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Online Swiss Entry Form - another question

I have filled out the online FOPH Swiss entry forms successfully for my wife and myself. All in all not so hard. I have a couple of questions if anyone might have successfully navigated using the QR code at a Swiss airport.

We are departing the US and then flying to LHR for a change of airplanes. We are not leaving the secure airside at LHR and staying in the same terminal as best I can tell. I am finding conflicting advice on 2 Swiss government webpages as to what to mark as our "Place of Departure". The info button for that field on the webpage infers we should mark LHR as our place of departure. But, then I find this documented on another webpage under the question - "Which country counts as the country you are entering Switzerland from?" https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home/sem/aktuell/faq-einreiseverweigerung.html#-1871257744
The country you are entering from is generally the country from which you have just arrived. If travelling by air on a direct flight, you enter Switzerland from the country in which the aircraft took off.
If you fly via one or more transit airports – without leaving the international transit area – you enter Switzerland from the country in which the aircraft originally took off, not from the transit country or countries.
This means that if you begin your journey in a high-risk country and travel in transit via an airport in a non-high-risk country, you are travelling from a high-risk country.
Conversely, if you begin your journey in a non-high-risk country and travel in transit via an airport in a high-risk country, you are travelling from a non-high-risk country – provided you do not leave the airport’s international transit area.
In both scenarios, it does not matter how long you spend in the airport’s international transit area.

Thoughts? I debated calling the Swiss consulate to ask. But I figure they might have bigger issues to address.

Posted by
373 posts

Hi nurses, I’m reading that as the US is your place of departure as long as you don’t leave the London airport.

The airline you are flying might be a good source of info. as they are the ones doing a lot of the prechecks before you even get on the plane.

I would also suggest printing out the above info. and having that with you as that comes from the Swiss Gov. Another thought I have is to fill out the electronic form one way--with the US as departure country and then have a paper copy of the form filled out with England as departure country just in case. That way you are prepared either way.

Good luck!!!

Posted by
12132 posts

Is this the form? You linked it in your original post.

https://swissplf.admin.ch/formular

Right below the space for "Place of departure" it states,

Which country are you departing from? If your journey consists of several legs, please select
the country in which you started your journey.

Then, if you touch the "i" for information it gives the example of a person who flies Brazil-Portugal-UK in one journey, and explains that person should list Brazil as the place of departure.

So you departed from the US.

But I have no idea what they mean with the next field, asking for "Country/Region".

Posted by
373 posts

I did some further research and it says on the entry form "Which country are you departing from? If your journey consists of several legs, please select the country in which you started your journey."
So, that is pretty clear that the US is your departure country. And that matches up with the example they provide. So, definitely put US as your departure country.

Things must be so stressful for you as you're one of the first to travel from the US to Switzerland. It sounds like you are doing your research and have everything that you will need.

Have a great trip!!! And if you have time later, please do report back how everything went.

Posted by
373 posts

I found an email address (corona@sem.admin.ch) for questions about the form and asked two questions:

1) Is the “place of departure” and the “country/region” asking for the same information? So, in my case, I will be traveling from the United States to Zurich on a nonstop flight. So, would I enter “United States” for both place of departure and country/region?

2) During my trip to Switzerland, I will be stating in 3 different
locations at 3 different hotels. It looks like the form only has room
for one address. Should I just put the address for the first hotel I
will be staying? Or is there a way to add some additional addresses?

I will report back on the response I receive. Nurses, I hope I hear back before you leave.

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks all. Honestly, I may be overthinking it all. I tend to do that! Could be the immigration officer may not be that concerned. I did learn that you can file another entry form if needed. I suspect any duplicates just drop off the list eventually as each QR code created is unique.

I did learn that a link is sent back to you so you can pull up the QR code when needed. Plus, you can update your seat number as needed as this is used for contact tracing. We actually don't have a seat assignment yet. I'm not paying for an advance seat assignment from BA - just not worth it. The link sent to me opens up a webpage where the seat can be updated. The website initially made me enter a seat number. It advised to enter something and update as needed. Interesting.

To make matters even more interesting, we are actually not spending much if any time in Switzerland. We are traveling through GVA to visit family who live in Haute-Savoie in France about 45 minutes away from GVA. For this matter, we actually choose "Transit" passenger on the Entry Form instead of providing a Swiss address. Touching multiple countries in times of COVID is most interesting. You definitely need to research all you touch for possible implications. All that said, we are going to Alsace at some point and hoping to drive through Switzerland on the way just to have a look.

Posted by
29 posts

Carrie - I wrote questions to the same email address! I'll report back any response that i get too! Great minds think alike.

Posted by
373 posts

Nurse, they are going to wonder, who are these crazy Americans and why are they bothering us. 😊

Thanks for the additional info. on the form. Good to know the form can be updated if needed.

I'm sure all this initial stress will be well worth. When I finally get to Switzerland in Sept, I might just stay there forever. I know I can't, but in my head I can. 😊

Posted by
1242 posts

Carrie, ditto. Me any my Austrian Shepherd . Would my husband notice that we were gone?????

