May 5, 2020

Switzerland: Relaxation of Coronavirus led entry restrictions

In response to a perceived decline in the number of new cases and a drop in the daily number of fatalities linked to the Coronavirus, some governments have reviewed lockdown restrictions and commenced a gradual relaxation of the controls in place. However, while they may be considering permitting an increase in movement of people within the country, they are typically not opening up their borders and many countries have extended their entry bans for further weeks to come.

Contrary to this, Switzerland is leading the way in reviewing their entry restrictions and has considered how the ban will gradually be lifted.

What has changed?

From May 11th, 2020, Switzerland will put the following measures into effect:

  • Cantons will commence processing all applications for residence permits and cross-border commuter permits submitted before the implementation of entry restrictions on March 25th for workers from EU or EFTA member states. This will also be applicable for short term deployment notifications and cross-border services provided for a maximum of 90 days per year.
  • New notifications for cross-border services will be processed in accordance with the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons, provided the service provision is based on a written contract signed before March 25th, 2020.
  • Individuals from third national countries who had already received their permit to work in Switzerland but were not granted a visa because of the restrictions imposed on entry, are now permitted to enter.
  • Applications to employ persons from third countries submitted before the restrictions came into effect (March 19th) will now be processed. They will be approved provided the provisions of the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act are met and the individual can actually take up the position.
  • Family reunification applications for family members of Swiss citizens will recommence. The same applies for family members of citizens from EU/EFTA states living in Switzerland.
  • Current border controls will remain in place, however additional crossings will be opened up in order to alleviate excessive waiting times. Incoming flights will still only be able to land at Zurich, Geneva or Basel airports so that sufficient border controls can be made.
  • All other border control restrictions remain in place at present. 

What to expect / impact?

Switzerland will begin to implement several measures from May 11th. The Federal Council has also suggested that as of June 8th, further easing may take place if the pandemic situation permits it by opening up the processing of applications for all employees from EU and EFTA states and reactivating the requirement to give notification of job vacancies which was previously suspended.

For further information on whether the relaxation in restrictions could impact your employees relocating to Switzerland, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team. 


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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