You’ll have to pay to convert your proof of vaccination for Switzerland

Oct 14, 2021

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Since the world began to reopen, it’s been clear that digital health vaccine passports will play an important role in travel. Several countries that mandate proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entry require either official or unofficial vaccine passports — some cities, such as New York, have versions that are necessary for admittance to indoor activities, too

Generally, vaccine passports are free. They’re supposed to simplify and streamline the travel process. But in one country, that’s no longer the case. 

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If skiing the slopes of Switzerland is in your travel plans soon, you’d better make sure to pack your vaccine card — and some extra cash. According to The Local, the country will charge certain travelers — including those from the U.S. and the U.K. — a $32 (30 CHF) fee to convert their paper vaccination card to the Swiss Covid certificate.

Yes, that’s right. You’ll have to pay to convert your proof of vaccination, which you received for free. If you’re not happy about this mandate, you aren’t alone. The Swiss tourism board isn’t thrilled, either.

Many countries now require proof of vaccination to enter from abroad, or to get access to indoor spaces such as restaurants or movie theaters. 

But Switzerland may be starting a trend that other countries desperate for tourism dollars could try to replicate. Still, it likely won’t go over well for tourists who can visit other countries with their proof of vaccination without paying extra for the privilege. 

“This is a hurdle that doesn’t exist in other countries,” said Switzerland Tourism spokesman Markus Berger, according to local paper 20 Minuten. “With the CHF 30 fee, we have a hurdle that other countries don’t have.” Switzerland, according to Berger, is the only country that charges a fee to convert vaccine certificates. 

According to the Swiss government website, travelers who were vaccinated abroad may be subject to a fee “to cover the costs of issuing a COVID certificate.” If you already have an EU Digital COVID Certificate or a compatible certificate, you don’t need to apply for a Swiss COVID certificate. The government says these are also recognized in Switzerland.  

Like many European countries, Switzerland began welcoming back vaccinated international travelers over the summer, including Americans. U.S. citizens who can show they’ve been fully vaccinated or recently tested negative for COVID-19 are welcome to visit.

To enter, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health says you must show one of the following:

  • Proof of full vaccination
  • Results of a recent negative COVID-19 test
  • Proof of recovery from COVID-19

Otherwise, if you are traveling to Switzerland by plane and cannot prove one of the above, you will be required to take a test. Just make sure to bring some extra money for that, too.

Featured photo by Alexander Chaikin/Getty Images

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