|⚠️ 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 2021||From 4 Dec 2021|
|Pre-departure test||N/A||PCR within 72h of departure^|
|Day 4-7||N/A||ART/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.
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.
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.
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 2021||From 3 Dec 2021|
|Pre-departure test||ART/PCR within 2 days||ART/PCR within 2 days|
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.
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.
|Within 2 days before departure||On or after 5 Dec 21||Pre-departure ART/PCR|
|1 (arrival)||7 Dec 21||On-arrival PCR (for VTL-Air) or ART (for VTL-Land)|
|2||8 Dec 21||Unsupervised ART|
|3||9 Dec 21||Supervised ART|
|4||10 Dec 21||Unsupervised ART|
|5||11 Dec 21||Unsupervised ART|
|6||12 Dec 21||Unsupervised ART|
|7||13 Dec 21||Supervised 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|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||72h before departure (PCR)||From S$107|
|🇨🇭 Switzerland||Day 4-7|
|🇨🇭 Switzerland||2 days before departure (ART/PCR)||Varies|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||On arrival at Changi (PCR)||S$125|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Day 2 (ART)||S$5|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Day 3 (Supervised ART)||S$15|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Day 4 (ART)||S$5|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Day 5 (ART)||S$5|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Day 6 (ART)||S$5|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Day 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)
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.