Coronavirus restrictions co-incide with Brexit meaning UK citizens will not be able to cross the border except for essential reasons. Norway already has a similar policy and as things stand the ban could be extended to all EU and Schengen countries. NEW

“If you are a UK national you may not enter Switzerland for non-essential travel (e.g. for the purpose of tourism) from 1 January 2021 for as long as the UK is categorized as a high-risk country by Switzerland.”

That’s the simply stated position by the Swiss government.

As things stand it means skiing and snowboarding in Switzerland, the only main alpine country currently open, will not be possible.

At the moment travel in Europe is permitted between EU countries and those in the Schengen area.

Once the UK ends its transition period from leaving the European Union the country will not be treated under those rules as it will neither be in the EU or Schengen.

Norway has already said UK people will be barred except for essential reasons as we reported earlier on PlanetSKI:

Norway Set to Ban People from the UK

There are serious questions now about whether similar restrictions will be put on people heading to the ski nations in the EU this winter.

We reported on the situation earlier:

UK holidaymakers could be barred from EU after January 1st

We have also looked at what things will look like and how leaving the EU will impact on us skiers and snowboarders.

Skiing, snowboarding and working in the EU after January 1st

There is two weeks before the UK’s transition period on leaving the EU ends and so far no deal has been reached.

There is a chance that any deal might include a ruling on the ability of UK nationals to travel to EU and Schengen countries, but the current position of Switzerland and Norway has been made clear.

The Swiss authorities may also change their position as the deadline approaches and consider the UK not a high-risk country.

Verbier, Switzerland
Off limits

Here is the full text of the new rules from the Swiss government web site:

“UK nationals will qualify as third country nationals from 1 January 2021 and be subject to COVID-19 related entry restrictions given the end of the Brexit transition period and the end of the Free Movement of Persons Agreement (AFMP).

These restrictions for non-essential travel to Switzerland apply to third-country nationals coming from high-risk countries and have been in place since June 2020.

Therefore, if you are a UK national you may not enter Switzerland for non-essential travel (e.g. for the purpose of tourism) from 1 January 2021 for as long as the UK is categorized as a high-risk country by Switzerland and these restrictions for non-essential travel remain applicable in the Schengen area, of which Switzerland is a member.

However, if you are a UK national who has acquired rights under the Citizens’ Rights Agreement (CRA) you can continue to travel to Switzerland without any restrictions after 31 December 2020.

This is subject to any quarantine measures imposed by Switzerland.

Persons who benefit from acquired rights but who do not have a Swiss residence or frontier worker permit must provide valid documentary evidence of their acquired rights.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 Ordinance provides for a series of exemptions, which allow the lifting of COVID-related entry restrictions in cases of special necessity (i.e. hardship cases) or in cases of public interest.

This includes travel in relation to the death of a close family member or ensuring continuity of essential medical treatment which has already started.”

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