Earlier this month, Switzerland tightened its testing regime by requiring international arrivals to take pre-departure PCR tests, as well as implementing additional COVID testing between days 4 to 7 after arrival.
Barely a few weeks later, the regime has been eased significantly. From 20 December 2021, antigen rapid tests (ARTs) taken within 24 hours of departure will be accepted for entry into Switzerland, and the day 4 to 7 test requirement will be scrapped for those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19.
After consulting the cantons, the Federal Council has also adapted the testing regime for entering the country, applicable from Monday, 20 December. In addition to PCR tests taken within the previous 72 hours, rapid antigen tests taken within the previous 24 hours will also be accepted for entering Switzerland.
The requirement to take a second test 4 to 7 days after entering the country will be waived for persons who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19.
-Swiss Federal Council
Pre-departure antigen tests now accepted
Currently, all travellers to Switzerland must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure for Switzerland. From 20 December 2021, Switzerland will accept ART results for pre-departure testing as well, taken within 24 hours of departure.
The pre-departure testing requirement applies to all travellers aged 16 or older, and does not apply to transit passengers.
Pre-departure antigen tests cost between S$21 to S$40 in Singapore, and if you’re pressed for time, you can even do an antigen test at Changi Airport just before flying at the Raffles Medical Clinic located at Terminal 3.
Antigen tests at Raffles Medical cost S$30, but by entering the promo code SIARMGART (you don’t need to be flying on SIA to use this code) during booking, you can save 10% for a nett cost of S$27.
Testing exemptions apply for cross-border commuters and people travelling to Switzerland from the border regions (unless they are entering via long-distance coach or plane).
The border regions are:
- Regions in Germany: Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria
- Regions in France: Grand-Est, Burgundy/Franche Comté and Auvergne/Rhône-Alpes
- Regions in Italy: Piemont, Aosta Valley, Lombardy and Trentino/South Tyrol
- Regions in Austria: Tyrol and Vorarlberg
- Regions in Liechtenstein: the whole Principality of Liechtenstein
In other words, you don’t need to take a pre-departure test if you’re travelling into Switzerland from one of these regions via train.
No more day 4 test for fully vaccinated or recovered individuals
Fully vaccinated or recovered individuals will no longer be required to take a further ART/PCR test between days 4-7 after entry (called the “day 4 test”).
Unvaccinated individuals will still need to do this test, with children below 16 again exempt.
Switzerland recognises the following COVID-19 vaccinations:
- Pfizer/BioNTech (BNT162b2 / Comirnaty® / Tozinameran)
- Moderna (mRNA-1273 / Spikevax / COVID-19 vaccine Moderna)
- AstraZeneca (AZD1222 Vaxzevria®/ Covishield™)
- Janssen / Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)
- Sinopharm / BIBP (SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (Vero Cell))
- Sinovac (CoronaVac)
|Swiss Entry Form|
Travellers to Switzerland must complete an entry form within 48 hours prior to arrival. This form requests contact details in for the purposes of contact tracing and ensuring the required tests have been done.
Cross-border commuters and people traveling to Switzerland from border regions (see above) are exempt from filling this form, provided they are not entering Switzerland by long-distance coach or plane.
Switzerland VTL: Overall testing regime
With the latest changes, here’s what the testing regime for round-trip travel to Switzerland will look like.
|⚕️ VTL Testing Regime|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||ART: 24h before departure|
PCR: 72h before departure
|🇨🇭 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|
For more information on the enhanced testing regime for VTL travellers to Singapore, refer to the article below.
Switzerland is now accepting ART results for pre-departure testing, with samples taken within 24 hours of departure. It has also scrapped the day 4 test requirement for fully vaccinated or recovered individuals.
Switzerland was never the cheapest of destinations to visit, so this should hopefully reduce the costs involved ever so slightly.
If you’re uncertain about what measures apply to you, the Swiss government has an online Travelcheck tool that will advise you accordingly.