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The form you need to cross the Swiss border for family reasons

Whether you’re part of an unmarried couple or you’re crossing the border to see a non-immediate family member, you’ll need to fill in the following form to clear border controls.

The form you need to cross the Swiss border for family reasons
A picture taken on June 2, 2020 shows the closed border at Grand Saint Bernard pass. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

On May 18th, Swiss authorities announced that unmarried couples and non-immediate family members would be again allowed to cross into Switzerland with the relaxation of the country’s lockdown restrictions. 

The announcement applies only to residents of Switzerland, Germany and Austria, with the governments of each country putting in reciprocal arrangements to allow people to cross. 

For residents of other countries, they will be able to cross from June 15th onwards when border controls between Switzerland and all of its neighbours will be relaxed. 

As yet, agreement has been reached with all of Switzerland's neighbours other than Italy. However that is expected to take place before the 15th. 

Crossing during lockdown

While the lockdown restrictions were up, only citizens, residents, cross-border permit holders and immediate family members – i.e. married couples or parents and children – were allowed past border guards. 

To do so however, you’ll need to produce your passport and residency information at the border – along with a completed ‘self-declaration’ form which states the reason for travel. 

Note: the rules only apply at the countries’ land borders.

As one disappointed Swiss found out last weekend, air borders remain closed for unmarried and unregistered couples

Signs at the Italian-Swiss border. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

What form will I need? 

Known as a ‘self-declaration’ form, the document asks for basic identity details as well as the reason for crossing the border. 

The form can be filled in online but will need to be printed and signed. The form is only available in German, French and Italian, but English speakers can fill out the form by following the guide below. 

German version

French version

Italian version

The first section asks for your name, date of birth, address and telephone number. 

The second section asks the person filling in the form to provide the reason for crossing the border. 

Three options are available: 1-To visit an unmarried partner, provided the relationship started before March 2020; 2-To visit other family members, including grandchildren, grandparents, siblings, step-siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc; 3-To attend family occasions such as weddings, funerals, and other religious celebrations. 

The third section asks for the name, address and telephone number of the person being visited – while the final section requires a signature. 

Those who make false declarations or abuse the rules “may be prosecuted under the law in the country concerned”, the SEM said.

“The public health requirements and recommendations valid in the relevant state will apply to those entering the country,” it added. 

For more information, click on the following links to the German, French, Italian and Austrian border authorities. 

Who is allowed to cross? 

Starting on May 16th, border restrictions between Switzerland, Germany and Austria have been eased, allowing couples, who have been separated on the opposite sides of the border since the state of emergency was declared in mid-March, to meet again.

“Thanks to the positive developments regarding the coronavirus pandemic, reflected in a sharp drop in the number of infections, Germany, Austria and Switzerland have decided to lift the travel restrictions that currently apply to unmarried couples in cross-border relationships,” State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) announced on its website.

Restrictions are also lifted for people visiting relatives or attending weddings or funerals, or who own a property in a neighbouring country, have to carry out agricultural work, or take care of animals.

As it states on the form, couples needed to be together before the lockdown measures were implemented in March of 2020. 

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HEALTH

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad
 

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