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Switzerland for domestic tourism only?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I believe one way around the restrictions from high-risk countries (such as the UK) for people not entitled to freedom of movement is to transit through an airport in another country in the Schengen area that allows entry (such as Germany). The FAQ is clear that entry is not permitted only if the person stays in the international area, which wouldn't be the case as one would do passport control in Germany in this case.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@arturhoo, I would suggest that is a pretty risky strategy for a tourist trip. UK passport holders will be treated in the same way US, Chinese etc are now, subject to much more stringent checks. The passport officers will want to know where you are going (especially at the moment) and would likely to be well aware of the regulations in whatever country is your final destination. Travelling via Germany (or anywhere else) does not solve the issue especially as practically every other country (including Germany) would be in the "high risk" category.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
This is merely a thought exercise but do note that (1) Schengen countries are not in the high risk category, and (2) CH allows citizens without freedom of movement to enter the country from other Schengen countries provided they meet normal entry requirements.

In my case above, a US citizen having cleared passport controls in Sweden would be able to board a flight to Switzerland and enter the country lawfully. At least that’s my interpretation of the link I sent.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 9-12-20 0:11; edited 1 time in total
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arturhoo wrote:
This is merely a thought exercise but do note that (1) Schengen countries are not in the high risk category, and (2) CH allows citizens without freedom of movement to enter the country from other Schengen countries provided they meet normal entry requirements.

In my case above, a US citizen from having cleared passport controls in Sweden would be able to board a flight to Switzerland and enter the country lawfully. At least that’s my interpretation of the link I sent.


Pre-covid and pre-brexit I've flown extensively around Europe without ever showing a passport when I was living and the journey originating in Europe....slightly peculiar landing in a 'foreign' country and just walking through!
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Dravot wrote:


Pre-covid and pre-brexit I've flown extensively around Europe without ever showing a passport when I was living


That’s discrimination against zombies and vampires. Always having to show their passports.
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thunderer wrote:
jebroni3_16 wrote:
I got my first Irish passport a couple of months ago.

I live in UK, but does this mean I'll still be entitled to freedom of movement and to enter Switzerland after Dec 31st? Puzzled

I also have an Irish passport, which means you are a EU citizen.

And that supersedes / trumps where I'd actually be arriving from / resident in? (Birmingham, England in my case)
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@jebroni3_16, assuming the regulations quoted above are correct then as an EU citizen you can enter Switzerland even if you have previously been in a "high risk" area. It also does not matter where you enter Schengen eg if you travel via Germany though most countries have some sort of quarantine / test measures in place so you would need to show evidence of onward travel as generally there are health forms to fill in.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
jebroni3_16 wrote:
thunderer wrote:
jebroni3_16 wrote:
I got my first Irish passport a couple of months ago.

I live in UK, but does this mean I'll still be entitled to freedom of movement and to enter Switzerland after Dec 31st? Puzzled

I also have an Irish passport, which means you are a EU citizen.

And that supersedes / trumps where I'd actually be arriving from / resident in? (Birmingham, England in my case)


The quarantine rules apply from where you are flying from and have transited through (not your nationality), if that’s your question?
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I think I prefer @munich_irish's interpretation of the rules, @Themasterpiece

Still not entirely sure which of you is right though. Or whether you're actually in agreement!
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Having double-checked for myself, UK doesn't appear on list of countries that Switzerland requires to quarantine AND my Irish passport would appear to entitle me to freedom of movement from 1st January BUT as I'm resident in UK, I'm now assuming that the issue for me might be to do with travelling against Foreign Office advice of the country I'm resident in / have my travel insurance registered in.

And all this is also subject to change.
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@jebroni3_16, The regs quoted above mean EU & EEA citizens are treated the same as Swiss citizens (which is covered by the Swiss/EU & Schengen treaties) and currently no restrictions but that is subject to change. Issues to do with insurance are a different matter, people clearly are travelling but what level of insurance cover they have is difficult to know.
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I need to correct a part of my earlier post - I said that the UK is a high risk country re Switzerland entry.

That's not correct - at present, it is not.

