For members


Travel: What are Switzerland’s Covid test requirements?

Almost everyone arriving in Switzerland will need to complete at least one Covid test. Here’s what you need to know.

A person receives a Covid test
What are Switzerland's Covid testing requirements? Photo: Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP

Please note, the testing rules were changed again on December 20th. Here’s what you need to know. 

On Saturday, December 4th, Switzerland changed its entry rules, scrapping the ten-day quarantine requirement in favour of a testing scheme. 

Those already in quarantine are immediately free to go since December 4th, but must do the day four to seven test (see below). 

Unlike the previous quarantine requirement which only applied to countries on Switzerland’s virus variant list, the PCR test applies to almost all arrivals. 

READ MORE: Switzerland to scrap quarantine requirement for all arrivals

What are the new rules? 

Under the new rules, everyone arriving in Switzerland must show a negative PCR test upon arrival. The test must be no more than 72 hours old. 

Those travelling via plane will also need to show the test before boarding. 

Arrivals will then need to take another PCR or antigen test, between four and seven days after arriving. 

Those who are staying less than four days do not need to do this.

You need to communicate your test results to the canton. Cantonal contact details are available here. 

What are the exceptions? 

There are several exceptions to the testing rule. People under the age of 16 do not need to be tested. 

People who have recovered from the virus in the past month – and have proof – do not need to provide a PCR test, but must have no symptoms and provide a negative antigen test. More info is available here

Arrivals who are transiting through Switzerland via air or land do not need to provide a test result. 

The requirement applies to arrivals from all countries and applies regardless if you have Swiss citizenship, residency or if you do not. 

People from border regions however will not need to comply. Border regions are defined as follows: 

Germany: State of Baden-Württemberg and State of Bavaria.

France: Regions Grand-Est, Bourgogne / Franche Comté and Auvergne / Rhône-Alpes.

Italy: Piedmont, Aosta Valley, Lombardy and Trentino / South Tyrol regions.

Austria: Land Tirol and Land Vorarlberg.

Territories in Liechtenstein: entire Principality

Where can I get a test – and how much do they cost? 

Fortunately, testing is common place in cities, towns and villages throughout Switzerland, while most airports and major transport hubs also have testing facilities. 

Pharmacies, general practitioners and hospitals have testing facilities, while private facilities also exist across the country. 

While PCR tests are required to enter, the day four to seven tests can either be PCR or antigen (lateral flow) tests. Self tests are not sufficient. 

Depending on the provider, PCR tests cost approximately CHF 110 (€100), or CHF 195 (€175) for rapid PCR tests. 

Antigen tests cost approximately CHF 45 (€ 40). 

The costs of all tests need to be covered by the travelling/arriving/returning person, regardless of citizenship status. 

Official information is available from the Swiss government here. 

What happens if I arrive without a PCR test? 

The Swiss government notes that you will be asked by airline providers for your PCR test before you board, so the chance you arrive without a test is unlikely. 

However, if you do arrive without a PCR test and are required to have one, you will be liable for a 200CHF fine. 

“The person must also be tested immediately after entering the country and inform the canton,” the government said in a statement

Therefore, not only will you have to pay the fine, but also for a PCR test in Switzerland, which is likely to be much more expensive than in your country of departure. 

Member comments

  1. Can I please ask – did you actually get someone to confirm that a test is NOT required for transit by land? If so who? Because the official Swiss bag.admin site says yes and no at least 3 times. This is a HUGE issue for thousands of skiers about to land in the coming weeks at Geneva to immediately cross into the French Alps. This is an example of the contradictions on their FAQ on this exact point:

    “I’m only staying in Switzerland for a very short time. Do I still have to get tested to enter the country?

    When you enter Switzerland you have to show the result of a negative PCR test done not more than 72 hours previously. This applies regardless of how long you’re staying in the country. If you’re transiting Switzerland without a stopover you don’t have to show a test result on entry.”

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For members


Most PCR tests no longer free in Switzerland

As the quarantine obligation for contact persons was lifted from Thursday, Swiss government will continue to cover only a limited number of tests.

Only certain people, like elderly care home residents, will continue to have free PCR tests. Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG/ AFP
Only certain people, like elderly care home residents, will continue to have free PCR tests. Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG/ AFP

Before the new rule went into effect Wednesday at midnight, the government paid for PCR screening for contact persons — those who live with or had “regular and close” contact with someone who tested positive. 

Under the previous framework, anyone who had close contact with a Covid-positive person was required to isolate for five days. 

But since these contacts are no longer required to quarantine, their PCR tests are not covered.

However, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), there are a range of exceptions.

The government will continue to pay costs of screening for certain groups of people, including those living in elderly care facilities, hospital patients and healthcare workers, as well as people who are at a particularly high risk, such as those undergoing chemotherapy.

All the others will have to pay for their tests themselves; prices for PCR tests range from 110 to 195 francs, depending on the screening location and rapidity of results.

The Federal Council announced the lifting of contact quarantine on February  2nd, along with the end of the home-working obligation.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Swiss to end quarantine and working from home obligation from Wednesday

Other measures, like the Covid certificate requirement and restrictions on private meetings, could be scrapped from February 17th, provided Switzerland’s  epidemiological situation allows it.