COVID-19: Partial lifting of travel restrictions


As the management of the containment of the virus improves in Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Council is gradually relaxing the rules governing access to Swiss territory.

When it comes to Schengen States

Restrictions and controls at the internal borders of the Schengen area have been lifted since the 15th  June. This allows the free movement of persons to be fully restored between EU/EFTA members and the United Kingdom. However, the situation is quite different when it comes to non-EU nationals.

Concerning non-EU citizens

Restrictions applied to the admission of non-EU workers during the pandemic (i.e. outside the EU/EFTA) were lifted as of July 6th. Foreign skilled workers are again subject to the labour priority system, annual quota and strict admission conditions. Jobs in the fields of tourism and culture will be accessible to non-EU workers, as they were before the coronavirus crisis.

Additionally, non-active non-EU nationals such as pensioners, are again eligible to obtain a residence permit in order to stay more than 90 days in Switzerland, subject to the usual conditions applied by the relevant cantons.

However, some foreign nationals will not yet be able to come to Switzerland to spend their holidays, follow a short-term training or a medical treatment. The ban on visits without any authorization for a maximum of 90 days is maintained, unless absolute necessary.

As far as possible, Switzerland intends to lift the latter gradually and in coordination with the other Schengen states, depending on the development of the pandemic in non-EU countries. The lifting may happen even before the 6th July, for certain countries, when possible.

The list of countries allowed from the 1st July and approved by the European Commission are: Algeria, China, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Finally, the Swiss government reserves itself the right to adopt, at any time and based on the Epidemics Act, health measures at the borders applicable to all non-EU foreigners entering the Swiss territory.

06/07/2020 - Sophia Ouadouri, Legal Expat

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