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Covid certificate for tourists & new entry requirements press conf 17Sep **update 21Sep

** some updates 20 Sep, scroll down thread

Hi all - press conference just finished, here are the highlights

Effective 20 Sept 2021
- All those entering Switzerland, including vaccinated people, must fill out the SwissPLF entry form, regardless of transportation mode (previously only by air, now also by train/bus/car/etc). Some exceptions for those in transit, working drivers, and cross-border commuters or those coming directly from border regions.

  • People vaccinated abroad who live in and/or are visiting Switzerland may obtain a Swiss Covid certificate as long as they have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by EMA (European Medicines Agency). Each canton will have to designate a contact for those vaccinated abroad and there will be a list on a federal website. The federal govt will help with organization and implementation to make this as efficient and as simple as possible. It is not clear how long it will take to process certificate requests once the system is in place. The cantons will have a transition period until 10 October to figure everything out. Until 10 October, tourists may use foreign vaccination certificates (incl WHO yellow vaccine booklet).

Here is the full press release in English https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/das-bag/aktuell/medienmitteilungen.msg-id-85168.html

I assume there will still be some confusion during this 'transition period' but at least it seems like things are going in the right direction...

*** Updated link from the government website about how to obtain Covid certificates - proof of travel to and stay in Switzerland is now requested
https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/covid-zertifikat/covid-zertifikat-erhalt-gueltigkeit.html#-1428730671

Posted by
1 posts

Thanks hopper you and everyone has been very helpful on these forums. Greatly appreciated. We travel to Switzerland on Wednesday and are still waiting for our Covid Certificate but this sounds like they will now accept the U.S. CDC Vaccination cards. Did I read this update correctly? Thank you in advance.

Posted by
36 posts

This is good news. We are in Switzerland a week now, and while I received my certificate when we first arrived, my wife never did. Not been an issue, but for sure a bit of added stress. Safe and happy travels everyone. Another beautiful day in the alps after a bit of rain and fog.

Posted by
144 posts

ahbigjay - There aren't really any more details beyond the press release, but hopefully yes. It does sound like it should be ok during this "transition period" but Switzerland Tourism and other official outlets haven't updated their websites yet with any new info. And whenever things change, there is also the chance that not all businesses and their staff are clear on what is and isn't allowed right away - after all, just this week they were told to only accept Swiss/EU certificates or face fines!
Hopefully on Monday there will be some more updates to the various websites and reports from people on the ground about how things go.

Posted by
588 posts

Just arrived in Lauterbrunnen……..it seems as we checked in with Delta in Nashville the dear ticket agent had to read her current info to see where we were going and what that country needed…..I felt sorry for her as she was trying her best to keep up…..she looked at our CDC card and of course our passport……..no other looking over our info until the Customs agent in Amsterdam, as we flew through on our way to Zurich, wanted to see the CDC card as well with our passport……on the plane over our Delta stewardess handed out to each of us a Health Form….had done my hard copy already and had it with me….and a “QUARANTINE” form if you were staying in Amsterdam……if not she had you write “transit” on it and hand it back to her which we did……so far that is all……no request for a negative test or temperature check……..dead tired and will report more later!

Posted by
6 posts

Glad to see this as the rules as enforced in Valais during our stay this week have disappointingly kept us from entering the only indoor attractions (Chateau Chillon, Musee Olympic, and Chaplin's World) planned for our two week trip. Applied for our certificates through Canton of Bern last Saturday as soon as it became clear the Valais website wouldn't work for us. When we arrived Wednesday we went to Plan B, antigen tests, and spent several hours trying to find a location that would test us. Nope. Not without an appointment- next appointment available September 26th. :( I sent a follow up email to Bern yesterday as someone on another board had some success doing that. No reply yet.

Off to Zermatt and then Murren for hiking. Hopefully will be able to eat breakfast in our hotels.

Lest this sound too cranky, Switzerland is absolutely lovely and we're having a great time. Just sorry to have missed some things I'd really been looking forward to.

Posted by
18 posts

I have found these forums so valuable. We are at the SFO airport now, and I logged on specifically to see if hopper18 had posted an update! I have my code from Canton of Bern because I applied last Thursday. My husband has yet to receive his and he applied Sunday. This sounds like positive news. I’m also carrying a printout that he applied for the Swiss QR code through Canton of Bern, and every piece of documentation I can possible have to prove he’s vaccinated. Excited to finally get there.

