The corona virus is spreading around the world at lightning speed. On 11 March, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The virus’s spread, or rather states’ reactions to it, may have a major impact on your emigration plans, whether in regards to aspects of health, the economy or restrictions on entry.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 11, 2020
Travel restrictions for Swiss nationals
The advance of the virus has already massively affected international movement. For example, the USA has imposed an travel restrictions on Europeans, Germany has largely closed its borders with Switzerland, and Austria has suspended rail and air travel to Switzerland. Other countries have also explicitly prohibited entry from Switzerland, such as the Czech Republic or Serbia.
Moreover, in many other countries, whole areas have been quarantined, meaning that entry or exit is restricted or even completely illegal. The situation is extremely dynamic, changing almost every hour; more restrictions are to be expected everywhere in the world.
Such and other measures naturally also have consequences for the emigration plans of many Swiss people. These people are now forced to wait und observe the situation carefully for the time being. If you are in such a situation, be aware that you may not be able to enter your destination country at the moment at all – immigration would thus be impossible. Contact the embassy of your destination country in Switzerland to find out what the current regulations are and what this means for you specifically. You can find their contact details here. An additional aid is the FDFA Travel Admin App.
Prioritize your health
If you may (still) enter the country of your choice due to a lack of restrictions, you should not forget about your (and others’) health. In principle, the situation can change rapidly in all countries, so that you yourself are at risk of infection. This would endanger not only your own health, but also that of your relatives and other fellow citizens. You should also bear in mind that health services in many countries are often more expensive and/or less developed than in Switzerland. If the system is overloaded by the pandemic, this can become even worse.
The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Council therefore strongly recommend that “non-emergency travel abroad” be avoided. If you can postpone your emigration, you should at least consider doing so.
If, despite everything, you wish to emigrate in the near future, you should find out about the current situation in your destination country and follow the FOPH’s hygiene recommendations and those of local authorities.
Attention to increased economic risks
Meanwhile, fears of a recession and even a global economic crisis are spreading among some economists and journalists. This could also have consequences for you as an emigrant, especially if you are planning to set up a business in your destination country. While this is currently still a matter of speculation, you should not take those increased economic risks lightly.
Postponed, not abandoned
The situation for emigration is therefore not ideal at the moment. However, you do not necessarily have to give up your dreams and plans altogether. It is crucial, however, to adapt your schedule to the circumstances and act with foresight.
As described above, it is worthwhile following further developments closely and, if necessary, postponing or adapting your emigration plans a little. This will certainly not be easy for many of you. But as we at Soliswiss like to say: well thought out is half done. Even without the corona virus, emigration is a complicated undertaking that needs to be well thought out and planned. Hence, look on the bright side of it all, and use the extra time to further plan and refine your projects. This will significantly increase your chances of successfully emigrating in the long run.
The following collection of links should help you to get an overview:
- General up-to-date information from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) on COVID-19 (German, French or Italian only)
- Overview of the current situation according to the WHO
- Regular WHO updates (“Situation Reports”)
- FOPH on the situation in Switzerland and internationally
- FOPH recommendations for travellers
- FOPH hygiene recommendations
- WHO travel advice in connection with COVID-19
- Travel medical advice on safetravel.ch (German or French only)
- Contact details of foreign representations in Switzerland
- FDFA travel advice
- FDFA Travel Admin App