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Travelling to Switzerland from India amid Covid? Check new guidelines

Entry restrictions continue to apply to foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated with CHE, EU and WHO, the Swiss Federal Council said (REUTERS)Premium
Entry restrictions continue to apply to foreign nationals who are not fully vaccinated with CHE, EU and WHO, the Swiss Federal Council said (REUTERS)

  • Several countries have opened up their doors for Indian residents, such as Turkey, South Korea, Russia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, and Afghanistan
  • However, one major concern for Indians persists and that is--both Covaxin and Covishield are not eligible for the European Union’s ‘Green Pass’

Switzerland has announced that “fully vaccinated" Indians can enter the country but will have to undergo mandatory quarantine. According to the Embassy of Switzerland based in New Delhi, the Swiss Federal Council has initiated the process of accepting visas for India and various other countries.

"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," the embassy said.

However, the Swiss Federal Council has made it clear that travellers who are not fully vaccinated with Current Health Expenditure (CHE), European Union (EU) and World Health Organization (WHO) recognized vaccines and are without rights of free movement cannot enter the country.

"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.

The announcement has been made for issuing a Schengen visa (Type C) for Switzerland for people willing to travel the country.

However, one major concern for Indians persists and that is--both Covaxin and Covishield are not eligible for the European Union’s ‘Green Pass’.

The EU COVID Vaccination Passport would be issued to all those who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, with either of the four vaccines: Comirnaty (BioNTech, Pfizer); Moderna; Vaxzevria (previously COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, Oxford) or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).

But on Monday, Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla assured that he would take this matter to the highest level and added, "Hope to resolve this matter soon, both with regulators and at a diplomatic level with countries".

Meanwhile, the embassy also highlighted that the Swiss Government has decided to temporarily hike the service fee for visa applications.

"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.

This announcement has come in the backdrop of the European Union's (EU) notifying Digital Covid Certificate or those who have been vaccinated. According to the rules, travellers who have taken the Covishield, manufactured by Pune-based SII won't be eligible for the European Union 'Green Pass'.

Apart from Switzerland, several other countries have opened up their doors for Indian residents, such as Turkey, the US, South Korea, Russia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, and Afghanistan.

Indian residents will require a negative RT-PCR test report and a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelling to Turkey.

However, the US has not lifted its travel ban on India but those who have students' visa can travel to the country.

On the other hand, South Korea has lifted the travel ban on India and done away with the mandatory two-week quarantine for those vaccinated with both the doses of Covishield vaccine.

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