Brexit: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
EU Settlement Scheme
Swiss citizens and their family members who were living in the UK up to 31 December 2020, and who wish to remain in the UK, have to hold a new residence status under the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme called settled or pre-settled status. The deadline for applications was 30 June 2021. It is possible to make a late application where there are ‘reasonable grounds’ for doing so.
For more detailed information on the Settlement Scheme, late applications and other changes for Swiss and British citizens after Brexit, please find Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) below. We appreciate your understanding that the EU Settlement Scheme is exclusively owned and run by the British government and the Embassy of Switzerland cannot give binding information or advice in individual cases.
We have also made two videos explaining the impact of Brexit on the lives of Swiss citizens living in the UK. You can click on the following links to watch them:
FAQ last reviewed: 1 July 2021
Swiss citizens living in the UK: Settled and pre-settled status
With the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the Swiss-EU bilateral agreements, including the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP), ceased to apply to the UK. To safeguard the rights of Swiss citizens who are resident in the UK (and vice versa), the two governments concluded the Swiss-UK Citizens’ Rights Agreement (see Question 2).
- Right of exit and of entry
- Right of residence for persons pursuing an economic activity
- Right of residence for persons not pursuing an economic activity
- Family reunification
- Frontier workers
- Rights of persons providing services
- Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of nationality
- Purchase of immovable property
- Coordination of social security systems
- Mutual recognition of professional qualifications
Following the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) is no longer applicable between Switzerland and the UK. To safeguard the rights of Swiss citizens who are resident in the UK (and vice versa), the two governments concluded the Swiss-UK Citizens’ Rights Agreement (CRA) which has been applied since 1 January 2021. The Swiss-UK CRA secures the rights acquired by Swiss citizens who were living in the UK (and vice versa) prior to the end of the transition period, i.e. on 31 December 2020. In order to secure entitlements under the CRA, Swiss citizens have to hold a new residence status (see Question 3). In terms of scope, the agreement covers the following areas:
In order to secure entitlements under the Citizens’ Rights Agreement, Swiss citizens and their family members living in the UK up to 31 December 2020 have to hold a new residence status under the EU Settlement Scheme, called settled or pre-settled status, to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. Acquiring settled or pre-settled status allows Swiss citizens to continue to live, study and work in the UK, to have access to public funds and services and to go on to apply for British citizenship if they wish to do so. Applications are free of charge. The deadline for applying, for those who had started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, was 30 June 2021. Qualifying individuals can also be joined by close family members (spouses, civil and unmarried partners, dependent children and grandchildren, and dependent parents and grandparents) who live in a different country at any point in the future, if the relationship existed on 31 December 2020 and still exists when the person wishes to come to the UK. See Questions 6 and 12 for further details and special situations. If you have missed the application deadline, please see Question 18.
Swiss citizens married to a British citizen also need to hold the new residence status. However, UK-Swiss dual nationals are not eligible. They already have full rights of residence in the UK.
The Settlement Scheme opened fully at the end of March 2019.
- one period of up to 12 months for an important reason (e.g. childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting)
- compulsory military service of any length
Settled and pre-settled status are the new UK permanent residence status post-Brexit. Swiss citizens (and their family members) wishing to remain in the UK beyond June 2021 need to hold this status.
Acquiring settled or pre-settled status allows Swiss citizens to continue to live, study and work in the UK, to have access to public funds and services and to go on to apply for British citizenship if they wish to do so.
Those who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 and have lived there for a continuous five-year period (‘continuous residence’) should qualify for settled status provided that they apply in time (for late applications, please see Question 18). Continuous residence means that for five years in a row you have been in the UK for at least six months in any 12-month period, except for:
Once you have been granted settled status, you need to make sure that you keep your online status up to date (namely if you receive a new passport or a new identity card, or if you change your name, nationality, email address, phone number or UK address).
If you do not have five years’ continuous residence when you make an in-time application, you generally get pre-settled status instead. This means you can stay in the UK for a further five years from the date you get pre-settled status. Once you have five years’ continuous residence you can apply for settled status. Please note that with pre-settled status, you can spend up to two years in a row outside the UK without losing this status until it expires. However, you will need to maintain your continuous residence (see above) if you want to qualify for settled status in the future.
