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.

 

What is the validity length of my COVID certificate?

The recognition of the COVID certificate issued in Switzerland, the period of time before it becomes valid or the duration of its validity may depend on the regulations in force in the country where you intend to travel as well as the countries through which you may transit. It is therefore always necessary to find out about the entry conditions in terms of sanitary measures of the country you wish to travel to or transit through.

The Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) tropical medicine and travel unit provide a summary document with the list of country requirements in terms of medical certificates, PCR test, antigen test (RDT), COVID certificates of recovery or Covid vaccination certificates (in French only).

To find out which countries still require a COVID certificate, you can also check the following sites:

 

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

Yes, because there are three ways to obtain a COVID 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.
 

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.

Obtenir un certificat COVID

Download the document in French Délivrance de certificat COVID


See also:

Does a first vaccine dose entitle me to a COVID certificate?

Only complete vaccination (2 doses of mRNA vaccine or 1 cure + 1 dose of mRNA vaccine) entitles you to a COVID certificate. Therefore, if you have had COVID-19 and are cured (positive PCR test) and you get vaccinated, you will get a COVID certificate.

If not, you will need 2 doses of vaccine in order to get the COVID vaccination certificate. In the meantime, you will need to continue to be tested to obtain a certificate. During this time, you can be tested free of charge.

The Swiss Confederation will pay the costs of your tests to get a COVID certificate: 

  • if you have already received a first dose of an mRNA vaccine recognised in Switzerland and are waiting for the second injection. During this time, but at the latest six weeks after the first injection, the costs of obtaining your  COVID certificate are covered.
  • if you have been vaccinated with the Janssen vaccine and have to wait 22 days to obtain the COVID certificate. 

 

Useful tips to obtain a COVID certificate through digital access

  • To obtain COVID certificate through digital access and to fill in the COVID Certificates e-démarches application form | ge.ch, one needs a mobile phone, a computer and access to internet. Without these digital tools, one may contact the COVID-19 General information line (0800 909 400). 
     
  • The digitally issued COVID certificate can either be stored on one's phone using the COVID Certificate application, downloaded and saved to one's phone or computer (PDF format), or printed out in paper format. You can also take a screenshot on your mobile phone.
     
  • The "COVID Certificate" application (blue) can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. It allows you to store one or more certificates, e.g. those of your relatives (not to be confused with the "COVID Certificate Check" application (green), which is used to control the validity of COVID certificates.
     
  • For faster processing of applications, people who have received two or three doses of vaccine can contact the COVID-19 Green Line directly (0800 909 400).
     

How to register a COVID certificate on a smartphone or computer?

It is strongly recommended to save your certificate and store it on your mobile phone via the Covid Certificate APP. You can also save the pdf file on your computer or make a paper printout of your certificate.

For vaccinated persons who receive their certificate digitally, after having requested it by filling in the COVID Certificates e-démarches application form | ge.ch , it is necessary to provide an email adress and a mobile phone number.

Indeed, once the application for a COVID certificate has been validated, a download link is sent by email. After clicking on this link, the person receives a code by SMS that allows him or her to download the certificate onto his or her computer.
  

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.

 

I received a link by email after having registered for a COVID certificate. What must I do with it?

In certain contexts, this link is necessary to obtain your COVID certificate.

You must click on this link. Within a few minutes you should receive an SMS with a code. By entering this code in the field provided on your computer, you can then download your COVID certificate.  

If you did not receive an SMS after clicking on the link, try clicking on the link again after about ten minutes. If this still does not work, you should receive instructions on your screen. You can also contact the COVID-19 Green Line on 0800 909 400.

 

I don't have a mobile phone or an email address. A family member signed me up for vaccination. How must I obtain my COVID certificate?

You should inform your relative that he/she will receive an email or an SMS containing a code which is necessary to download your COVID certificate.

  • If your relative has only provided his/her email address and your mobile phone number was given at the time of application, you should ask your relative to contact you when he/she has received the link to download the COVID certificate by email. Once your relative has clicked on the link, you will receive a text message on your mobile phone, which your relative will need to enter on his/her computer, before he/she can download the certificate and send it to you.
  • If your relative has only provided his/her mobile phone number, and your email address has been provided, you should contact him/her as soon as you receive the email containing the download link. Your relative will receive the code that you will have to enter into your computer within minutes of clicking on the link in the email.
  • Finally, if your relative has provided his/her telephone number and email address, he/she can download the certificate on his/her own.
     

I signed up a number of close relatives or friends for vaccination using my mobile phone. What must I do with all the emails and SMS that I receive?

It is recommended that you complete the download process for each certificate from start to finish, before moving on to the next. A new download link in an email should not be clicked until the previous certificate has been downloaded, so that the codes received by SMS do not get mixed up. 

 

My mobile phone isn't a smartphone and it doesn't have an interactive screen. Will I still be able to receive my COVID certificate?

Yes, you will only receive a code by SMS, which can be entered on a computer. No other operation from your mobile phone will be necessary.  

 

Can I store my spouse's COVID certificate on my mobile phone?

Yes, it is perfectly possible to download several certificates, for example, the certificates of a spouse or children, and to keep them at hand on a single cell phone. The "COVID Certificate" application (lue) which allows this operation is available free of charge 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 by filling in online the COVID Certificates e-démarches application form | ge.ch.
 

 


COVID Certificate and travel 

How do I know if my COVID certificate is valid to travel abroad?

The time length before the COVID certificate is valid and the validity length of the certificate may depend on the rules in force in the country you intend to travel to as well as the countries through which you may transit. It is therefore always necessary to find out about the entry conditions in terms of sanitary measures of the country you wish to travel to or transit through.

The Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) tropical medicine and travel unit provide a summary document with the list of country requirements in terms of medical certificates, PCR test, antigen test (RDT), COVID certificates of recovery or Covid vaccination certificates (in French only).

To find out which countries still require a COVID certificate, you can also consult the following sites:

 

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.
 

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 :

 

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:

 

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Last updated
29 September 2022

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