Here is the Swiss list of high risk areas and countries:

https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/empfehlungen-fuer-reisende/quarantaene-einreisende.html#1918240392

So the Ordinance quoted currently does not apply to persons travelling from the UK. Of course the case rate can and does change, so the wider point about UK passport holders losing access to CH if the UK become high risk after Dec 31 stands:

" Section 2 Restrictions on Border Crossings and the Admission of Foreign Nationals
Art. 41 Border crossings and controls

1 Foreign nationals who wish to enter Switzerland from a high-risk country or from a high-risk region and who do not fall within the scope of the Agreement of 21 June 1992 between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Swiss Confederation, of the other part, on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) or the Convention of 4 January 19603 establishing the European Free Trade Association (EFTA Convention) shall be refused entry for a period of stay of up to three months that does not require a permit and does not involve gainful employment (Art. 10 of the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act of 16 December 20054 (FNIA))."
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I think there are a few items being mixed up here. Overall we will still be able to visit Switzerland post 1 Jan as long as the UK still has a better COVID position vs Switzerland (and of course the rules don’t all change!)

Firstly, will UK citizens be able to visit Switzerland. I understand that the UK will still be able to visit as tourists/business on a similar basis to what we have now. See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-switzerland

Second question - will people have to quarantine when they visit. This is to do with what country you are living in. See: https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/empfehlungen-fuer-reisende/quarantaene-einreisende.html

To summarise, the criteria for quarantine is set objectively - is the country measurable worse than Switzerland. The UK is not and so quarantine will not apply until that occurs.

[to quote:
Criteria for the list
The new infections per 100 000 inhabitants over the past 14 days are examined to determine whether a country or an area has an increased risk of infection, If the incidence in a country is at least 60 higher than the incidence in Switzerland, the country will be added to the list.

Since the epidemiological situation is constantly changing, this list is regularly updated to take account of the current incidences. Data from the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) is used to this end.]
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
An update to the announcement last night from the Swiss Federal authorities in today's le Nouvelliste clarifies the situation in relation to ski areas. In a Q&A, the President explicitly excludes ski areas as being intrinsically open-air activities, and thus not within the scope (or perhaps focus, to be more subtle) of the measures. There's also a response from the Valais top councillors that basically says they've already taken much more "draconian measures which have borne fruit" and criticises the national measures in terms of being inconsistent.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
As the person who started the latest iteration of this discussion about travel to Switzerland I hope I haven't confused the situation (or perhaps just myself!) further. My understanding remains that as from 1 January UK citizens will not be able to enter Switzerland (for tourist reasons at any rate). Covid restrictions are presently in place which limit entry to people from Schengen countries, EFTA countries, the UK and those listed in a specific Swiss ordinance. The reason the UK is in the category of countries whose citizens are permitted entry is (as I understand the position) because we are in the transition period. Once we are out of the transition period we will drop out of the permitted category and we will be treated like, for example, the US whose citizens cannot currently enter Switzerland save in very specific situations, of which skiing is sadly not one.

This is all quite distinct from the quarantine obligations which as has been rightly point out don't currently apply to the UK - in fact they don't currently apply to many countries at all.

I hope I am wrong but that's the position from what I can work out. Another poster above said he/she has spoken to the Swiss Embassy who has confirmed that this is indeed the case.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Not according to UK
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/switzerland/entry-requirements

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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Bob in CH - I think what you set out in your post would indeed be the rules if it wasn't for the additional Covid restrictions which Switzerland has imposed.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Interesting - the ordinance above appears to been replaced and there is now specific addition of the UK (on a different page https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classified-compilation/20201773/index.html#app1):

"What rules apply to persons from the EU/EFTA and the United Kingdom with rights of free movement?

For EU/EFTA and UK citizens, their family members, irrespective of their nationality, and providers of cross-border services who have rights of free movement, the requirements of the Agreement on Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) and the customary rules on its application apply. There are no corona-related restrictions on entry or admission."

This looks a little more hopeful for next year!
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@whollymoley, I was the one who spoke with the Swiss embassy in London, but to be fair I didn't ask that much about post-Brexit travel because I'm going in December. The woman on the phone only said that "things would change" after 31 Dec, and she explained that in December the entry rights for UK citizens was based on the Right To Free Movement given to EU citizens. So that answered my question and our conversation ended there.

Rather than speculate here, if anyone is considering travelling to Switzerland after 1 Jan, a quick call to the embassy would clear all of this up. They're very helpful and clear on the phone.
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oui4ski wrote:
Interesting - the ordinance above appears to been replaced and there is now specific addition of the UK (on a different page https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classified-compilation/20201773/index.html#app1):

"What rules apply to persons from the EU/EFTA and the United Kingdom with rights of free movement?

For EU/EFTA and UK citizens, their family members, irrespective of their nationality, and providers of cross-border services who have rights of free movement, the requirements of the Agreement on Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) and the customary rules on its application apply. There are no corona-related restrictions on entry or admission."

This looks a little more hopeful for next year!


Yes I also read that. It’s current so doesn’t confirm this is the post 31st position but there would be no reason to call out the UK if it wasn’t intended to cover post Brexit.
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The rules for entry post 31 December on the website (the UK government one). So unless things change (eg the Swiss change the rules perhaps due to cases or pressure) - then we are in the clear.
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@SkiingQuinHat, relying on a UK government website as to what the rules might be in another country does not seem sensible. If you have travel booked post 31.12.20 it would be a good idea to check with the Swiss authorities themselves. I suspect no one has even thought about this, in "normal" circumstances it is clear what would happen and no issue for short term UK visitors but if the regulations above are correct then UK citizens would be no different from US ones, who are currently generally not allowed into Switzerland. There was a recent agreement between the UK and Switzerland to allow citizens to work without work permits for short periods of time (only applies to Switzerland so wont save the French chalets) maybe that also covers tourist trips. It will not be the only potential problem to suddenly appear on 01.01.21
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If you want offical government source information for travel between th UK and Switzerland, I'd always suggest starting with:
and their linked pages. You can also sign-up for email alerts re CH:UK travel, which works well and were useful when were in CH August-September and the situation was fluid.

I've found the gov.uk, FOPH and Swiss Embassy pages to be surprisingly consistent. It is however, a bit of a faff to work through these thoroughly enough to be confident you understand the details fully. And of course, they are liable to change. However, I've found the Swiss Embassy site particularly good at covering questions that UK citizens, businesses and travellers are likely to be asking.
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As @oui4ski posted above (but I think he used the wrong link?) the Swiss site says the same thing as the UK site ie « « for EU/EFTA AND UK citizens.... There are no corona-related restrictions on entry or admission ».

So you’re all good Very Happy
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I decided to follow Diaphon's sensible advice and speak to the Swiss Embassy. The lady I spoke to went away to check and came back a couple of hours later to say......that there is no answer to this question yet. She has spoken to the Swiss immigration people to be told discussions were ongoing although a decision was expected very soon.

She said it was correct that, unless specific action is taken by the Swiss, as from 1 January the UK will fall out of the list of countries who are exempt from the current Covid restrictions preventing travel to Switzerland for tourist reasons. As I have posted earlier, tourist travel to Switzerland is currently restricted to Schengen countries, EFTA countries, the UK and a list of other specific countries who have a low incidence of Covid. But the only reason the UK is in that group of permitted countries is due to the fact it is in a transitional period and benefits from the free movement agreement between the EU and Switzerland. After 1 January that will end, hence the need for the Swiss to add the UK to its list of non-Schengen, non-EFTA countries if we are to be allowed to go to Switzerland to ski after 1 January whilst the current Swiss Covid restrictions are in force.

She was hopeful that given the level of tourist traffic from the UK to Switzerland something will be done to allow the UK continued travel rights but she could not say for certain at this stage. She said she will call me back when she knows more and I will then post here what I am told the position is.
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Just got a msg thru to say that the Five "free" (not really Free, but included as part of the price for my PdS pass) Verbier / 4V day passes cannot be used until after Jan 11th in order to reduce the number of people going there.
However I am very welcome to go there if a buy a day ticket Smile

BTW Even the Veigy border is unmanned still. I drove thru it at 7:30 AM, and will be going back thru it in about an hour.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I’ve got some flights booked in March. Not in the slightest worried about this I have to say! It will get sorted unless we are in a much worse place with covid (and then we won’t be going anyway).
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Some rumours coming out that the Verbier area will be required to limit chalet occupancy to 10 max.
Did anyone hear anything on this, if so any ideas on when it may come into effect, whether kids are excluded (if so, what ages), whether number of family groups is limited, how it will be enforced, etc...?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
The UK citizens issue post 01.01.21 seems to be an EU wide issue not just Switzerland see the Austria thread https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=4688177#4688177
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:
The UK citizens issue post 01.01.21 seems to be an EU wide issue not just Switzerland see the Austria thread https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=4688177#4688177