The Home Office will send out a reminder in due time to all citizens with pre-settled status to prompt them to submit their applications in time to obtain settled status.
Furthermore, please note that you will be issued only with digital proof of your settled or pre-settled status in case of successful application through the scheme. No physical proof will be issued.
- be a Swiss citizen, or a family member of a Swiss citizen; and
- have been living in the UK prior to the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.
In order to be eligible for settled or pre-settled status under the Swiss-UK Citizens’ Rights Agreement, you have to:
You do not have to be physically present in the UK to apply for settled/pre-settled status. You can also apply from overseas. An application must be made for every eligible child in your family.
The deadline for applications was 30 June 2021. If you have missed the application deadline, please see Questions 13 and 18.
- Those who are in a relationship with a Swiss national as their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner
- Those who are related to a Swiss national, their spouse or civil partner as their:
- - child, grandchild or great-grandchild under 21 years old
- - dependent child over the age of 21
- - dependent parent, grandparent or great-grandparent
- - dependent relative with a relevant document to prove the relationship
Family members who were living with, or joined, Swiss citizens in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 are also eligible for settled or pre-settled status. The deadline for applications was 30 June 2021. If you have missed the application deadline, please see Questions 13 and 18.
However, family members who have not been living in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 are entitled to join a Swiss citizen living in the UK, who has been granted pre-settled or settled status, anytime in the future, provided the relationship existed before 31 December 2020 and still exists. If they are from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, they can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) from outside the UK if they hold either a valid passport or an identity card with a biometric chip. See also Question 12.
Spouses and civil partners may apply to join a Swiss citizen living in the UK, who has been granted pre-settled or settled status, until 31 December 2025 if the relationship began after 31 December 2020 and by 31 December 2025 and still exists when applying.
The rights of children born or adopted after 31 December 2020 are also protected. An application for settled status (as a joining family member) needs to be made on their behalf within three months of their birth or adoption.
Family members do not need to be from Switzerland or the EU to be eligible to apply for settled or pre-settled status; they can come from anywhere in the world.
For the purposes of the settlement scheme, family members are defined as:
For questions relating to your personal situation, please contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre.
An application for settled/pre-settled status has to be made for every eligible child in a family. You should check if you need to apply on behalf of your children, even if you have been granted settled/pre-settled status yourself. It should be possible to make a late application, after the deadline of 30 June 2021, for a qualifying child. See Question 18 for further information on late applications.
The rights of children born to or adopted by a Swiss parent with settled/pre-settled status after 31 December 2020 are protected. However, an application for settled status (as a joining family member) needs to be made on their behalf within three months of their birth or adoption.
Yes, Swiss citizens married to a British citizen also need to hold settled/pre-settled status. However, UK-Swiss dual nationals are not eligible. They already have full rights of residence in the UK.
The deadline for applications was 30 June 2021. If you have missed the application deadline, please see Questions 13 and 18.
Indefinite Leave to Enter or Remain (ILR) status is generally not affected by the UK leaving the EU, and ILR holders can continue to live in the UK without applying for settled status.
However, we recommend that holders of an ILR status still apply for settled status, because it guarantees that your immigration status will be electronically registered with the Home Office while allowing you to spend up to four years in a row outside the UK without losing your settled status. The application for settled status is designed to be simple and subject only to verification of identity, a criminality check and confirmation of ongoing residence. It further provides you with secure, digital evidence of your immigration status. The application to the scheme is free of charge.
In line with UK Home Office guidance, you can make a late application to the scheme if you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline, e.g. where a person with ILR status was not aware that they were eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme. See Question 18 for further information on late applications.
If you do not hold settled status, please note that you should ensure that you have sufficient proof of your ILR status and that you carry original documents with you when entering the UK, such as an endorsement in an expired passport stating ‘indefinite leave to enter or remain’.
If you have lived in the UK before 1973 and were automatically granted ILR, but you do not have a document confirming your ILR status, you can either apply for settled status or to the Windrush scheme to get proof of your ILR status.
ILR is equivalent to settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. Up to now, the UK had a similar immigration status called ‘indefinite leave to enter or remain’, which granted permanent residence status in the UK. While this residence status remains valid, a new immigration status called indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme - also known as settled status - has been introduced. This status allows you to spend up to four years in a row outside the UK without losing your settled status.
Yes, if you already have a ‘document certifying permanent residence’, you still need to hold settled status. The deadline for applications was 30 June 2021. If you have missed the application deadline, please see Questions 13 and 18.
- Swiss settled status is more generous with regards to family reunification of future spouses. For example, third country nationals who become the spouse of a Swiss national after 1 January 2021 can join the Swiss national already living in the UK for a period of up to five years until the end of 2025, whereas the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement does not provide for this.
- EU settled status is more generous with regards to the authorized period of absence from the UK. With Swiss settled status you can be absent from the UK for a period of up to four years without losing your settled status; with EU settled status you can be absent from the UK for a period of up to five years without losing your settled status.
The differences between settled status under the Swiss regime and settled status under the EU regime are as follows:
The application deadline was 30 June 2021. If you have not yet applied, please see Question 18 on late applications. It is your decision whether you use your Swiss or your EU nationality when applying. Please note that you can register your second nationality after you have been granted settled or pre-settled status.
Please note that Swiss-UK dual nationals are not eligible for the Settlement Scheme, as they already have full residence rights as UK nationals.
The application for settled/pre-settled status is an online application and consists of three initial steps:
1. Identity Check: There are three ways to complete the Identity Check.
Option 1: Use the ‘EU Exit ID document check’ App on your phone and scan your passport with the App. To be able to do this, you need to have an Android smartphone which has NFC technology or an iPhone.
Option 2: Choose the ‘online + by post’ method, which means you start your application online on the gov.uk website and at the end you will be asked to send in your passport or ID card to the Home Office. Please note that if you only have a Swiss ID card you have to use the ‘online + by post’ method.
Option 3: Start your application by going to one of the local council scanning locations, where they will scan your passport and complete the Identity Check together with you.
2. Residence Check: You can complete the Residence Check by using your National Insurance Number. The Home Office will then make an automated check with your tax and benefits records to help confirm your UK residence. If you do not have a National Insurance Number, or if you do not want to use yours, or you do not agree with the result that you receive from the automated check, you can prove your residence by submitting additional documents. The Home Office has published a list of documents accepted as evidence of UK residence. Please be aware that you do not need to provide evidence for your entire UK residence. You only need to show that you qualify for settled or pre-settled status.
3. Criminality Check: The Criminality Check is completed during the application to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Proof of ‘reasonable grounds’
In addition to the three steps above, you will be asked to provide evidence that you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for making a late application if you are an applicant for whom the application deadline was 30 June 2021. For further information about late applications, see Question 18.
The UK Home Office provides support over the phone or in person if you need help during the online application process (see Question 14).
No physical document evidencing your status will be issued. Instead, successful applicants will get proof of their status through an online service.
If you encounter any problems during your application or if you have questions about the status of your application, you can contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre.
There is also a service provided by the Home Office, called Assisted Digital Service, if you do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to complete the online application form.
To support the Swiss Community in the UK, the Swiss Benevolent Society has been approved and registered as an Advisor by the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner to help Swiss citizens through the Settlement Scheme application process. If you know of a Swiss citizen who is unable to complete the application and unable to rely on family members, please contact the Swiss Benevolent Society online or by phone on 020 7836 9119 (available Tuesdays and Wednesdays only).
The UK government has published guidance for applicants whose period of ‘continuous residence’ in the UK has been broken by absences due to the coronavirus pandemic. The six-month and twelve-month absence rules can be relaxed in some circumstances. You will be asked to submit evidence of how the pandemic affected your ability to return to the UK.
The deadline for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021. For information about late applications, see Question 18.
Citizens who have been granted pre-settled status have an individual deadline: if they wish to retain their right to live and work in the UK, they have to apply for settled status once they have accumulated five years of continuous residence, or within five years of their grant of pre-settled status at the latest (see Question 19).
