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US to Switzerland via Canada

US to Switzerland via Canada

Old Aug 7, 20, 1:28 pm
  #1  
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US to Switzerland via Canada

I am a US citizen resident in the US and need to attend an important meeting in Switzerland that can only be conducted in person.

According to this site: https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...countries.html
"A person with US citizenship may not enter Switzerland directly from the USA, as the USA is considered a high-risk country. However, they may enter Switzerland from Canada – provided they satisfy the normal entry requirements."

It seems that Canada is allowing transit, though I have found it hard to verify.

Would it be possible for me to fly USA - Toronto - Zurich, then quarantine for 10 days, have my meeting and fly Zurich - USA?

Is it possible to stay airside in Toronto (I have never been there)?

Looking at Google Flights, this works:

Air Canada SFO-YYZ-ZRH (1h45m in YYZ)
Swiss ZRH-SFO

Last edited by DesertNomad; Aug 7, 20 at 1:35 pm
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Old Aug 7, 20, 2:39 pm
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Canada allows passengers to enter Canada for purpose of transit, so you're fine from the Canadian perspective. Your challenge will be with the airline and the Swiss government.
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Old Aug 7, 20, 2:49 pm
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I read the German translation (original) of the text, and it does indeed says the same (I know, it's quite crazy)

If OP simply flies from US-Canada-CH, according to the website, he'd be fine.

It doesn't really have much logic, but the text is like that. But yes, 10 days compulsary quarantine (10.000 CHF fine if found in breech - and Zürich (the Kanton of the international airport) has now started to clamp down seriously on quarantine breakers) on arrival.

I guess that meeting has to be REALLY important if it couldn't be done online or by a local representative to take all those detours.
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Old Aug 7, 20, 2:50 pm
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It won't work and you will be denied boarding at your US departure point or perhaps, if you slip through at YYZ (note that you may only transit on the sterile side, thus you would have to choose carriers where that is possible, e.g. no changing terminals).

The larger problem for you is that, according to TIMATIC, unless you qualify for one of very few exemptions, e.g. family member, you will not be permitted to enter.

However, even if you are permitted to enter, as you will have been in the US within the 14 days immediately preceding your arrival into Switzerland, you are subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine. Thus, you would need to arrive in Switzerland at least 11 days prior to your meeting.

Bottom line here is that unless you qualify for an exemption -- which you presumably would have explained if you did -- you will, at best be denied boarding and at worst, transported and then denied entry at ZRH. Best scenario is that you qualify for entry and must quarantine.
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Old Aug 7, 20, 3:04 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
It won't work and you will be denied boarding at your US departure point or perhaps, if you slip through at YYZ (note that you may only transit on the sterile side, thus you would have to choose carriers where that is possible, e.g. no changing terminals).
What are you basing this on?

The SEM (Swiss Immigration) site says "A person with US citizenship may not enter Switzerland directly from the USA, as the USA is considered a high-risk country. However, they may enter Switzerland from Canada – provided they satisfy the normal entry requirements."

Earlier today I saw a note on the Swiss site that said it only matters where you arrived directly from (in this case, Canada), but I can't find that text exactly now... still looking through my browser history.

If I fly SFO-YYZ-ZRH on Air Canada, there should be no terminal change, right?

Would I be required to quarantine in Zurich, or could I do so in Geneva (my final destination)?

Last edited by DesertNomad; Aug 7, 20 at 3:10 pm
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Old Aug 7, 20, 3:20 pm
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Here is what TIMATIC provides for a USN destined for CH with a transit in CA. Note that I cut the section dealing with Canada as well as a laundry list of other exemptions which are less than likely to apply to you. You should, of course, look this up yourself in TIMATIC, read it thoroughly, and make your own determination. This is what the check-in agent will see on her screen:Information as of 07AUG20 / 2115 UTC
National USA (US) /Embarkation USA (US)
Transit Canada (CA) /Destination Switzerland (CH)

Switzerland (CH)
Passengers are not allowed to enter.
- This does not apply to family members of nationals of EEA
Member States
. They must present proof of their
relationship.
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Old Aug 7, 20, 4:42 pm
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You are not entering Switzerland from Canada as you will not be allowed to enter - only transit.
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Old Aug 7, 20, 6:12 pm
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Maybe not related, but I was travelling from DTW-YYZ on Delta and while checking my bag, the gate agent mentioned that if I had a US passport instead of a Canadian passport, I would need show proof (document) that it is essential travel.
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Old Aug 7, 20, 6:16 pm
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OP is not entering Canada. Canada permits transit so long as there is no terminal change, e.g., stays on the sterile side of immigration. This may limit the choices of carrier. But, as noted, it's really irrelevant as OP is a USN originating in the US and won't be permitted entry to Switzerland.
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Old Aug 7, 20, 6:48 pm
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If you add zrh-ist segment you should be able to mitigate airline checkin rejection concern.
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Old Aug 7, 20, 6:49 pm
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The SEM (Swiss Immigration) site says "A person with US citizenship may not enter Switzerland directly from the USA, as the USA is considered a high-risk country. However, they may enter Switzerland from Canada – provided they satisfy the normal entry requirements."

