COVID VACCINATIONS FOR TRAINEES – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
VACCINATION PASSPORTS ARE CONTROVERSIAL
BUT DO YOU NEED ONE?
We know that the vaccination programme has led to a debate in the UK and elsewhere about so-called Covid passports.
But whichever side of the Covid passport debate you’re on, the simple fact is that having a vaccination makes travel simpler and that’s especially true for travel to Switzerland.
Please note, you don’t have to have a Covid vaccination to join a Peak Leaders course – although we would like to know you status simply so we can plan for dealing with any cases as the isolation procedure would change.
And please remember the the rules can change rapidly – this post was written in the summer of 2021, see the date above.
WHERE DO THE SWISS STAND ON VACCINES?
The Swiss position is dead simple.
If you are coming from inside the EU then you can pretty much travel across the internal Schengen borders no problem – with or without a vaccination passport.
In fact, if you are already in the EU you can pretty much stop reading now.
But if you are coming from outside the EU and Schengen area and from a country that doesn’t have a “variant of risk” there are two scenarios:
1. Double-jabbed or Covid passport
Easy. No quarantine. You can come in and don’t need to prove anything other than vaccination – although you might need tests for travel for your airline etc. Please check this direct with your travel company.
2. Not vaccinated or no Covid passport
This means you might need to quarantine but can still enter, however you currently need a “reason for travel” to be allowed though border control.
HANG ON – WHAT’S A ‘VARIANT OF RISK’?
This is important – a Variant of Risk is essentially just a Covid-19 variant that is prolific in your country of departure that they cannot (yet) be sure Swiss vaccines will work against.
The UK was judged to have a Variant of Risk until recently when it was decided the Swiss Vaccine programme could deal with the variant so the UK came off that list.
And it changes all the time.
If your nation joins that risk list then quarantine usually comes into play.
WHAT’S A REASON FOR TRAVEL?
Well, if you’re vaccinated a reason for travel is pretty must anything – education, holidays, work…
But if you aren’t vaccinated the Swiss migration office supply a list. The significant bits are:
Who can enter Switzerland?
Even if you are arriving from a high-risk country, you can still enter Switzerland if you meet at least one of the following requirements:
- You have Swiss citizenship.
- You hold a travel document (e.g. a passport or identity card) and:
• a Swiss residence permit
• an assurance of a residence permit
The actual list is very long and details all the different permits so we’ve shortened it here.
But the key thing is that you need to be Swiss or hold a residency permit.
High risk countries are generally nations outside the EU that don’t have an exceptionally low Covid rate – the Migration office (SEM) updates this list every few weeks.
HOW DO I GET A RESIDENCY PERMIT?
As this is Switzerland you get one by completing a load of paperwork and there are some costs involved…
But, of course, you need to be eligible and most permits are aimed at EU nationals.
However, we have been working very closely with the Commune and Canton here in Valais to confirm the restrictions on getting a permit – especially after Brexit.
The short answer (and it’s an answer that has a lot of caveats) is that you can apply for a student permit even if you are non-EU.
In fact some trainees will apply for a student permit as it allows a stay of over 90 days in Switzerland for non-EU nationals.
But if your choose this permit route you need to plan well in advance and we will need to work with you closely to get all the paperwork lined up so you have “an assurance of a residence permit” to provide at the border.
WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?
If you want to find out more about the permit option please get in touch.
Needless to say, getting the vaccine is the simplest and lowest cost and lowest admin solution for travel.
But wherever you are travelling from and whether or not you are vaccinated, we urge you to keep a very close eye on the developments as your course approaches.