Foreign travel advice

Switzerland

Important COVID-19 travel guidance

Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not leave home or travel, including internationally, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. Check the rules that apply to you in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you intend to travel to England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.

Before you return to the UK you must provide your journey and contact details. You must self-isolate when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland, unless you have a valid exemption.

If you are legally permitted to travel abroad, check our advice on your country of destination. Some other countries have closed borders, and may further restrict movement or bring in new rules including testing requirements with little warning.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You will require a valid passport or other travel document to enter Switzerland.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Travelers from the UK are not permitted entry to Switzerland. UK nationals and other non-Swiss nationals arriving from a “high risk-country” or outside the Schengen area are not permitted entry to Switzerland. Only the following categories of people are permitted entry:

  • Swiss and Liechtenstein nationals;

Holders of the following documents:

  • a residence permit, i.e. a Swiss residence permit (L / B / C / Ci permits);
  • a cross-border permit (G permit),
  • an FDFA legitimation card;
  • a D visa issued by Switzerland;
  • Holders of a ‘laissez passer’ issued by a Swiss representation in cases of ‘individual special necessity’.

Further information and a list of ‘high risk countries’ can be found on the website of the State Secretariat of Migration.

These restrictions do not apply to UK nationals who are legally resident in Switzerland; you will need to show proof of residence. These restrictions do not apply to UK nationals who are travelling from other Schengen countries.

If you do not hold a residence permit, or do not have your permit with you but are resident in Switzerland, or are otherwise exempted, you will need to apply for a ‘laissez passer’ from the Swiss Embassy in London.

Quarantine

Anyone arriving in Switzerland from the United Kingdom, regardless of nationality, is required to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of arrival. Further information is available from the Federal Office for Public Health

Travellers entering Switzerland who have visited certain countries within the past 10 days are also required to quarantine. The full list of countries which are currently subject to quarantine is available on the website of the Federal Office of Public Health.

Transiting via Geneva Airport to France

For travellers coming from the UK it is not currently possible to transit Geneva Airport to enter France unless you hold a residence or cross-border permit for Switzerland. A French residence permit will not allow travellers to enter Switzerland for onward travel to France

You should also check our Travel Advice for France.

Transit

If you are transiting Switzerland, you are strongly advised to have your onward travel booked in advance and to have confirmed you meet the entry requirements of your destination country. You should also check the travel advice for any country that you will transit on the way back to the UK.

Further information is available on the website of the State Secretariat for Migration.

Entry into Switzerland from third countries (outside the EU/EEA and the UK)

Switzerland has lifted entry restrictions from some third countries. Further information is available on the website of the State Secretariat for Migration.

Helpline

Further advice for people travelling to Switzerland is available from an information line run by the Federal Office of Public Health on +41 58 464 44 88 (5am – 10pm GMT). Assistance is available in German, French, Italian and English.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:

  • you can travel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training.
  • if you are travelling to Switzerland and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sure your whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countries within the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days.
  • to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Swiss government’s entry requirements. Check the Swiss Embassy what type of visa and/or work permit, if any, you may need.
  • if you stay in Switzerland with a visa or permit, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit.

There are separate requirements for those who are resident in Switzerland. If you are resident in Switzerland, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see our Living in Switzerland guide.

Passport validity

Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.

You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).

If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.

Customs regulations

For information and advice about Swiss customs regulations, visit the official website of the Federal Customs Administration.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Switzerland.

Working in Switzerland

If you intend to work in Switzerland, you should get detailed information on employment regulations from the State Secretariat for Migration.