Switzerland has recently announced that Indians who have been “fully vaccinated” with Current Health Expenditure (CHE), European Union (EU), and World Health Organization (WHO) certified vaccines will be allowed to enter the country. What’s more, these travellers from India will not need to be quarantined upon arrival.
Although the country does not require such travellers to have negative RT-PCR findings, the airline you fly to the land of the Alps may demand you to have one. Direct flights between India and Switzerland are not available due to the lack of an air bubble agreement between the two countries. This will necessitate a stopover in a third country which may insist on passengers to be in possession of a Covid negative test result to board the flight.
The Swiss Federal Council has begun the process of accepting visas for India and a number of other nations, according to the Swiss Embassy in New Delhi.
The embassy said, “The Embassy of Switzerland in New Delhi is currently accepting all visa categories for persons coming from third countries such as India…who can prove that they have been fully vaccinated.”
Travelers who are not fully vaccinated with Current Health Expenditure (CHE), European Union (EU), and World Health Organization (WHO) certified vaccines and do not have free movement rights are not permitted to enter Switzerland, according to the Swiss Federal Council.
“Entry restrictions continue to apply to foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated with CHE, EU and WHO recognized vaccines and are without rights of free movement, entering from risk countries or regions and who do not belong to any of the exceptional categories of the COVID-19,” the embassy said in a statement.
One important problem for Indians remains: neither Covaxin nor Covishield qualify for the European Union’s “Green Pass.”
There could be restrictions on travel from Switzerland to other EU countries. While Covishield from the Serum Institute of India has been authorised by the WHO, it has yet to be included to the list of approved vaccinations for the EU’s “Green Pass,” which will be necessary for travel to and within the EU beginning next month. Covaxin has yet to be approved by the World Health Organization.
The EU COVID Vaccination Passport will be issued to those who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus with any one of the four vaccines: Comirnaty (BioNTech, Pfizer); Moderna; Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, Oxford); or Janssen (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, Oxford) or Janssen (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, Oxford (Johnson & Johnson). At this time, travelers who have received the Covishield vaccine, made by Pune-based SII, will not be eligible for the European Union’s ‘Green Pass’.
However, Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla stated on Monday that he will take this subject to the highest level possible, adding, “Hope to resolve this matter soon, both with regulators and at a diplomatic level with countries.”
Meanwhile, the Swiss government has decided to temporarily raise the service charge for visa applications, according to the embassy.
“It’s decided to temporarily increase the service fee for Visa applications in Visa Application Centers (VAC) of External Service Providers (ESP) due to supplementary expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Embassy added.