Temporary derogation from flight ban for connections between Switzerland, the UK and South Africa

(Last modification 23.12.2020)

Bern, 23.12.2020 - Persons resident in the UK and South Africa currently in Switzerland, and persons resident in Switzerland currently in those two countries, will be able to return home from 24 December. The existing protective measures and quarantine rules apply.

Flights between Switzerland, the UK and South Africa have been suspended since midnight on Sunday. At the same time, the Federal Council requested the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications DETEC to work with the relevant government departments to examine the modalities of a temporary derogation from the flight ban to allow persons resident in the UK and South Africa to return home for Christmas.

The federal government has developed a plan to allow travellers to return home from 24 December. Departure from and entry into Switzerland will regulated as follows:

Departures to the UK and South Africa
Flights departing from Switzerland are generally intended to enable persons resident in the UK or South Africa currently in Switzerland to return home. The travel advice issued by the FDFA remains valid. Special protective measures apply to persons currently in quarantine. They will be kept apart from other travellers on the journey to the airport to minimise the epidemiological risk. The Federal Office of Public Health FOPH will work with the cantons to coordinate this special transfer service. Airlines are required to comply with existing protective health measures when operating these flights.

Entry into Switzerland from the UK and South Africa
There is a risk that persons entering Switzerland from these two countries may bring the new variant of coronavirus with them. For that reason, airlines must request a prior temporary derogation from the flight ban from the Federal Office of Civil Aviation FOCA for flights to enter Switzerland. Only the following categories of person may travel as passengers:

• Swiss citizens (incl. citizens of Liechtenstein)
• Holders of a Swiss residence permit or type D visa from Switzerland
• Holders of a ‘laisser passer’ issued by a Swiss representation in hardship cases

Airlines will be required to inform their passengers in an appropriate manner (e.g. in-flight announcement) that they must comply with Swiss quarantine rules on arrival.

Passengers should contact their airline directly to find out whether or not their flight is due to operate.

Important information for flight passengers via Travel Admin app
The Travel Admin app is a useful tool that travellers can use to register their journey, current location and contact details, which they can share with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA in case of emergency. All Swiss citizens currently in the UK or South Africa are requested to register their journey and their current location using the Travel Admin app → under ‘My journeys’. That way, the FDFA can send registered app users useful information if necessary. This is not possible if only a user profile has been created. It is worth noting that it is not possible to contact all travellers personally.

Address for enquiries

Media contacts:
Communications FOCA, Telephone


Federal Office of Civil Aviation

General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications; General Secretariat DETEC

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

Last modification 30.01.2017

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