Last updated on 06.12.2021

How do I obtain a COVID certificate and how do I use it?

Who is entitled to issue the COVID certificate?

The issue of COVID certificates is possible in all cantons. You will find details on the cantonal websites.

The COVID certificate is issued at the following places:

  • Medical practices
  • Vaccination centres
  • Test centres
  • Hospitals
  • Laboratories
  • Pharmacies
  • Cantonal authorities

Depending on the canton, the COVID certificate will be issued to you at your request on an automated basis in digital form or on the spot directly after the vaccination or rapid antigen test.
You should therefore consult the following list of cantons to find out how you can get a COVID certificate where you live.

Overview of cantonal websites on the COVID certificate

You’ll find further information on how to get your COVID certificate on your canton’s website.

Aargau

ag.ch
+41 62 835 51 10

Appenzell Ausserrhoden

ar.ch
+41 71 353 62 32

Appenzell Innerrhoden

ai.ch
+41 71 788 99 66

Basel-Stadt

bs.ch
+41 800 463 666

Freiburg

fr.ch
+41 840 261 700

Genf / Genève

ge.ch
+41 800 909 400

Glarus

gl.ch
+41 55 645 67 00

Graubünden

gr.ch
+41 81 254 16 00

Luzern

lu.ch
+41 41 228 64 46

Neuenburg / Neuchâtel

ne.ch
+41 32 889 24 24

Nidwalden

nw.ch
+41 41 618 43 34

Obwalden

ow.ch
+41 41 666 67 99

St.Gallen

sg.ch
+41 58 229 22 33

Schaffhausen

sh.ch
+41 52 632 66 36

Schwyz

sz.ch
+41 41 819 15 00

Solothurn

so.ch
+41 32 627 74 11

Thurgau

tg.ch
+41 58 345 34 40

Tessin

ti.ch
+41 800 128 128

Uri

ur.ch
+41 41 874 34 33

Wallis

vs.ch
+41 58 433 01 01

Waadt

vd.ch
+41 58 715 11 00

Zug

zg.ch
+41 41 531 48 90

Zürich

zh.ch
+41 848 33 66 11

List continuously updated.

How do I obtain a COVID certificate and how long is it valid?

The COVID certificate is issued in different ways depending on the use case. The validity also varies and may change on the basis of new scientific findings. Check this page regularly to find out about the current regulations:

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

Overview of use cases, issue methods and validity of the COVID certificate

People who are already fully vaccinated

(last vaccination was performed before the end of June 2021 in Switzerland)

Issue method:
The processes for issue vary from canton to canton. Please visit your canton’s website for information.

Validity in Switzerland (currently applicable):
365 days from when last dose was administered

The following exemption applies to people who received the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine:
The certificate is only valid from the 22nd day after the vaccine dose is administered.

Fully vaccinated people

(from the end of June 2021 in Switzerland)

Issue method:
Certificate can be issued digitally on an automated basis as a PDF or on request as a paper document at the place where the vaccination is administered.

Validity in Switzerland (currently applicable):
365 days from when last dose was administered

The following exemption applies to people who received the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine:
The certificate is only valid from the 22nd day after the vaccine dose is administered.

People who have recovered from COVID

(COVID confirmed by a PCR or antibody test)

Issue method:
In the case of a PCR test, you can apply for a COVID certificate online via the National COVID certificate application platform. Your certificate will then be sent in paper form by post. In the case of an antibody test, the laboratory can email you the certificate directly or send it to your COVID Certificate app using a transfer code.

Validity in Switzerland (currently applicable):
Positive PCR test: the certificate is valid from the 11th day after the positive test result and remains valid for 365 days (i.e. the actual period of validity is 354 days).

Positive antibody test (serology test): 90 days from when the sample was taken.
The antibody test is subject to a charge and you have to pay for it yourself. It must be conducted by an accredited laboratory. Antibody tests performed before 16 November 2021 cannot be used to obtain a COVID certificate.

Please note: the COVID certificate for an antibody test is only valid in Switzerland.

People who have tested negative

If you would like a COVID certificate as evidence of a negative test, you will generally have to pay for the test yourself. Exemptions and other information can be found on the page Tests.

Issue method:
If you get a negative PCR test, on request the COVID certificate will be activated directly in the COVID Certificate app, provided the issuer offers this service. You must say that you want a COVID certificate when the sample is taken.
If you get a negative rapid antigen test, the COVID certificate will be issued on request by the test centre directly. This can either be done on the spot at the centre, or you will receive your certificate digitally by email or direct to your COVID Certificate app, provided the issuer offers this service.
COVID certificates are not issued for self-tests.

Validity in Switzerland:
PCR test: 72 hours from when the sample was taken
Rapid antigen test: 24 hours from when the sample was taken

Important: To be able to get a COVID certificate following a negative rapid antigen test, the test must be performed with a nose and throat swab. Nose swabs only are not acceptable.

Note on the COVID certificate for people who have recovered from COVID:

  • A COVID certificate for people who have recovered can be issued if the COVID-19 infection was confirmed by a positive PCR test and occurred no more than 365 days ago.
  • If the case was only confirmed by a rapid antigen test, no COVID certificate can be issued based on EU regulations.
  • People who have had COVID-19 but do not have proof in the form of a positive PCR or antibody test have the option of getting vaccinated or getting a coronavirus test to obtain a COVID certificate.

How do I get the COVID certificate if I was vaccinated abroad?

