COVID-19 certificate

7. FAQ on the COVID certificate

 

COVID Certificate - in general

What does the COVID certificate look like?

The COVID certificate consists of a QR code generated by the Confederation, with the consent of the person concerned, and issued at cantonal level by the competent authorities (e.g. vaccination centres; testing centres, analysis laboratories etc.).

Depending on the case, the COVID certificate can be issued either in PDF format by digital means or in paper format.

  • In addition to the surname, first name, date of birth and a certificate number, the COVID certificate in paper form contains information on the COVID-19 vaccination, the illness recovery or the negative result of a PCR test or a rapid antigen test. The QR code is the central element of the COVID certificate. An electronic signature of the Swiss Confederation makes it unforgeable and guarantees the authenticity of the document.
     
  • The digital version of the COVID certificate can be used via the "COVID Certificate" application, which you can download free of charge from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. All you have to do is scan the QR code of your COVID certificate with the application and save it on your phone. No data is saved in a centralised system.

You will be able to store multiple certificates in the COVID Certificate application, (e.g. multiple negative test results but also certificates of family members). The application will also inform you about the validity of your certificate and its expiry date in Switzerland.

To present the certificate, you can either use the paper document or the QR code on your phone.

Caution
In general, when inspected, your COVID certificate is only valid if it is presented together with your identity document. The information (surname and first name) on the COVID certificate must be identical to that on your identity document.
We invite you to check that these data match upon receipt of your certificate and to report any necessary corrections to the authority issuing your certificate.

 

What is the COVID "light" certificate?

Since the suspension of measures for an enhanced implementation of the COVID certificate in Switzerland effective from 17th February 2022, this certificate is currently no longer necessary.

The "light" version of the Covid certificate is only used in Switzerland. Its existence was imposed by the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner to ensure data minimisation.

 

What is the validity length of my COVID certificate?

It depends on how you obtained it:

  • Certificate of vaccination COVID-19 valid for 9 months:
    • Valid after the last dose of a full 2-dose mRNA vaccination scheme or 1 recovery + 1 dose or from the 22nd day after the Janssen® vaccine dose.
    • Valid after the booster dose.
       
  • Certificate of recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infection valid 6 months: 
    • Following a positive PCR test and from the 11th day after the positive result.
       
  • COVID-19 test certificate following a negative test result for SARS-CoV-2:
    • Valid 24 hours after sampling for a rapid antigen test, and only following a nasopharyngeal swab;
    • Valid for 72 hours for a PCR test.

Time frames related to vaccination or to post COVID recovery may change (i.e. be extended or shortened) depending on the state of knowledge about the duration of immunity and the standards required by the European Union. In this case, you will not need to do anything as the extension will be implemented automatically and will be displayed on the QR code.

 

What is the "Swiss" COVID certificate?

Since the suspension of the measures relating to an enhanced application in Switzerland of the COVID certificate effective from 17th February 2022, the "Swiss" COVID certificates, recognised only in Switzerland, are no longer valid and are no longer issued.

These certificates included the Swiss COVID certificate in case of recovery, the Swiss COVID certificate for vaccination for tourists (valid for 30 days) and the Swiss COVID-19 derogation certificate for people unable to be vaccinated or tested due to a severe mental illness. 

Swiss certificates issued until 16th February 2022 remain valid until their expiry date.
 

Can a person have more than one COVID-19 certificate?

Yes, because there are three ways to obtain a COVID-19 certificate (vaccination, cure and test). For example, a vaccinated person, who has obtained a vaccination certificate, could - if tested - also receive a negative test certificate for a limited period of time. The same applies to a cured person. Both certificates of this person will each have a specific QR code. Each one will be valid for its assigned period.

Furthermore, with the introduction of the booster dose, it is now also possible to have 2 vaccination certificates. Both certificates are valid. It is not necessary to present both certificates in the case of a control. One certificate is sufficient to prove that you are not contagious to SARS-COV-2.

When the first certificate, which was received following the first vaccination scheme (2 doses or 1 recovery + 1 dose) expires the vaccination certificate received following the booster dose will take over.
 

How to control a COVID certificate?

To check the QR code on a COVID certificate, the "COVID Certificate Check" application must be used. Only this APP can guarantee that the certificate presented and the data it contains are authentic and have not been manipulated.

The following data is displayed:

  • name
  • first name
  • date of birth
  • verification result: green (valid) or red (invalid).

To ensure that the QR code presented belongs to the person, one must control that the name and date of birth in the "COVID Certificate" application match the data on the identity document presented with a photo (e.g. identity card, passport, driving licence, residence permit, student card, SwissPass or Caritas CultureCard) and that the photo on the identity document matches the person.
 

Difference between «2G» and «3G»

The verification mode depends on the rules applicable for the respective organisation/event. In the case of the «3G» rule, COVID certificates are accepted for people who have been vaccinated, or who have recovered or tested negative. In the case of the «2G» rule, COVID certificates are accepted for people who have been vaccinated or who have recovered. «Light» certificates can be verified solely in «3G» mode.

Mode Vaccination Recovery  Test Light Certificate
3G yes

yes

yes yes
2G yes yes no no

 

Since the suspension of the measures relating to the reinforced application in Switzerland of the COVID certificate to combat the spread of the coronavirus, effective since 17th February 2022, the 2G and 2G+ rule inside certain establishments such as cinemas, theatres and restaurants, as well as the 3G rule for outdoor events for 300 persons or more, have been suspended.