Posted by
222 posts

Hello Nurses (heroes). We are in the same boat, in a month going from US as vaccinated Americans to Switzerland via LHR. I have been trying to find out what that is going to mean because if the situation with the UK being considered a “high variant” country. I received a response from the Swiss embassy today which directed me to a site out of their San Francisco consulate which I will post in a moment. In the interim, I headed down the rabbit hole of link upon link. There was a help number which I am going to call tomorrow and get confirmation because this is confusing. I did take the little “quiz” and it seems like transit through the UK will be ok for vaccinated Americans, but on the other hand the explanation on filling out the incoming form for Switzerland says just put the last country you were “in” even if it is a transit only country (they gave an example of a flight from Bogota through Madrid landing in Zurich, saying put in Madrid as the “last” country even if it is just a stopover). So seems like the info you got was different. Here is what some of the link said:
https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/united-kingdom/en/home/representations/embassy-in-london/coronavirus.html

Please visit the webpage of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) for the latest information and advice on the situation in Switzerland.
Travel

Find out which COVID-19 related measures apply to you when entering Switzerland via the interactive travel check tool.

The UK is considered a high-risk country with entry restrictions. For all third-country citizens including UK citizens travelling directly from the UK, entry restrictions apply and may prevent them from entering Switzerland.

However, third country nationals who can prove that they have been fully vaccinated with an authorised vaccine or who have rights of free movement or who qualify as a case of special necessity do not face entry restrictions when entering Switzerland from the UK. See also «Rules for UK citizens (Brexit)» and “Who can enter Switzerland?”.

In general, persons who enter Switzerland from the UK have to present a negative COVID-19 test result (antigen rapid test or PCR test). Persons travelling by plane need to fill in a passenger locator form before entering Switzerland. Travellers who enter Switzerland from the UK have to go into quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. They have to report their arrival to the relevant cantonal authority within two days. Travellers also have the possibility to take a second COVID-19 test after seven days of quarantine, which if negative and with the permission of the cantonal authority, might release them from quarantine.

KEY STATEMENT: However, persons who can prove that they are fully vaccinated or that they have recovered from a COVID-19 infection in the last six months do not need to quarantine or present a negative COVID-19 test result when entering Switzerland. Please note that there are certain conditions for being considered fully vaccinated.

This seems like we are ok transiting. However as I am sure you know we have to get a Covid test just to TRANSIT LHR right now, this is required by the UK.

Keep us all posted, we’re not doing this for a month but it is quite confusing. We wanted to use up a bunch of BA miles so that’s why we are doing US-LHR-Geneva.

Posted by
373 posts

I received a response to the email i sent, but it did not answer my questions:

Thank you for your enquiry.
The USA is no longer on the SEM's list of countries at risk (see FAQ : Which countries and regions are considered to be high-risk? (SEM high-risk list)). Therefore, the normal entry requirements apply to anyone wishing to enter Switzerland directly from the USA.

Please also note:

• For more information regarding the electronic entry form, please contact the Federal Office of Public Health or +41 58 464 44 88.

• The entry regulations are subject to continuous change. You will always find the latest information on our website.

• Please note that our information only refers to entry into Switzerland. For information on leaving or entering another country, please contact the authorities of the country in question.

• When travelling by plane, the airlines themselves decide under which conditions they transport passengers. The Swiss authorities have no influence on this decision. Therefore, please clarify the conditions of carriage with the respective airline.

We hope to have answered your question with the above.

Posted by
222 posts

I did call the Swiss Health department today in Switzerland. This is what she said:

  1. She asked what vaccines we have had and since I had Pfizer and my husband had Moderna we are ok.

  2. On transit through LHR, she said as long as it is a short AIRSIDE ONLY transit, we are Ok and no need to test or quarantine upon arrival in Switzerland.

  3. On the Swiss entry form put the US as your country of origin for the flight even if it has an AIRSIDE ONLY transit from the UK.

  4. On the Swiss entry form, there is only space for one address to put in Switzerland. She said put the FIRST hotel you are staying in so they can find you quickly if they need to.

So I think for those of us transiting LHR we will be ok as long as we are vaccinated with approved vaccines for Switzerland.

Posted by
222 posts

BTW Nurses what seat numbers will you use? For the flight from the US to LHR or the flight from LHR to Switzerland?

Posted by
29 posts

I got a lengthy reply from the SEM. I won't post it here. But the most useful thing in the email was the following: Please note that if you are flying via one or several transit airports – without leaving the international transit area – you enter Switzerland from the country in which you started the journey originally. The countries in which you transited will not be considered for your admission or refusal of entry into Switzerland.

So with that bit of info, I am listing my place of departure as the USA. They will see my place of transit as the flight is from LHR to GVA.

As to the question from cchapin100 what seat I am entering on the entry form: I am listing the flight and seat number for the LHR to GVA portion as that is the flight that we are making entry to Switzerland.

Posted by
373 posts

Cchapin and nurses, thanks so much for the additional info. and doing the leg work to get this info. So, will you be putting US for both place of departure and country/region? Or do you think the first box wants something more specific, like Chicago Ohare, Illinois, USA?

Posted by
2775 posts

Actually the question about “place of departure” was answered in posts 2 and 3 above, by Lola and Carrie.

Then some confusion was introduced later with this:

“I did take the little “quiz” and it seems like transit through the UK will be ok for vaccinated Americans, but on the other hand the explanation on filling out the incoming form for Switzerland says just put the last country you were “in” even if it is a transit only country (they gave an example of a flight from Bogota through Madrid landing in Zurich, saying put in Madrid as the “last” country even if it is just a stopover). So seems like the info you got was different. “

This is confusing because it seems to contradict the information about naming the US as the country of departure even if you change planes at Heathrow. But if you read carefully you will see the word “stopover”. This means a person actually enters the country, not just change planes at the airport. You have to go through immigration to enter the country. That is what “stopover” means—-you go through immigration and enter the country. Some people think of doing this if they have a super-long layover at Heathrow; they want to go into London and look around or have a pint at a real pub. Then you have actually been in the UK.

But if you stay “airside” (remain in the transit area and do NOT go through immigration) it is not a “stopover”. So that bit about Bogata and Madrid does not apply.

To repeat: If you land at Heathrow on a flight from the US and stay airside to walk (or bus if you change terminals) to your flight departing for Switzerland, you technically do not “enter the UK”, because you do not pass through immigration. (You will however have to go through security).

Posted by
373 posts

Sasha, I understand that. My confusion is in the distinction between the box asking for “place of departure” and the box asking for “country/region.” They seem to be asking for the same thing.

Posted by
2775 posts

Carrie, I was quoting from cchapin’s post cuz I thought some people might find that part confusing or contradictory. My post had nothing to do with your question about the other “country/region” entry on the forum.

You were one of the people who answered the “place of departure” question early on and correctly.

Posted by
222 posts

This is exactly why I called Switzerland today at the number the consulate gave me yesterday because the language on their various websites is confusing and often conflicting. I feel comfortable now after having personally spoken to someone at the Health department in Switzerland that the transit will work, that we list the US as the departure country and we have our vaccination cards. Actually we will also have an antigen test since that’s required by the UK to transit through their airports. But we will have to list our flight number and seats of the transit flight from the UK on the form.

Posted by
373 posts

Sasha, I apologize. I mistakenly thought you were responding to another post.

Posted by
222 posts

Did anyone who is doing the BA transit to Switzerland via LHR complete/fill out the Verifly app?

Posted by
29 posts

cchapin100 - We leave for GVA Wednesday from SAN via DFW and LHR. I've downloaded the Verifly app on my phone and I've created an account. I'm hoping using the app may speed our check in process. I've uploaded our Covid vaccine card images and they were accepted by Verifly. We get Covid tested tomorrow and I'll upload results by Tuesday. The other step is to do the UK Passenger Locator Form online. But it can only be done within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival at LHR. So I'll do that at some point on Tuesday. The app explains I'll scan a QR code issued by the UK once we successfully complete the online PLFs. Learning a bit more each day!

Posted by
222 posts

Thanks Nurses. Does the UK form have to be completed 48 hours before departure from the US or landing in the UK? I can tell I am going to have a busy Monday the day before we leave. Also the Swiss forms can be filled in up to two weeks in advance, correct?

We were able to find a lateral flow antigen test on a Sunday (our flight is on Tuesday) so that will get us within a 48 hour window.

We’re also flying PSP to DFW to LHR to GVA. After BA kept changing things I called them on Saturday and he rebooked the whole thing. We got on the early flight (11:00 am) from DFW to LHR which got us on an earlier flight to GVA, so we will be in Geneva by noon.

Thanks for all your help, we are all following in your footsteps!

This has all been so informative and helpful as we will be traveling SFO/LHR - Zurich first week of August. Will be keeping a close eye on any updates as we get closer.
My husband's 2nd vaccine will be 6 months old the day we arrive in Zurich...so going get a covid test before we leave incase there are any hang ups.
Thanks again everyone for sharing all this great information.

Posted by
222 posts

But you still have to have (as of right now) either a PCR or antigen (such as from lateral flow) just to transit through LHR.

Posted by
3 posts

I am trying to fill out the online form, but it won't let me proceed past the first page because it isn't accepting my phone number. Is there some specific format to use for US cell phone numbers? I am including the country code and I've tried multiple combinations. It is also requiring a residence number but I don't have one and I don't know the number of my hotel room when I get there. Any thoughts? I have emailed support as well.
Edit; oh is it asking for my street number, not a unit number? I'll try that. Sorry my flight leaves in five hours so I'll just be thinking out loud a little here.

Posted by
222 posts

Someone said just do your number as +12345678, meaning use your number but do it with no gaps.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you! Yup it worked when I took out the zeros before the country code.