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All you need to know about the Swiss Covid certificate

Published on September 27, 2021

Many public places in Switzerland now require a Covid certificate. Here is what you need to know if you are travelling here.  

As of September 20, 2021, all those vaccinated abroad with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) can in principle apply for a Swiss Covid certificate.  

However, the cantons are still hesitating in the case of applicants from certain countries, including the United States, according to reports from those concerned. Tourists will also not receive certificates from the cantons for the time being, but they can use their vaccination certificate in Switzerland like a certificate until October 24. 

Which vaccines are approved by the EMA? 

  • Pfizer/Biontech 
  • Moderna  
  • Janssen (Johnson&Johnson) 
  • AstraZeneca 

You must be fully vaccinated, which in the case of Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna and AstraZeneca requires two doses, while Johnson & Johnson/Janssen requires one dose. 

Which vaccines are not accepted for a Swiss Covid certificate? 

  • Sputnik 
  • Sinopharm 
  • Sinovac 

There are exemptions that allow you to apply for a Swiss COVID certificate if you received your inoculation abroad with a vaccine that is on the Emergency Use List of the World Health Organization (WHO) but not authorised by EMA. This can be the case for returning Swiss who live abroad, for EU third-country nationals working in Switzerland, employees of international organisations and accredited diplomatic staff, students and experts. 

Do you need a certificate to enter Switzerland?  

No. People vaccinated with Sinopharm or Sinovac are allowed to travel to Switzerland. Switzerland’s regulations for the Covid certificate are in line with European regulations. On the “Travelcheck” website of the federal government you can check who is allowed to enter Switzerland from which country, and who is subject to which regulations. 

Can you convert a foreign certificate into a Swiss Covid certificate? 

So far, no. Certificates issued by European Union and European Free Trade Agreement member states are recognised in Switzerland. Certificates from third countries such as the US were not accepted as of September 2021. 

How do you obtain a Swiss Covid certificate from abroad? 

Before you travel to Switzerland, you can apply for the Swiss Covid certificate from anywhere in the world. You can easily upload the required information as a photo file, scan or PDF.  

Where can you apply for the Swiss Covid certificate? 

All cantons issue Covid certificates to people who travel to Switzerland from abroad. The website addresses of the individual cantons are listed here.

In a transitional phase until October 24, all foreign vaccination certificates such as the WHO certificate will be valid to access facilities or events that require a Covid certificate. 

How do you obtain the certificate? 

The certificate is digital and can either be downloaded from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or Huawei App Gallery or sent to you as a PDF to download by email. 

How long does it take to receive the certificate? 

The turnaround time usually only takes a few days, however, it can take up to several weeks depending on the number of applications and clarifications needed. 

What do I need to apply for a Covid certificate? 

You can find more detailed information on the cantonal websites. 

You need the proof of full vaccination, i.e. your vaccination card, with the types of vaccine listed above. The following information is required: details of the vaccine, number of doses received, date of last vaccination, stamp, and signature. 

If you have recovered from Covid and have received one vaccination dose, you need proof that you have received a vaccination that is approved in Switzerland as well as a laboratory-analytical proof of a positive PCR test. 

How long is the Swiss Covid certificate valid? 

Certificates for people who have been vaccinated are valid for 365 days from receiving the vaccination. For people who have recovered, certificates are valid for 180 days from the 11th day after having been tested positive. Certificates for people who have tested negative are valid for 48 hours for antigen tests and 72 hours for PCR tests.