Crossing the Swiss borders under COVID-19

The Swiss Federal Council has implemented strict measures to prevent the virus spreading across the Swiss population and has consequently closed the Swiss borders to visitors coming from countries listed as at risk during the current pandemic.

The list of countries listed at risk was initially composed of Italy, France, Spain, Austria and Germany and has been now extended to all Schengen countries except Lichtenstein and any other country where measures have been taken to fight the pandemic (Annexe I Ordonnance 2 COVID-19, updated on the 27th April 2020).

These exceptional measures mean that no one coming from a country or region at risk can enter Switzerland without a valid work permit or employer’s attestation or a visa mentioning “business meeting in relation to the pandemic or a major professional reason”, or if transporting commercial goods or if being a person of importance in health matters or if being in a situation of absolute necessity (art. 3 al. 1 O 2 COVID-19).

Cross-border workers can only enter Switzerland with a G permit and an employer attestation proving that valid professional reasons apply. Any visitor arriving by airplane can be denied entry if these specific conditions are not fulfilled. The police authority at the airport decides which country is considered at risk after consulting the Department of Foreign Affairs before sending back a foreign visitor.

Subsequently, Schengen visas and D visas are not granted currently for visitors coming from countries listed as at risk (art. 4a O 2 COVID-19).

Anyone crossing the Swiss border for shopping in a neighbouring country can be fined CHF 100.- (art. 10d al. 4 O 2 COVID-19).

If a foreign visitor cannot return to his country of origin due to flights grounded and is overstaying his 90 day Schengen stay, authorities must be notified and the visa can be exceptionally prolonged.

28/04/20 - Alexa Mossaz, immigration manager at Legal Expat

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This website aims to provide general information regarding Swiss law and should not be regarded as a legal opinion. For more specific advice, do not hesitate to contact us.