Switzerland has set out its plan to reopen to international tourists – including U.S. travelers – who’ve had a COVID-19 vaccine from June 28th. The move follows many of Switzerland’s European neighbors, which reopened for vaccinated tourists in the last month. These nations include France, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Denmark.
*note: This news story was written and published on June 13, 2021. Since then, the government of Switzerland has officially confirmed that U.S. tourists who’ve been fully vaccinated will have entry as of June 28, but no other countries at that time like originally planned. (Example: Canada, etc) The original news story continues below…
In recent months, COVID-19 cases have continued to drop in Switzerland, and with the growing vaccination rates – the government says it wants to prepare for the upcoming vacation season. 2019 saw record U.S. arrivals in Switzerland, but the pandemic prevented U.S. travelers from visiting Europe last year, causing enormous harm to Switzerland’s vibrant tourism industry (2.9% of Switzerland’s GDP).
The Vaccination Requirements
Although there is no official confirmation from the Swiss government until June 23rd, numerous reports suggest Switzerland will accept all vaccines that are approved by the European Medical Agency, and these include:
- Johnson & Johnson
In addition – and contrary to some other European nations – reports suggest that Switzerland will approve WHO emergency approved vaccinations, which includes the following:
- Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine
- Serum Institue of India Pvt Ltd
- Janssen–Cilag International NV
Since April 19th, travelers from the following Schengen countries have been able to enter Switzerland.
- Austria (except for Land Steiermark)
- Czech Republic
- Italy (except Regione Lazio, Regione Liguria, Regione Marche, Regione Veneto)
On June 28th, they expect to extend to travelers worldwide with evidence of vaccination.
Swiss President, Guy Parmelin, stated: “We are making progress, we can see light at the end of the tunnel.” The Swiss government also laid out its plans to reopen to Non-Schengen travelers, suggesting that health measures should be kept in place for countries with worrying rates of COVID-19 and a lack of vaccinations.
However, before the government makes any final decisions on entry requirements and safe countries – they will make their final decision on June 23rd.
The plans suggest travelers will need to give their contact details to authorities on arrival, but only if they arrive via air and not via train or car.
The plans also suggest that a COVID-19 certificate will be mandatory as a proof of vaccination on arrival. Swiss authorities plan to create a COVID-19 certificate that’s compatible with the EU digital certificate.
Restrictions If You Come From A Country With A Variant Of Concern
Although Switzerland is set to ease restrictions to travelers from every world corner, they are still monitoring countries with worrying amounts of variants of concern. For example, the Delta Variant – as the WHO recently coined it – continues to spread throughout many countries, including Great Britain.
The authorities suggest that passengers coming from a country with a variant of concern will have to take a PCR test and undergo mandatory quarantine if they haven’t received a vaccination yet and will also need an essential reason for travel. They further suggest if the virus continues to mutate to a point where the vaccinations no longer work, all travelers – regardless of having a vaccination or not – may have to undergo quarantine.
So, despite Switzerland opening up to vaccinated travelers, if the virus continues to mutate in your home country to a point where it decreases vaccine efficacy – you may face restrictions even if you’ve received two vaccinations. Unfortunately, that adds an element of risk to booking vacations to Switzerland. That said, you could argue that most countries will adopt the same principles if vaccines start to fail against new variants.
The easing of restrictions is great news to vaccinated American travelers looking for a European vacation in July or August. U.S. citizens now have many options in Europe, unlike last year, where Europe had practically banned all travel from the U.S, leaving Americans limited to domestic or Caribbean/Mexico travel.
Switzerland’s entry requirement rules will be frequently updated here
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories