Switzerland VTL: Pre-departure test and Day 4 testing now required for Singaporeans

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Switzerland now requires all arrivals to take a PCR test within 72 hours of departure, as well as a further ART/PCR test on Day 4-7.

⚠️ Update: From 20 December 2021, Switzerland has updated its testing requirements. ART results (taken within 24 hours of departure) are now acceptable, and there is no more Day 4 testing for fully vaccinated individuals. For more details, refer to this article. 

Switzerland has announced an update to its border restrictions and testing requirements, and while it’s good news for travellers from countries like the UK (who no longer need to quarantine), it’s less ideal for travellers from Singapore.

From 4 December 2021, all international arrivals must now take a pre-departure PCR test, as well as an additional ART/PCR test between day 4 to 7 of their stay in Switzerland.

At its meeting, the Federal Council also amended the rules on entry. With effect from Saturday, 4 December, there will be no countries on the quarantine list.

In order to continue to prevent the new Omicron variant from entering the country as far as possible, a stricter testing regime will now apply for all arrivals into Switzerland. This testing requirement also applies to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from the disease. In addition to taking a PCR test before travelling, a second test (PCR test or rapid antigen test) must be carried out between the fourth and seventh day after arrival. This test ensures that infected persons who have contracted the virus shortly before or during travel are detected. Test costs must be borne by the traveller.

Switzerland adds PDT and Day 4 testing

⚕️ Testing Regime for Travel to Switzerland
 Before 4 Dec 2021From 4 Dec 2021
Pre-departure testN/APCR within 72h of departure^
Day 4-7N/AART/PCR between Day 4 to 7^
^Children aged 15 and below exempt

From 4 December 2021, all travellers to Switzerland must satisfy the following requirements:

  • be fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine
  • complete an entry form 48 hours prior to arrival
  • present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure for Switzerland

Antigen tests are not accepted, and children aged 15 and below are exempt from the pre-departure testing requirement. 

Travellers who are staying in Switzerland for four days or more must take an ART or PCR test between Day 4-7. Again, children aged 15 and below are exempt from this testing requirement.

The results must be reported to the relevant canton within two days of the test, quoting the reference number generated upon completing the entry form.

For avoidance of doubt, you can combine this Day 4-7 test with the pre-departure test required to return to Singapore on the VTL- just make sure your results certificate has your name and passport number on it. 

A list of FAQs regarding the entry requirements can be found here. It’s somewhat amusing to see how causally they’ve worded it; one of the FAQs literally reads “So altogether two tests are required to enter Switzerland. That’s a lot of hassle…”

A pre-departure test in Singapore starts from S$107, and you can read about discounts and express testing options in the article below. 

Cheapest pre-departure COVID-19 ART/PCR tests in Singapore

VTL testing requirements have been tightened

If you’re planning to travel to Switzerland (or any other VTL country for that matter), you’ll also face stricter testing requirements on return to Singapore.

As a reminder, Singapore tightened its VTL testing regime for arrivals from 3 December 2021 onwards, and will further tighten it from 7 December 2021 onwards.

From 3 December 2021

From 3 December 2021, travellers arriving on the VTL scheme need to undergo supervised, self-administered ART swabs at a Quick Test Centre on Days 3 and 7 of their arrival (the day you enter Singapore counts as Day 1).

 Before 3 Dec 2021From 3 Dec 2021
Pre-departure testART/PCR within 2 daysART/PCR within 2 days
On arrivalPCRPCR
Day 3N/AART
(new)
Day 7N/AART
(new)

These must be done by 2130 hours (Singapore time) on the relevant days, and instructions will be emailed to travellers on arrival in Singapore.

There is no need to isolate while awaiting the results of the Day 3 and 7 ART swabs (which will anyways be rather fast, given they’re the ART variety). These tests will cost S$15 each, and must be done at one of the venues below.

QTC/CTC Locations
Book Appointment

Children aged 2 and below in this calendar year are not required to undergo Day 3 and Day 7 ARTs. Children aged 3 to 12 must be accompanied by a caregiver, aged 21 years old and above. The caregiver may be required to help administer the test if the child is unable to do so.

There is no requirement that you stay in Singapore for at least seven days between your trips. You are excused from testing if the scheduled time of departure of your flight is before 2130 hours on the day of test.

From 7 December 2021

From 7 December 2021, travellers arriving on the VTL scheme will be put on a daily testing regime over seven days using ART.

☝️ What about entry before 7 December?
Travellers who have entered Singapore between 3 December 2021 and 6 December 2021 (inclusive) are not required to undergo the self-administered ARTs on Days 2, 4, 5 and 6 of their arrival, but will continue to be required to take the supervised self-administered ARTs at QTCs or CTCs on Days 3 and 7 of their arrival.

This includes the Day 3 & 7 supervised swabs mentioned above, as well as Day 2, 4, 5 and 6, unsupervised swabs, done at home. These must be done before going out for activities on that day. 

Travellers must submit their results from Days 2, 4, 5 and 6 online using a link which will be emailed to them on arrival. Needless to say, the authorities will take a very dim view towards missing a submission- play stupid games, win stupid prizes. 

Here’s an illustrative testing regime, for a traveller arriving in Singapore on 7 December 2021. 

DayDateTest
Within 2 days before departureOn or after 5 Dec 21Pre-departure ART/PCR 
1 (arrival)7 Dec 21On-arrival PCR (for VTL-Air) or ART (for VTL-Land)
28 Dec 21Unsupervised ART
39 Dec 21Supervised ART
410 Dec 21Unsupervised ART
511 Dec 21Unsupervised ART
612 Dec 21Unsupervised ART
713 Dec 21Supervised ART

All in all, a round-trip journey from Singapore to Switzerland will involve a total of 10 COVID-19 tests, of which eight can be the cheaper antigen variety (you could also combine the Day 4-7 test with the pre-departure one, depending on how long you’re staying)

⚕️ VTL Testing Regime
LocationRemarksPrice
🇸🇬 Singapore72h before departure (PCR)From S$107
🇨🇭 SwitzerlandDay 4-7
(ART/PCR)
Varies
🇨🇭 Switzerland2 days before departure (ART/PCR)Varies
🇸🇬 SingaporeOn arrival at Changi (PCR)S$125
🇸🇬 SingaporeDay 2 (ART)S$5
🇸🇬 SingaporeDay 3 (Supervised ART)S$15
🇸🇬 SingaporeDay 4 (ART)S$5
🇸🇬 SingaporeDay 5 (ART)S$5
🇸🇬 SingaporeDay 6 (ART)S$5
🇸🇬 SingaporeDay 7 (Supervised ART)S$15

Do note that ART swabs in Switzerland can be pricey, with Zurich Airport charging CHF75 (S$112) per person!

Singapore vaccination certificates to be recognised in Switzerland

Switzerland enforces a vaccine passport system, which requires proof of vaccination to access many public and private venues. 

The good news is that from 7 December 2021, Singapore vaccination certificates will be granted equivalency with the EUDCC. While Switzerland isn’t part of the EU, it nonetheless has full integration with the EUDCC system, making a Singapore vaccine certificate as valid as a Swiss one.

If you’re arriving in Switzerland prior to that, you can pay CHF30 for your certificate to be converted online (although the process takes up to 5 working days, so there probably isn’t much point)

Conclusion

Switzerland isn’t a cheap destination by any means, and the additional pre-departure PCR test  requirement will add at least S$107 to the cost of your trip. 

If you’re staying at least four days, you’ll need to do a further ART/PCR test as well, but the good news is that this can be combined with the pre-departure test for returning to Singapore. 

Testing requirements are getting more and more onerous thanks to the Omicron variant, and I don’t think we’ve heard the last of them. If you’re flying in the next couple of weeks, do pay close attention to the latest developments.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Hakuna Matata

If I fly to Germany (Munich) / France (Paris / Lyon), and then enter Switzerland by train, do I need pre-departure tests?

David

Yes. It does not matter from where you arrive. It’s default now for everyone entering Switzerland. But keep on checking the news, there is still some confusion about this whole topic and might change any time again for entry from other European counties (and even specific regions bordering to Switzerland

David

And also to note. Switzerland just changed the validity of their ART tests (only 24 hours now). I don’t know yet how that will impact the pre-departure test. Maybe safe to take it 24 hours before the flight only, not that the checking does not recognize it.

however ART are very easy to take in Switzerland and cost around 30-40CHF. I did mine 4 days ago and landed this morning back in Singapore with no issues at all.

SummerA

Same. Did a one in Lucerne for 37CHF (opp. the main train station) and one at Zurich main station for 25CHF last week. Swab stations are everywhere in switzerland – I didn’t have to look for one, just happened to pass by. Had to take the test because my application for the Swiss certificate wasn’t ready till Day-3 of my trip, so was using the negative results to dine in and enter venues. Was mentioned on another article on the site that the singapore certificates are granted equivalency but the scanning/QR code mechanism isn’t ready yet – I can testify… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by SummerA
Josparrow

Would the Day 4-7 ART tests be required if i’m leaving Switzerland for Italy on Day 4/5?

Ivy wang

I flying on 10/2 to 18/2 for Switzerland. May I know what test I need to go for Art?

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