I believe even with this itinerary that OP is indeed traveling directly from the US, because as I think we know, an itinerary of US to CH is your origin and destination regardless of your transfers in between. A stopover in CA would work (if we were allowed to), then after you satisfied their quarantine you could move on to CH.
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Old Aug 7, 20, 6:51 pm
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Originally Posted by scott429 View Post
The SEM (Swiss Immigration) site says "A person with US citizenship may not enter Switzerland directly from the USA, as the USA is considered a high-risk country. However, they may enter Switzerland from Canada – provided they satisfy the normal entry requirements."

I believe even with this itinerary that OP is indeed traveling directly from the US, because as I think we know, an itinerary of US to CH is your origin and destination regardless of your transfers in between. A stopover in CA would work (if we were allowed to), then after you satisfied their quarantine you could move on to CH.
That is how I'm reading it too - and given that entry requirements to Canada require your travel to be essential AND you have to be quarantining for 2 weeks, that's probably not gonna work for OP.
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Old Aug 7, 20, 8:34 pm
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Ok, that may be true. Any idea if flying to Turkey first (and quarantining if need be) and then going IST-ZRH and later continuing to SFO would work? Maybe it's not possible... just looking for any way to get there.

I see that Turkey is not listed here:

https://www.sem.admin.ch/sem/en/home...countries.html

However, Croatia is and I think Americans can go to Croatia. So maybe SFO-YYZ-ZRH-ZAG, then ZAG-ZRH and later ZRH-SFO.

TIMATIC says:This does not apply to:

1. nationals of a European Union member state, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway. This includes their family members provided holding proof of the relationship;
2. residents of Switzerland or Liechtenstein;
3. Passengers in a documented relationship with a Swiss national provided they hold proof of their relationship;
4. passengers with a type "D" visa issued by Switzerland or a type "C" Schengen visa issued by Switzerland after 2020 March 16;
5. passengers arriving from a Schengen Area member state;
6. passengers arriving directly from Andorra, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, Japan, Korea (South), Monaco, Morocco, New Zealand, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay or Vatican;
7. residents of a Schengen Area member state, provided they are returning directly to their country of residence through Switzerland;
8. passengers travelling for justified reasons, provided their reason for travel has been certified by Swiss representations abroad;
9. crew members and staff of cargo flights.

#6 would seem to apply to this plan.

#8 is a remote possibility if I could convince the Swiss Consulate in SFO with documentation from a citizen there.

What's the best way to get from the US to Croatia right now?

Last edited by DesertNomad; Aug 7, 20 at 8:50 pm
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Old Aug 7, 20, 10:21 pm
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Originally Posted by DesertNomad View Post
I am a US citizen resident in the US and need to attend an important meeting in Switzerland that can only be conducted in person.
OP: Sorry to hear of your situation, but your thread has the potential of being a highly interesting one for the FT masses. All you need to do is to add context to the mandate requiring in-person attendance: Are you facing a court date? Need to serve a prison sentence? Required to bring bearer bonds to a Russian oligarch?

In all seriousness, hope you get this squared away. Do keep us informed.
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Old Aug 7, 20, 11:09 pm
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Originally Posted by DesertNomad View Post
6. passengers arriving directly from Andorra, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, Japan, Korea (South), Monaco, Morocco, New Zealand, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay or Vatican;
Curiously, I think the interpretation of this section of the rules by the Swiss border police considers your entire itinerary, not only where your inbound flight arrived from.

Case in point: I flew YYC-ORD-ZRH a few days ago. I emailed the Swiss Immigration Ministry beforehand to clarify my situation and they highlighted the exemption that notes arriving from a low risk country stating that would apply to me. At passport control in ZRH they simply asked me how long was I in ORD (2 hours) and they waved me on my way. So I believe this means they considered me as arriving from Canada even though it wasn't directly.

NB: I qualify for access under another exemption but I didn't need to produce or even mention this to the Swiss authorities.
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