All applications submitted by the deadline of 30 June 2021 are considered in the usual way. Large numbers of applications were submitted in the period immediately before the deadline and could take time to process. Provided that a valid application has been submitted in time and the applicant has confirmation that it has been received, then if the applicant has existing rights acquired under the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) (and therefore qualifies for settled/pre-settled status) these rights should be safeguarded until the application process and any valid appeal process has been completed. After 30 June 2021, should a question arise about your immigration status pending receipt of your decision – for example from an employer, landlord or mortgage provider - you may refer to the confirmation that your application is being processed (‘certificate of application’) and to the fact that existing rights are safeguarded in these circumstances.
If you have questions about the progress of your application, you should contact the EU Settlement Resolution Centre.
- Children, including children in care and care-leavers, where a parent or guardian has failed to apply on their behalf
- Lack of physical or mental capacity and/or care or support needs
- Serious medical condition or significant medical treatment
- Victims of modern slavery
- Abusive or controlling relationship or situation
- Other compelling practical or compassionate reasons, e.g. lack of internet access, difficulties accessing support due to restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic
- Persons who cease to be exempt from immigration control
- Persons who have existing limited or indefinite leave to enter or remain (ILR)
- Persons who have a document or status under the EEA Regulations (e.g. biometric residence card)
It is possible to submit a late application for settled/pre-settled status after the deadline of 30 June 2021. However, in addition to the standard application (see Question 13) it is necessary to demonstrate, with supporting evidence, that you have ‘reasonable grounds’ for failing to meet the deadline. The UK Home Office has published examples of scenarios where evidence of ‘reasonable grounds’ may be accepted:
The list is not exhaustive and each case is considered in light of its particular circumstances. In general, the later the application is made, the harder it becomes to satisfy the requirements.
- one period of up to 12 months for an important reason (e.g. childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting)
- compulsory military service of any length
You will be issued only with a digital proof of your settled or pre-settled status. No physical proof will be issued. The letter sent by the Home Office to successful applicants (by email), explaining how to access the digital status, does not count as proof in itself.
Once you have been granted settled or pre-settled status, it is advisable to print out the Home Office letter and keep it safe for future reference. We suggest that you keep a copy on your phone or carry a printout when travelling abroad, as airlines may ask to see your status at the check-in or before boarding (and as a backup if you have difficulty accessing your digital profile on your phone at an airport).
We recommend that you log in to your digital profile and familiarise yourself with it. It is important that you keep your digital status up to date (e.g. if you receive a new passport or a new identity card, or if you change your name, your nationality, your email address, your phone number or your UK address). You can add further valid travel documents as well. This will ensure that your digital residence status can be checked quickly and easily at the UK border and will help to avoid delays when entering the country.
In addition, if you have been granted pre-settled status, once you have accumulated five years of continuous residence - or within five years of your grant of pre-settled status at the very latest - you have to apply for settled status if you wish to retain your right to live and work in the UK. The Home Office should send you a reminder in due time. Continuous residence means that for five years in a row you have been in the UK for at least six months in any 12-month period, except for:
With pre-settled status, you can spend up to two years in a row outside the UK without losing this status until it expires. However, you will need to maintain your continuous residence (see above) if you want to qualify for settled status in the future.
Please see Question 15 for information about applications that are affected by extended absences from the UK due to the coronavirus pandemic.
From 1 July 2021 Swiss citizens in the UK with settled/pre-settled status can be asked for proof of their immigration status for a range of purposes. The UK government has published guidance on how to view and prove your digital status, how to update it, and how to get help to access and share it if necessary.
By accessing your digital immigration status, you can generate a unique ‘share code’ to give to a potential employer who will carry out a Right to Work check, or to a new landlord when renting a property (Right to Rent check), or to a UK government agency. Each share code lasts for 30 days and is designed to pass on relevant information only; for example a new employer will receive information which relates to your right to work, but not to other rights.
The guidance also contains information about checking your immigration status when crossing the UK border, and direct access to digital immigration status information for public authorities such as HM Revenue and Customs and the Department for Work and Pensions.
UK government guide: your immigration status: an introduction (accessible version)
Swiss citizens who were living in the UK prior to 1 January 2021, and whose rights are safeguarded by the Swiss-UK Citizens’ Rights Agreement (CRA), can apply for the new UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which is valid for visits to EU countries, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Dual Swiss/UK nationals should be eligible for the new UK-issued EHIC provided they meet all of the following requirements: they acquired British citizenship through naturalization; they were a citizen of Switzerland before also becoming a British citizen; and they have retained their Swiss nationality.
