With COVID-19 still affecting and dominating our daily lives, and vaccination certificates now being compulsory for most indoor events in Switzerland, we would like to provide some clarification on the use and exchange of COVID-certificates, including such ones that have been issued outside of Switzerland. Additionally, we have some good news to share on a new social security agreement between the UK and Switzerland.
If you have been vaccinated abroad, e.g. in the UK and are in possession of a NHS vaccination certificate, you can apply for a Swiss COVID certificate if you were vaccinated with a vaccine that is approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). This concerns the following vaccines: Pfizer/BioNtech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. You must be resident in Switzerland, staying in Switzerland, or intend to enter Switzerland (i.e. tourism) in order to exchange your foreign certificate for a Swiss one. You must also be able to provide sufficient evidence of the vaccination performed abroad and your stay in Switzerland, and be able to prove your identity.
The cantonal health authorities are responsible for exchanging and issuing Swiss COVID certificates. To be issued with a COVID certificate, you should contact the cantonal authority in the canton where you are resident or temporarily residing. There is at least one competent body in every canton.
You can find more information and relevant contact details on the cantonal websites:
In a transitional phase until 10 October 2021, all foreign vaccination certificates for EMA-approved vaccines will be valid for access to events or facilities requiring a COVID certificate, including the NHS certificate or the yellow WHO booklet.
UK-CH Social Security Agreement
The UK and Switzerland have signed a landmark agreement which will benefit citizens who live and work abroad in either country. As the agreement will only come into force later in the year, it does not apply to any British nationals who have been resident in Switzerland before 31 December 2020. They are covered by the Citizens’ Rights Agreement. The Social Security Agreement covers the following benefits:
- UK and CH citizens living or working in either country can receive healthcare cover and an uprated state pension
- UK and CH citizens will have access to necessary healthcare when visiting either country (EHIC/GHIC)
- Supports business and trade by ensuring that cross-border workers and their employers are only liable to pay social security contributions in one state at a time
The Consular Section of the British Embassy Berne wishes everyone a very pleasant autumn season.