Switzerland COVID – 19 Update

Effective 19 March, the labour market authorities will not review any work permit applications for third-country nationals or EU nationals on assignment until 16 June. Under certain circumstances and depending on the jurisdiction, residence/work permit (local contract) applications may still be possible for EU/EFTA nationals not coming/traveling from countries at risk (non-EU countries, Italy, France, Austria, Germany and Spain). However, the authorities are currently only handling urgent requests and those applications may therefore be reviewed only after the health crisis.

Renewal applications for foreign nationals who reside in Switzerland are still being accepted. Renewal applications are however not considered as urgent matters and may therefore be considered only after the health crisis. Effective 18 March, the government has extended its entry restrictions to people arriving from Spain. Entry restriction measures are now extended to air traffic coming from Italy, France, Germany, Austria and to all non-Schengen countries (previously only road traffic).

The Federal Council has in addition stopped delivering Schengen visas (visas type C) and national visas (visas type D) to non-EU citizens, for a period initially fixed to three months. These persons won’t be allowed to enter Switzerland except in exceptional situations (i.e. family members of Swiss nationals who are subject to visa obligation, health care specialists, etc.) The government has reintroduced border checks with Italy, Germany, France and Austria. Only Swiss citizens, Swiss residents and people traveling to Switzerland for business are allowed to enter the country via these borders.

All travelers in Switzerland should always carry the ID/passport together with the Swiss permit (if applicable) or with a proof of the working activities in Switzerland (invitation letter from the company in Switzerland, online work authorization, employment contract etc.) especially when crossing the borders. The Swiss Federal Railways are suspending international services . Some cantonal migration authorities (e.g. Geneva, Bern, Basel, etc.) and local migration offices have started closing their counters and remain available only for very specific urgent services. Longer processing times apply due to skeleton staff.

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