, Israel, India, and several other countries — on its high-risk list.

This means that only vaccinated arrivals from the United Kingdom are allowed to enter Switzerland.

The only people exempted from the rule are unvaccinated Swiss citizens and permanent residents returning to Switzerland. They must, however, show a negative test and undergo screening again four to seven days after arrival.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Who can enter Switzerland right now and what are the rules?

What about the Swiss Covid certificate?

While the Covid certificate is needed to do most things in Switzerland, it is not needed to enter the country. 

In order to enter, you simply need to show proof of vaccination. 

If you are coming from abroad and want to get the Swiss Covid certificate, check out the following link. 

Canton-by-canton: How visitors can get Switzerland’s Covid certificate

Which vaccines are accepted?

Several vaccines are accepted in order to enter Switzerland.

This includes those administered in Switzerland, along with others such as AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson and Sinopharm. 

Click the following link for more information. 

UPDATE: Which vaccines are accepted for entry into Switzerland?

Entering the UK from Switzerland

Switzerland was previously on the UK’s ‘green list’, which was the lowest risk category that the UK government has. 

From October 4th, the rules changed for entry to the UK from Switzerland. 

Prior to this date, vaccinated travellers needed to fill out a passenger locator form before entering the UK. 

In addition, they needed to complete two tests. The first test had to be taken in the three days before departure, then another test on day 2 after arrival in the UK. 

Heathrow Airport. Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP

After October 4th, vaccinated travellers from the rest of the world list will not have to take pre-departure Covid-19 tests.

Later in October arrivals will also be able to book a cheaper rapid antigen (lateral flow) test for day 2 rather than the current PCR tests which have proved expensive and blasted by travellers as a scam. However no date has yet been given for this change.

More information on the rules can be found at the official UK government site

The government has also changed the policy on people who have been vaccinated with doses from two different manufacturers, meaning those with mixed doses are now considered fully vaccinated by the UK.

However it is not clear whether those who had one dose after recovering from Covid-19 – which is the norm in many countries – are considered fully vaccinated. The Local has asked the UK government to clarify the policy.

*This article has been updated to remove the incorrect information that travellers can book an antigen test instead of a PCR test for day 2 after arrival from October 4th. In fact this will only be possible later in October as the article now states.


Member comments

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  1. Also be aware that should you be contacted by the NHS Test and Trace because you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid up to 10 days from your arrival in the UK, you will be obliged to self-isolate for 10 days from the time of being in contact with that person. if you have been fully vaccinated in the UK then you are exempt from self-isolating. If you have been fully vaccinated in another European country, including Switzerland, then you will be obliged to self-isolate. This happened to my husband and I this week. A person on the plane we took from Switzerland to the UK tested positive after their arrival. We were told to self-isolate for 10 days, or face hefty fines, even though we have been fully vaccinated in Switzerland. Totally outrageous and illogical policy in my view.

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