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Switzerland reopens to international students and travellers

Switzerland
Switzerland just made itself the most accessible country in Europe. Source: Luca Bettini/AFP

Switzerland is relaxing requirements to enter the country from June 26 onwards, joining Canada in welcoming fully-vaccinated international students without quarantine. The Swiss Federal Council approved this update for all visitors in and beyond the Schengen Area.

According to SchengenVisaInfo, travellers coming from within the Schengen Area do not have to quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status. Vaccinated individuals may pass through without a COVID-19 test, while unvaccinated individuals must still provide a negative test result. The Swiss Federal Council maintains that every traveller must still provide their contact details.

Switzerland has adopted the European Union (EU) COVID-19 vaccination certificate. It is also in the process of getting its own Swiss certificate recognised by the EU. Naturally, international students would still need a valid student visa to enter the country — which means you have to first be accepted by a university there.

Switzerland

The EHL Hospitality Management School of Lausanne attracts students from all over the world. Source: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Can students from high-risk countries enter Switzerland?

According to Reuters, COVID-19 cases in Switzerland are on the decline. Approximately 39.1% of the country’s population has been vaccinated so far. The same news agency reports that cases are still rising in the UK, which is the largest higher education hub in the region.

Having revised the list of high-risk countries, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) now welcomes travellers and students from the US, Albania, and Serbia. It’s important to note that citizens and travellers from high-risk countries are not barred. Instead, you may even enter Switzerland without quarantine or testing if you have been vaccinated against or recovered from COVID-19.

Nevertheless, non-vaccinated students from high-risk countries may still enter Switzerland after undergoing test and quarantine. According to the Swiss health authorities, “the vaccines used in Switzerland are only slightly less effective against the Delta variant and thus still offer a very high level of protection.”

As of right now, Switzerland recognises Brazil, India, Canada, Nepal, South America, and the UK as high-risk countries because they have worrying COVID-19 variants. The relaxation of its border restrictions — some of the most accommodating in the EU today — should excite international students who have been waiting to get in. Approximately 20% of university students in Swiss institutions come from abroad.