Swiss citizens who are not eligible for this card but who are ordinarily resident in the UK (and not insured in Switzerland or an EU/EEA country) should be entitled to the new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which is valid for visits to EU countries only. Old UK EHICs are no longer valid in Switzerland for visits that started after 1 January 2021, but continue to be valid in EU countries until they expire.
Please visit the sections ‘Who can apply for a new UK EHIC’ and ‘Dual Nationals’ on this NHS website for further information. If you are eligible, during the application process you can also add your eligible family members who meet certain criteria. You can start your application here.
If your healthcare costs in the UK are covered by an EEA country or Switzerland because you live in the UK and receive either a state pension or certain ‘exportable’ benefits from that country, or you live in the UK and work in an EEA country or Switzerland (frontier worker), or you are posted to work in the UK by an employer in an EEA country or Switzerland, you should contact the relevant authority in the country you are insured by and request an EHIC. If you have questions about your situation in the UK you should contact the NHS Business Services Authority by email: email@example.com or by phone: 0191 218 1999.
The Swiss-UK Citizens’ Rights Agreement (CRA) provides for the co-ordination of social security systems, so that the existing social security rights of Swiss citizens resident in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 are protected (and vice versa).
For Swiss citizens coming to live in the UK from 1 January 2021, Switzerland and the UK have agreed to reactivate the Social Security agreement concluded in 1968, which was inactive but had not been formally repealed due to EU legislation. With the reactivation of this agreement, Switzerland has ensured that there is no disruption in terms of social security rights and benefits. The agreement guarantees a minimum of rights and is specifically useful to avoid dual coverage situations and resulting gaps. However, with the aim to strengthen social security coordination, Switzerland and the UK are currently negotiating a new bilateral agreement.
- they must be a Swiss national, or hold the nationality of a European Union (EU) member state;
- they must reside outside of the EU or EFTA, which means that they must have established residence in the UK on or after 1 January 2021;
- they must have been insured under the Swiss OASI/DI scheme for at least five consecutive years at the time of leaving Switzerland;
- they must submit their membership application form within 12 months after leaving the compulsory OASI/DI.
The Swiss-UK Citizens’ Rights Agreement (CRA) provides for the co-ordination of social security systems, so that the existing social security rights of Swiss citizens resident in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 are protected (and vice versa). This includes the rights of persons who have contributed to a UK pension scheme. Contribution periods in the other state continue to be taken into account for purposes of calculating the minimum insurance periods and pensions will be paid out if the claimant moves to the other state. In such cases, health insurance is guaranteed by one of the two states.
OASI Bulletin No. 430 (available in French, German and Italian)
There has been no change in relation to the voluntary old-age, survivors’ and disability insurance scheme (OASI/DI, AHV/IV, AVS/AI) for Swiss citizens who were resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 and whose acquired rights are safeguarded by the CRA. However, from 1 January 2021 Swiss citizens who move to the UK after 1 January 2021 and take up residence there can join the voluntary OASI/DI if they comply with the restrictive cumulative conditions, which are as follows:
The assessment is done on a case-by-case basis by the Swiss Central Compensation Office in Geneva. Further information in relation to individual cases can be obtained from the Swiss Central Compensation Office.
The Government of Gibraltar has published information on Brexit and issues relating to citizens’ rights on its website.
- Information on settled/pre-settled status
- Translations of the guidance on settled status for EU citizens and their families in European languages
- Sign up to UK Home Office email updates
- EU Settlement Resolution Centre
- EU Settlement Scheme: UK tax and benefits records automated check
- EU Settlement Scheme: evidence of UK residence
- Information on application processing times
- Toolkit on the EU Settlement Scheme in German, French and Italian
- EU Settlement Scheme: Employer Toolkit
- EU Settlement Scheme: Community Leaders Toolkit
- Information on social security from the Swiss Federal Social Insurance Office
- Information from Mayor of London/London Assembly (European Londoners Hub)
Swiss citizens visiting the UK
Swiss citizens will continue to enjoy visa-free travel for short-term trips for up to six months to the UK from 1 January 2021.