Have you already got an EU Digital COVID Certificate or a certificate which is compatible with the EU Digital COVID Certificate? If so, you don’t need to apply for a Swiss COVID certificate as these are also recognised in Switzerland. You will find more information on the page Travel abroad and global statistics.

If you don’t have a corresponding certificate, you can apply for a Swiss COVID certificate online via the National COVID certificate application platform provided that you were vaccinated abroad with a vaccine that is approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). This concerns the following vaccines:

  • Comirnaty® / BNT162b2 / Tozinameran (Pfizer/BioNTech)
  • Spikevax® / mRNA-1273 / COVID-19 vaccine (Moderna)
  • Vaxzevria® / AZD1222 / Covishield™ or other licensed products (AstraZeneca)
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)

You must be able to prove that you are resident in Switzerland, that you are a Swiss national living abroad, or that you intend to travel to Switzerland (e.g. as a tourist). You must be able to provide evidence of the vaccine you received abroad. You must also be able to provide evidence of your stay in Switzerland, or, if you are a Swiss national living abroad, your link to Switzerland. If you are planning to travel to Switzerland, you must be able to provide evidence of your intended trip (e.g. a hotel booking, plane or train ticket). You also need to be able to prove your identity.

You can also apply for a Swiss COVID certificate if you were vaccinated abroad with a vaccine that is on the WHO Emergency Use List but not authorised by Swissmedic or the European Medicines Agency (EMA). This concerns the following vaccines:

  • SARS-CoV-2 vaccine (Vero Cell) (Sinopharm/BIBP)
  • CoronaVac (Sinovac)
  • COVAXIN®

A Swiss COVID certificate is only issued under the following conditions:

  • You must submit the application in person so that your details can be checked on the spot. Find out more on the cantonal websites.
  • You must belong to a certain group. You’ll find the list in the COVID-19 Certificates Ordinance.
  • COVID certificates cannot currently be issued for vaccination with Sputnik V or other vaccines not approved for use by the WHO.

Where can I apply for the COVID certificate?

You can apply for your COVID certificate using the following online form from your canton of residence or the canton where you are staying temporarily.

It generally takes five days to process the application, although it can take somewhat longer in individual cases. For this reason we recommend applying for your certificate two weeks before entering Switzerland. The competent authorities can also email you to request additional information and documents from you if they have doubts about the authenticity of the documents submitted or if they have any queries. They can also reject applications if doubts cannot be cleared up. In such cases the fee you have paid will not be refunded.

For your application you need at least the following:

  • Details of your citizenship or residence status in Switzerland (e.g. copy of passport/foreigner’s identity card)
  • Confirmation of vaccination (e.g. vaccination certificate with details of the bearer, vaccines administered, institution that carried out the vaccination, date of the last vaccination, number of vaccine doses received, existing certificate if applicable).
  • Reason, duration and place of your stay in Switzerland
  • Proof of entry into Switzerland (e.g. flight ticket, train ticket or booking for overnight stay).

In addition, download the free COVID Certificate app from the Apple App Store, the Google Play Store or the Huawei AppGallery. Your COVID certificate can also be delivered directly to the app.

How do I obtain the Covid certificate if I am planning a trip to Switzerland (e.g. as a tourist)?

You can apply for the COVID certificate online using the National COVID certificate application platform. The canton where you are resident or staying will issue the certificate.

Do you have to pay to apply for a COVID certificate?

If your residence is in Switzerland and you apply for the certificate in your canton of residence, there will be no charge.

Do you not have your place of residence in Switzerland? Then you will be charged CHF 30 for processing the application. This fee must be paid by credit card when you submit your application.

More information on how to apply for a COVID certificate can be found in this fact sheet.

How can I get a COVID certificate if I tested positive abroad with a PCR test?

You need to present an official document confirming the lifting of your isolation period with the name and address of the official body and proof of the positive PCR test. The proof of the positive PCR test must contain at least the following information:

  • First name, last name and date of birth
  • Date and time the sample was taken (must be within the last 365 days)
  • Test centre or institution where the test was performed
  • Type of test (only PCR tests are valid)

If you are not resident in Switzerland, you will be charged CHF 30 for your application to be processed.

An application usually takes up to five days to process, but this can take slightly longer in individual cases. We therefore recommend that you submit your application in good time before your trip to Switzerland.

Information on entering Switzerland: Even if you have a Swiss COVID certificate, it is possible that you are not allowed to enter Switzerland. You will find information on this on the page Entering Switzerland and the website of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM)

Who is entitled to check the COVID certificate and how does this check work?

COVID certificates can be checked using the verifier app called the COVID Certificate Check. This is only necessary for individuals and institutions that check COVID certificates.

When the certificate is checked, holders will be asked to present photo identification (e.g. an ID card) in order to comply with legal requirements. This is to ensure the name on the identity document matches the name on the COVID certificate. To check the COVID certificate, the QR code on the paper document, the PDF or in the “COVID Certificate” app is scanned to verify the certificate’s authenticity.

Can the COVID certificate be renewed?

Your COVID certificate will not be stored in any central systems. It is only held by you. Keep the COVID certificate safe and protect it from unauthorised access. We also recommend you make a copy of the certificate so that you can use the copy if you ever lose it. If you lose the certificate, you need to apply for a new one from the issuer.

The period of validity may be adjusted on the basis of new scientific findings. In this case the validity of your certificate will be adjusted automatically; no new certificate has to be issued.