Posted by
412 posts

Thanks hooper!!!!

Jane I might sneak out of Lucerne and join you in lauterbrunnen. Please tell my cows I miss them. Have a great time!!!!!

Posted by
10 posts

Good news! Swiss QR code arrived in the app tonight, courtesy of Valais. I applied on Tuesday night, so about 3 business days. No word from Bern (applied Sunday night), but that’s okay because you only need ONE as I understand it. So just time for Luzern! Took an epic hike today from Gimmelwald to Tanzbodeli (“dancing head”) plateau. It’s a challenging uphill hike but the awesome panoramic views are worth it. Beautiful day here in Berner Oberland after a couple wet days
Brian

Posted by
272 posts

Hey Brian, good to know your Swiss Covid certificate arrived! Mine did too, from Valais. No word from Bern. Applied Wednesday afternoon, same as my husband, but he hasn’t heard yet.
Hopper, thank you so much for your vigilance. You have been invaluable to all of us in Switzerland.
Our hotel owner here in Mürren informed us today that our US Covid certificate is acceptable (That is her interpretation). So all of us should be okay.
Valais certificate: what’s great about it is it went directly to the Swiss Covid App.
Carrie: We’ll gladly make room for you here in Lauterbrunnen.
Jane: Welcome to Switzerland!!! Glad you made it.

Posted by
144 posts

Glad the info has been helpful and hope you all enjoy your time here. After living here for the last 15 yrs, it's always interesting for me to read everyone's impressions of Switzerland, but I figured I should contribute too when I can :)

FYI, Switzerland Tourism has now updated their website about the 'transition period' until 10 October - seems to confirm Carol's experience and is good news for those still waiting to receive their Swiss certificates:
https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/planning/transport-accommodation/travel-to-switzerland/where-and-when-is-what-open/

Just in time for the change in the weather too - looks like the summer temperatures are on the way out after tomorrow...

Posted by
16 posts

Greetings to all. We flew into the Geneva airport on 9/15 transiting through Madrid and the Swiss immigration officer only checked our passports. He did not ask for our health entry permit or to see any certification of vaccination or negative COVID testing. However the Iberia gate official did ask to see proof of vaccination before we boarded the flight. What we have learned since our arrival in Switzerland is that without the official Swiss health QR certificate we cannot enter any public building like museums or restaurants. We thought that our CDC vaccination cards might be sufficient, but no. We have been allowed to sit at outdoor tables without any problem and ride cable cars. Hopefully we will not have any problems checking into the next hotels in Lucerne and Engelberg.

Posted by
36 posts

Definitely still some confusion in Montreux during this transition period. We had no issues in Murren all last week. But at restaurant tonight on our first night here, the hostess did not want to seat us inside where I have the certificate and my wife does not, but does have cdc card. She relented when I showed her the news release, linked herein. She had heard nothing of the new rules, and indicated that the certificates are being strictly enforced. The news is still new, and the transition period officially begins tomorrow, 9/20, so hopefully things will get better as word gets out, as Hopper has said in helpful posts on the topic. Good luck everyone! Get the certificate for sure if you can. My wife applied 2x in canton of Bern and 1 in Valais and none have come through for her. Weird, as mine was quick.

Posted by
18 posts

I applied for a QR code through both Valais and Bern last week. My Valais code came through the day I was leaving the US so I’m good but I just got an email from the Canton of Bern saying that they are NOT giving codes to tourists…

Email from Bern:
We have received your application for a Swiss COVID-19 Certificate.
Information for tourists:
At present, no Swiss COVID-19 vaccination certificates or Swiss COVID-19 recovery certificates are being issued to tourists.
If you are visiting the Canton of Bern, you can be tested in order to gain access to areas where a certificate is required. Thank you for your understanding.

Posted by
18 posts

My husband just received the same notice from Canton of Bern. They just aren’t issuing them to tourists. I received mine last Tuesday. I’m glad to have the link to that press release and am keeping that very handy along with his CDC card, printout from our medical provider, AND printout from state of California. Will report if we run into issues.