Yes, and probably a bigger issue. I can imagine Switzerland changing the rules to allow UK holiday travellers in this winter, less convinced that the EU will be motivated to do this before virus rates decline
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@whollymoley, glad you made the call to the embassy. They are the only definitive source of information on what is inevitably a rapidly changing situation.
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whollymoley wrote:

She was hopeful that given the level of tourist traffic from the UK to Switzerland something will be done to allow the UK continued travel rights but she could not say for certain at this stage. She said she will call me back when she knows more and I will then post here what I am told the position is.


Good work! The last bit sounds promising. The Swiss will certainly want to keep their borders open. Can see EU playing hard ball
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@BobinCH,
Our trip to Lech is planned for March, thank you

Good luck to you with waiting until 18 december until Swiss federal government deciding on skiresorts. (Just needing to wait until that late is a disgrace in itself, whether you’re pro or contra)
Good luck with the ‘Swiss liberal freak show’ (quote from a major Swiss newspaper)
Good luck with the ‘Swiss federal system cracking under the pandemic’ (quote from Swiss Federal Broadcast)
Good luck with 80% of Swiss intensive care occupied.
Good luck with Verbier being ‘surprised’ about the queues on there first day of opening.
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I can ski in Switzerland now.
The only thing preventing me is that my own government won't let me travel.
I don't see the Swiss end changing much.
Hopefully, the UK will eventually lift it's restriction.
And I too can start a new sentence on a new line.
Have fun in Lech.
Wherever that is.
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@jebroni3_16, I'm also Irish and in Birmingham! Following all this with interest.

I'm struggling to follow news reports at the minute as the UK press (understandably) aren't differentiating between what might apply to UK residents vs UK citizens.

@whollymoley, thanks for making that call. I'll keep an eye out for an update.

I've got plans to ski in France this winter, and am very much hoping at least a couple of trips will be possible. And if not, I'd still love to see some friends in Geneva (having lived there for a few years) - hopefully we'll have some positive noises soon.

Edit: Just reading an article linked in another post/thread, and the guardian does specify this:

Quote:
Under European rules, individuals can still enter the bloc in certain cases, mainly for work – including aid workers, care workers, diplomats, healthcare professionals, military personnel, seasonal farm workers and transport workers. Entry for study, transit, and urgent family reasons is also permitted.

European nationals living in the UK can still travel to the bloc.


https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/dec/09/uk-holidaymakers-could-be-barred-from-visiting-eu-under-covid-safety-rules
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@fixx, But how many flights will there be?
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@BoardieK, yep! No idea... I'm hoping still some flights to Geneva for 'business' reasons, although possibly a much reduced schedule.
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More restrictions for UK citizens visiting Switzerland after 1st January 2021 due to Brexit. There are new regulations for anyone visiting Switzerland who wants to bring their dog or cat with them (entry will only be possible at certain specified airports, so if my interpretation is correct you won't be able to drive into Switzerland in your car with your pet dog or cat), and the import of meat or of products containing meat, and the import of foods containing milk (cheese, etc.), will no longer be permitted in future, so if you're self catering you won't be able to bring in any meat or cheese in your luggage or vehicle: https://www.blv.admin.ch/blv/en/home/dokumentation/nsb-news-list.msg-id-81538.html
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Just had an email from Les Gets lift company to say Verbier will not be accepting the free day-passes issued with the purchase of a PdS season pass, until at least after Jan 11th. They say to limit numbers (how many people is that likely to be?), but more about not upsetting Macron (any more) I suspect...
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Well, it's a border. Which as things stand will be closed, so no transit across it. So it wouldn't be logical to accept a skipass that intrinsically meant the border has been illegally crossed. I would say it's more a case of applying international law and not giving the French any excuse to claim that Swiss resorts were encouraging illegal immigration. On the other hand, if French nationals hop on a 'plane to GVA the Swiss will have no issues giving them entry. If the French government wants to physically restrain French nationals from leaving the country, that's up to them to enforce, will be the line.
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