From 1 January 2021 onwards, Swiss citizens can still enter the UK using a passport that is valid for the duration of the stay; there is no need for any additional period of validity on the passport beyond this.
From 1 October 2021 the UK will no longer accept Swiss national ID cards for entry into the UK. However, Swiss citizens who have been granted pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme are entitled to use their Swiss national ID card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025.
Swiss citizens working in the UK but living elsewhere (frontier workers)
According to the Swiss-UK Citizens’ Rights Agreement, Swiss citizens who exercised their rights as frontier workers in the UK in accordance with the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) before 31 December 2020 can continue to do so after that date. Their status and rights with regard to social security, including existing healthcare entitlements, are guaranteed.
You will however have to apply for a frontier worker permit in the UK. This permit will be a formal requirement to enter the UK as a frontier worker from 1 July 2021.
Swiss citizens intending to live and/or work in the UK
For now, there is no bilateral agreement between Switzerland and the UK which regulates migration and labour market access. Switzerland and the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 21 December 2020, which is a non-legally binding instrument in which both countries reaffirm their commitment to explore ways to strengthen cooperation and to develop their bilateral relations in the field of labour migration, mobility and asylum.
From 1 January 2021, Swiss citizens who wish to take up employment in the UK must comply with the rules of the UK’s new immigration system. According to this, economically active persons who intend to work in the UK will have to fulfil the requirements under the UK’s new Points-Based System (PBS) for which the UK government launched different routes on 1 December 2020.
For information on social security and joining the voluntary old-age, survivors’ and disability insurance scheme (OASI/DI, AHV/IV, AVS/AI) see Questions 22 and 23.
British citizens living/working/visiting Switzerland
British citizens who are living in Switzerland with a residence permit issued under the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP) do not generally need to take any further action. They might be called upon to replace their current permit with another one; if not they must simply apply for a new permit with the cantonal immigration and labour market authorities before the existing one expires. As regards their social security rights, including access to healthcare entitlements, these are guaranteed.
However, British citizens arriving after 1 January 2021 will be subject to the Swiss social security system. While a bilateral agreement has not yet been concluded, the regulations of the agreement concluded between Switzerland and the UK in 1968 will be partially applicable from 1 January 2021.
Given the end of the Brexit transition period and the end of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons (AFMP), UK nationals qualify as third country nationals from 1 January 2021. They are therefore subject to the COVID-19 related entry restrictions when entering Switzerland from a high risk country on the list published by the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM). Please find further information on COVID-19 related entry restrictions on the website of the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).
If you are a self-employed national of the United Kingdom established in the United Kingdom or an employee posted by your employer established in the United Kingdom, you may provide a service in Switzerland without requiring a work permit for a maximum duration of 90 days per calendar year. You have to notify your stay under the online notification procedure.
Regarding COVID-19 related entry restrictions, if you provide cross-border services for up to 8 days per calendar year, you may request an exemption based on the current COVID-19 Ordinance, which allows for the lifting of COVID-related entry restrictions in cases of special necessity (e.g. hardship) or in cases of public interest. You will however have to provide adequate proof to the relevant Swiss authorities. Please check in the notification rules if you are entitled to use the eight-day notification-free period as this period does not apply to all economic sectors.
Please find more information in the revised SEM directive (this document does not exist in English).
Visiting Switzerland (travelling with pets, driving)
Since 1 January 2021, animals and animal products from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) are subject to the conditions for imports from third countries. Animals and animal products from Northern Ireland are subject to the conditions for imports from the EU.
Entries or returns to Switzerland with pets when travelling from Great Britain are now subject to the rules for third countries. Direct entry by air with dogs, cats and ferrets is now possible only via the airports of Geneva, Zurich and Basel. Direct entry by air with birds is possible only via the airports of Geneva or Zurich.
In the case of entry by land via the EU, checks will be carried out upon entry into the EU, for example in France. Travellers may then enter Switzerland with the animals as usual.
You may need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in some countries. If you are taking your own vehicle, you may also need a ‘Green Card’ (international motor insurance certificate) or valid proof of insurance and a GB sticker. Please check the requirement for EU/EEA countries.
To drive in Switzerland you do not need an IDP as Switzerland continues to recognize the UK photocard driving licences.