Posted by
36 posts

Alas, my wife got the same email from Bern too after more than a week, denying the certificate. On the upside, at Chillon castle today, they were accepting cdc cards and passports. So she got in. As we are coming to the dinner hour, we expect it to be a gamble wherever we go. Hard to complain, but last week's hasty regulation requiring certificates, and then the sudden undoing has definitely led to a lot of confusion here. Our hotel host here in Montreux this morning had some choice words (in French and English) for the authorities when he told us to enjoy our breakfast in the breakfast room!

Posted by
588 posts

Another kink to add…just showed my Swiss QR hard copy to our hotel owner…she told me it was not usable because it has a red Swiss cross in the center of it…sent to us like that…mine and hubby’s!!!…think I will reapply

Posted by
144 posts

As predicted, it's been a bumpy road on Day 1 with the new system. If anyone is stopping by tourist offices, it might be an idea to mention problems you've had so they are aware that not all businesses are accepting CDC cards. I was hoping the govt webpage would be updated today, but doesn't look like it.

A few more cantons (below) have now added more information for tourist certificates, while others (ex Zurich) have noted they are "working on it" still. One problem is that the federal government set out these rules, but it is the individual cantons that are responsible for implementation so there are 26 different ways everything is being done and some cantons have more manpower for this than others. My guess is that Bern is putting off the tourist certificates for now because they are getting a lot of requests from residents and need to prioritize those. It may be that they offer them again once it's closer to 10 October.

Here are some of the new links, if anyone wants to try. I wouldn't expect quick turnaround though. Please also note that the cantons will be allowed to charge a fee for tourist certificates - it's not clear if any have done this yet but it might come up at some point.

Geneva (in English, click on "persons vaccinated abroad" and you must include proof of a visit to Geneva like a hotel reservation or flight/train booking) https://www.ge.ch/en/covid-19-certificate/covid-certificate-vaccinated-persons

Lucerne (in English, scroll down past the German, requires hotel address and dates, they don't make any promises about quick turnaround) https://gesundheit.lu.ch/themen/Humanmedizin/Infektionskrankheiten/Informationen_Coronavirus/Covid_Zertifikat_Touristen


Graubunden (in German or Italian, you need to add PDFs of vaccination proof and identity document) https://www.gr.ch/DE/institutionen/verwaltung/djsg/ga/coronavirus/info/zertifikat/zertifikatantrag/Seiten/zertifikatantrag.aspx

Both Appenzell cantons as well as Thurgau also have ways to request certificates, but you will have to prove that you are staying in that canton. This seems to be where things are heading so I would expect most if not all cantons to start requiring this.

Further information about the various cantons here (not all have info in English):
https://foph-coronavirus.ch/certificate/how-do-i-get-a-covid-certificate-and-how-do-i-use-it/#contents1

Posted by
144 posts

Jane - were you showing them the QR code from the entry form (Swiss PLF) by mistake? This one does have a red Swiss cross/shield in the middle and it is only for entry in the country, not valid as a Covid certificate. The QR code in the Covid certificate (paper or app) doesn't have a red cross in the middle. You can see images of what it looks like in both paper form and in the app here https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/covid-zertifikat/covid-zertifikat-grundlagen.html

Posted by
36 posts

Well, after 10 days and with 4 to go in the trip, my wife's covid certificate finally populated in the app from Valais! We are in Zermatt and it is bluebird weather so we are feeling good. Covid tests scheduled tomorrow for the return flight to the states Saturday. Fingers crossed.

Posted by
1 posts

Hello! Quick question -- do I need a COVID certificate per Canton I plan on visiting? For example, if I am visiting and staying in Valais, but spending a night in Zurich before my flight, would that require a certificate for both Cantons?

Posted by
144 posts

No, there is one certificate for all of Switzerland. You do not need to get one from each canton you will visit.

Posted by
7 posts

I was in Zurich last week and could not get QR code before we arrived on Sept 14th. Some places would take CDC vaccine cards to let us inside but many would not. We found covid testing centers everywhere throughout Zurich and they get immediate results for only 10 chf that then gives you QR code good for 3 days. We also found a Apotheke store in town outside Zurich that did testing and new the system that was willing to use our CDC vaccine cards to generate a QR code for us that is good for as long as our vaccines are good, so many options. Having a Covid QR code from Switzerland also helped us when visiting Germany and France as many restaurants want proof too and preferred a European QR code over CDC card.