Update on Swiss travel restrictions: Switzerland implements first easing of the measurements
The following initial steps to ease the lockdown on movement of people will come into effect on 11 May 2020:
On 29 April the Federal Council communicated their plan to gradually relax the travel restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. As of the 11 May 2020, all work permit applications submitted before 25 March 2020 that have been put on hold due to the travel ban will be processed again to reduce the backlog. Also, family reunifications for dependents of Swiss nationals and EU/EFTA nationals can be approved. The border controls and all other travel restrictions will remain in place. The Federal Council has tasked the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) with preparing these measures to ease the lockdown.
- The authorities will process all applications for L, B and G permits and online notifications for EU/EFTA nationals submitted before the 25 March 2020 that have been set on hold by the authorities.
- The authorities will process all applications for L, B and G permits and online notifications for non-EU/EFTA nationals, submitted before 19 March 2020 that have been set on hold by the authorities.
- New online notifications will be processed again in accordance with the usual terms of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons provided the work is based on a written contract signed before 25 March 2020. This applies both for local hires and service providers.
- Non-EU/EFTA nationals with a visa authorization, who could not apply for a visa because of the travel restrictions, should be able to apply for their entry-visa at the Swiss representation abroad.
- Family reunifications for dependents of Swiss citizens are possible. The same applies also for dependents of EU/EFTA nationals in Switzerland.
- The current border controls will continue. Additional border crossings will be opened in order to avoid excessive waiting times. Flights from abroad will still only be able to land at Zurich, Geneva or Basel airports so that sufficient border controls can be made.
Furthermore, please note the following important points for border crossing to Switzerland based on the current Directive of the State Secretariat for Migration, 1 May 2020:
- Employees on an Online Registration may cross the border to Switzerland earliest 1 day in advance of their first work day.
- Holders of a confirmation of residence and work permit (120 day / 4 months permit, L-/B-permit) may enter Switzerland no earlier than 3 days before the date of validity of the corresponding confirmation.
- Holders of cross-border permit (G-permit) who can identify themselves with a copy of the permit (ZEMIS print-out) can also be permitted entry as long as they are still able to carry out their activities in Switzerland
- A travel document (passport or ID) is still considered as a valid travel document even if it's expired since 1 March 2020
- In case of a Schengen Overstay due to COVID-19, no further sanctions should be imposed.
- Persons who already have a visa issued by Switzerland, but who cannot use it due to travel restrictions because of Corona, can be granted a follow-up visa under the following conditions
- A new visa application needs to be filed
- The documents must clearly show that the trip is a substitute trip, i.e. the same travel purpose and duration
- This exemption shall apply only between 15 March and 30 September 2020
The measures implemented by the Federal Council aim to reduce the backlog of currently pending applications with the authorities. This will help to avoid additional processing time once further Covid-19 travel restrictions are lifted and work permit applications can be submitted again. Furthermore, the option of using the online notification for work based on a written contract signed before 25 March 2020 allows a first, limited group of employees to start travelling again to Switzerland for work.
If you would like to discuss more on this topic, please do reach out to our key contacts below.
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