connect, grow & thrive.

How to get the COVID Certificate

The COVID certificate provides documentary evidence that you have had a COVID-19 vaccination, have had and recovered from the disease or have tested negative. As of September 13. 2021, this certificate will be required to gain access to many places (read the details here). Here we explain how to get and use the app.

Where can I obtain a COVID certificate?

The COVID certificate is issued at the following locations: vaccination centres, medical practices, hospitals, pharmacies, test centres, laboratories, cantonal authorities

Certificates can be delivered on the spot, online (on the internet), direct to the COVID Certificate app or, in special cases, by post.  

COVID certificates can be issued in all cantons. You will find details on the cantonal websites.

Do I have to download the app?

No, you can have a paper copy of your certificate. If you have been vaccinated you will have received a pdf with your vaccination dates and a QR Code. To be safe, make photocopies of this document and keep with you. If you had Covid-19 and this has been certified by a PCR test, you should also have received a document stating this. If you decide to be tested you will also receive a paper document.

However for ease of use you can also get the certificate.

The COVID Certificate app

The COVID Certificate app is available to download free from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery. With the COVID Certificate app you should scan the QR code on your COVID certificate with your camera and save it on your mobile device. Your data is not stored in a central system.

You can store multiple COVID certificates in the dedicated app, e.g. several negative test results or the certificates of family members.

How will the certificate be used?

When you wish to enter a venue that requires the certificate you can present either the paper document or the electronic COVID certificate in the app. When your personal COVID certificate is checked, those performing the check, such as event organisers, will ask you to show photo identification (e.g. your ID card, passport, driving licence, residence permit, student ID card or SwissPass). Be sure that the details on your certificate match with the form of identification you are showing.

What is a “certificate light” and how do I generate one?

The “certificate light” is a function in the COVID Certificate app that contains less information. If you activate certificate light, a new QR code is created that does not contain health data. The certificate light can only be used in Switzerland. For data protection reasons the certificate light must be activated again after 48 hours. You can deactivate the certificate light any time to return to the normal COVID certificate.  

How do I obtain a certificate if I was vaccinated abroad?

You can obtain a COVID certificate on request if your vaccination meets the following requirements:

  1. The vaccine is authorised in Switzerland.
  2. The vaccination must be complete; in other words, it must include the number of doses of vaccine specified in the FOPH recommendations.

You also get a COVID certificate if you received one dose of AstraZeneca abroad and subsequently received a second dose of an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna.

UPDATE: As of 20 September, anyone who has been vaccinated abroad with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and who is resident in or travelling to Switzerland will be able to obtain a Swiss COVID certificate. This means that people who have been vaccinated abroad or have recovered abroad, such as tourists, can also participate in social activities here. Currently, only the certificates of countries using the EU Digital COVID Certificate are compatible with the Swiss system.

As it will take time for each canton to set up a contact point dealing with this issue, until October 10. all foreign vaccination certificates (e.g. WHO vaccination certificate) will be valid for access to events or facilities requiring a COVID certificate.

How do I obtain a certificate if I had Covid-19?

You can get a COVID certificate if the COVID infection was confirmed with a positive PCR test and occurred no more than 180 days ago.

You cannot get a COVID certificate to certify recovery from COVID based on a positive rapid antigen test. This is because a positive rapid antigen test must be confirmed with a PCR test. COVID certificates cannot be issued to certify recovery following a serology (antibody) test either.

How long is the COVID certificate valid for?

The validity period varies according to whether your COVID certificate documents a vaccination, recovery from COVID-19 or a negative test. The validity may be adjusted on the basis of new scientific data.

Important: The following information is valid in Switzerland. Other countries may specify different periods of validity.

For people who have been vaccinated

  • 365 days from when the last vaccine dose was administered

For people who have recovered from COVID

  • The certificate is valid from the 11th day after the positive test result and lasts for 180 days from the date of the test result.

For people who have tested negative

  • PCR test: 72 hours from when the sample was taken
  • Rapid antigen test: 48 hours from when the sample was taken

Can I use the COVID certificate for travelling?

The Swiss COVID certificate is recognised by the EU/EFTA states. It can therefore be used throughout the EU and the EFTA area.

However, a COVID certificate that is valid in Switzerland provides no guarantee of entry to other countries. Every country defines its own entry requirements and has the authority to adapt them on an ongoing basis according to how the epidemiological situation is evolving.

For travel to EU/EFTA countries, the website Re-Open EU provides an initial overview of the measures in place in the individual EU countries.

Entering Switzerland

A digital COVID certificate (the EU Digital COVID Certificate) has also been introduced by the EU and other EFTA states. The certificates from EU/EFTA states are also recognised for entering Switzerland.

To find out what rules apply on entering Switzerland, please visit the Entering Switzerland page.

The Certificate explained simply.

Information found on the Federal Office of Public Health website.

charlie.hartmann@livinginluzern.swiss

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Livingin organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.

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