See also : FOPH Checklist: How do I check a Swiss COVID certificate? 

 

How does one obtain a COVID certificate?

There are three types of COVID certificates: vaccination, cured COVID illness or negative test.

Depending on the context (following vaccination, following a cured COVID illness of less than 6 months and documented by a PCR test, or following a negative PCR or antigenic test), the procedure to obtain a COVID certificate will not be the same.

Certificat COVID mai 2022Download the document in French Délivrance de certificat COVID


See also:

How to download the COVID certificate application in order to register my certificate on my mobile phone?

Certificats COVID APP
Certificats COVID APP

 

There are two applications available:

 
  1. The "COVID Certificate" (blue) application allows people to store their COVID certificate (and those of their relatives) on their mobile phone.
  2. The "COVID Certificate Check" (green) application is used to check the authenticity and validity of a COVID certificate. It scans the QR code on the paper certificate or on a mobile phone.

Both APPs are available for free on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.


 

There is a mistake in my name on my COVID certificate? What must I do?

The COVID certificate is personal. When checked, the certificate holder may be asked to prove his or her identity by means of an official identification document with a photo (e.g. an identity card). 

The information on the certificate - surname(s), first name(s), date of birth - should be identical to the information on the identity document.

Upon receipt of your certificate, please check that the data matches. If such is not the case, a new certificate may be requested.  

  • For a test certificate: please report any necessary corrections to the authority who issued your certificate.
  • For a vaccination* or a post-cure certificate: to obtain a new, corrected certificate, please apply online by filling in the COVID Certificates e-démarches application form | ge.ch , or you may contact the COVID-19 Green Line directly (0800 909 400).

I lost my mobile phone with my COVID certificate, and I don't have a paper version of this COVID certificate?

If you lose your mobile phone where you stored your certificate using the « COVID Certificate Check », or the  « COVID Certificate » application, and if you don't have a paper document, you can obtain a duplicate in the following way:

 

 


COVID Certificate and travel 

Where shall I be able to travel with my COVID certificate?

The Swiss COVID certificate is internationally compatible with the digital certificate developed by the European Union, which has officially recognised the Swiss COVID certificate as equivalent.

However, a COVID certificate is not a guarantee for entry into other countries, as each state may enact and adapt its own entry regulations according to the evolution of the epidemiological situation. This is why the COVID certificate states: "This certificate is not a travel document / Le présent certificat n'est pas un document de voyage."

As far as its use in the European Union (EU) and the Schengen area is concerned, just like the digital certificate issued in Europe, the COVID certificate should facilitate the free circulation of persons in the EU and the Schengen area, but it will not be a condition for free circulation. Border crossings will ultimately depend on each state.

If you are travelling abroad, you should find out about the health requirements of the country you intend to visit and - if applicable - of the transit countries if you are travelling by land.

See also :

 

I intend travelling with my family during the holidays. Will my certificate cover my children?

No. The certificate applies on an individual basis only. You should check with your travel agent or the appropriate authorities of the country you intend to visit to find out how children and young people can enter their territory.
 

As from when will my COVID certificate be valid to travel?

The COVID vaccination or test certificates are valid as soon as they are issued. The recovery certificate is valid as from the 11th day following a positive PCR test result.

The obligation to present it for travel depends on each country.

The length of validity of the certificate may depend on the rules in force in the country you intend to visit. It is therefore necessary to find out about each State entry conditions and sanitary measures applicable in the country you wish to travel to and also in all countries of transit.

See also :

 

Does my COVID certificate allow me to return to Switzerland without restrictions after a trip abroad?

All sanitary measures applied at the borders for entry into Switzerland are currently lifted. It is therefore no longer necessary to present a certificate of vaccination or recovery, a negative test or an entry form.

See also:
COVID-19 - Travelling and quarantine
FOPH website Coronavirus- Entering in Switzerland.

 

 

 Other official documents vs COVID certificate

Can the vaccination certificates I received when I was vaccinated replace the COVID certificate?

The certificates issued by your vaccination centre may not be recognised abroad. They cannot replace the COVID certificate when this is explicitly requested.

It is therefore necessary to find out about the entry conditions in your destination country and any countries of transit, in terms of sanitary requirements.

See also :

If you are planning to travel and your destination country requires you to have a booster vaccination, don't forget the following documents:
1) your COVID certificate of vaccination;
2) your identity card or passport;
3) proof of recovery from a COVID infection.

 

How about my yellow international vaccination leaflet? Can it remplace the COVID certificate?

This document may not be recognised in all countries.

It is therefore necessary to find out about the entry conditions in your destination country and any countries of transit, in terms of health measures.

See also :

 

 


Data security 

Where will my data be stored for the COVID certificate?

The COVID certificate is only stored locally, in your mobile phone application (using the « COVID Certificate Check », or the  « COVID Certificate » applications). Neither personal data nor certificates are stored in a centralised system.

If your mobile phone where you stored your certificate or your paper document is lost, a new certificate must be requested. To obtain a new certificate, you can apply online, by filling in online the COVID Certificates e-démarches application form | ge.ch.

 

 

Check also:

Frequently asked questions (FOPH)

 

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Last updated
10 May 2022

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