As an additional step in the fight against COVID-19, Switzerland closed around 130 borders on Tuesday 17 March 2020 and is channeling entry via the bigger borders only.
Travel restrictions for Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Spain
Only Swiss citizens as well as persons who have to travel to Switzerland for professional reasons or who otherwise have to enter the country for exceptionally urgent and necessary reasons are allowed to enter by air or land from the five Schengen countries Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Spain. Even though Liechtenstein borders Switzerland, entry from the country is not yet restricted as Liechtenstein and Switzerland share the same customs region.
Transit and transportation of goods is still permitted.
No entry visas to be issued for the next three months
With a few exceptions, entry at the Schengen external borders is strictly prohibited. Switzerland is thus following the practice of the other Schengen countries. This essentially means that Switzerland will no longer issue Schengen visas for 90 days or until further notice.
National visas (i.e. visas for stays of more than 90 days) for nationals subject to visa requirements are also only issued in exceptional cases. Exceptions relate to family members of Swiss citizens who are subject to a visa and have been granted permission for a Swiss residence permit, as well as specialists from the health sector.
Q&A – what does it mean for you?
Can people still enter Switzerland for work purposes?
Yes. Although most companies have ordered employees to work from home, some companies may still require their employees to be present (health sector, production of goods, etc.). If you hold a valid work permit for Switzerland, you are still permitted to enter for work reasons. It is recommended that your employer issues a letter confirming the necessity of your travel to your work place.
Are visits to family and friends in Switzerland allowed?
It depends. If you are entering from one of the above mentioned five countries, your entry to Switzerland will most likely be denied for the time being.
If you require a Schengen visa to enter Switzerland, no Schengen visas will be issued for the next three months.
If the points above do not apply, entry may be permitted for now. However, restrictions can be extended at any time. In general, any non-essential travel should be avoided as new travel restrictions can be enacted anytime and channeling of entry at certain border points can lead to big delays.