COVID-19 certificate

6. FAQ on the COVID certificate

The following frequently asked questions will be regularly updated and completed. 

 

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 for persons vaccinated from 21 June onwards; 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 validity length of my COVID certificate?

It depends on how you obtained it:

  • After a vaccination: valid for 6 months* (180 days following the administration of the last dose of vaccine)
  • After a cured COVID-19: valid for 6 months* (please note that the validity of the certificate starts on the 11th day after the positive test result and lasts 180 days following the test result).
  • With a negative PCR test: valid 72 hours starting from the time of sample collection
  • With an antigenic (rapid) test: valid 24 hours starting from the time of sample collection (please note that it is not necessarily recognised everywhere outside Switzerland).

* This time frame related to vaccination or to post COVID recovery may change (i.e. be extended) 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.

 

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

The Swiss COVID certificate is intended to be internationally compatible with the digital green certificate developed by the European Union, which is due to come into force on 1st July.

However, a COVID certificate valid in Switzerland does not guarantee entry into other countries, as each State may issue and adapt its own entry regulations according to the evolution of the epidemiological situation.

This is also the case within the European Union (EU) and the Schengen zone. Like the digital green certificate issued in Europe, the COVID certificate should facilitate the freedom of travel for people in Europe, but it will not be a condition for freedom of travel. 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.

For the EU area, there is a dedicated website where you can find out about the provisions in force in the various EU countries.

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).

HUG - General information concerning COVID tests: List of countries

 

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.
 

I have a trip planned in 3 days and I won't receive my COVID certificate before the end of the month. What can I do?

It will be possible to obtain your COVID certificate at the earliest on 21 June.

For anyone who has to travel before that date, the other documents currently in use are still valid and can be presented (eg: international yellow vaccination booklet, negative PCR test, etc.).

The documents to be presented for travel may depend on the rules in force in the country you intend to visit. It is therefore necessary to find out about the entry conditions in terms of health measures in the country you wish to travel to as well as in countries of transit.

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).

HUG - General information concerning COVID tests: List of countries

 


 

How can one obtain a COVID certificate?

Depending on the context (following a vaccination, following a cured COVID 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.

You will find on this website, the details for each step.

How do I 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" application allows people to store their COVID certificate (and those of their relatives) on their mobile phone.
  2. The "COVID Certificate Check" 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.

 

Why is my consent needed to obtain my certificate?

In order to comply with the data protection requirements of the Federal Data Protection Act (DPA) and the Cantonal Act on Public Information, Access to Documents and the Protection of Personal Data (LIPAD), COVID certificates will not be issued automatically and their issuance will require active consent from the person vaccinated, tested or cured. 

This is because this process involves transferring your data to the Confederation's certificate generation system. The data received by the Confederation is only used to generate the certificate and is not stored.

So, for example, in the context of vaccination, whether you are already fully vaccinated before 21st June and therefore receive your certificate digitally, or whether you still need to be vaccinated as from 21st June, in which case you will receive your certificate directly at your vaccination centre, your consent will be required before your certificate is issued. A transfer of your medical data from the vaccination site to the federal system is carried out in order to produce the certificate.

 

I received a digit code by SMS after having registered for a COVID certificate. What must I do with it?

This code is necessary to obtain your COVID certificate if you were vaccinated between 4th January and 21st June.

You must save this code because you will need to use it when the link to download your certificate is sent to you by SMS. Without this code, you will not be able to access your certificate once it has been issued by the Confederation. 

This code allows the issuing authorities to ensure that the person downloading the certificate is the person who requested it when filling in the online form.
 

I was vaccinated in January and I haven't received an SMS inviting me to register online for a COVID certificate. Is this normal?

As you are already fully vaccinated before 21st June, you will receive your certificate digitally (provided that you gave a mobile phone number when you registered or were vaccinated). This is the only way for you to receive your certificate.

If you entered your mobile phone number correctly when you registered, you should have received a first "control" SMS on Tuesday 8 June inviting you to consult the ge.ch website to find out more about the COVID certificate. If you did not receive this SMS on Tuesday 8th June, please consult the ge.ch website regularly. A solution to enable you to obtain a vaccination certificate is currently being developed.

If you did receive on the 8th June thisfirst control SMS, a second SMS will be sent to you between 9th and 22th June, asking you to confirm your wish to receive a COVID certificate by filling in an online form accessible via a link. The date of this second SMS is not linked to the date on which you were vaccinated.

If you did not provided a mobile phone number when you were vaccinated, a solution to enable you to obtain a vaccination certificate is currently being developed.

 

I don't have a mobile phone. 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 SMS between now and 22nd June which is addressed to you by name as it concerns your COVID certificate.

If you wish to obtain your certificate, you must tell your relative that you authorise him/her to register on line requesting to be sent the COVID certificate on your behalf, as you are informed of the process underway. 

After this confirmation, your relative will also receive the secret code by SMS, which he or she should keep carefully. This code will be used to download the digital copy of your COVID certificate that will be sent to your relative afterwards by means of another SMS.

If this code is lost, your relative will not be able to access your COVID certificate.

Once your relative has received the digital copy of your COVID certificate, he or she will be able to print out a paper copy and give it to you.

We thank all helpers, friend and family members for their kind assistance!
 

I signed up one or many close relatives or friends for vaccination using my mobile phone. What must I do with all the SMS that I receive?

If you used your mobile phone to register yourself and other people for vaccination, you will receive several SMS messages between now and 22th June - one SMS message per COVID certificate for each of these people and for yourself. Each SMS will give access to a different registration form for each certificate.

We would be grateful if you could contact your family member(s) and/or friends to inform them of the current process. If these persons wish to receive their COVID certificate, it is up to you to ensure the necessary follow-up by registering them on their behalf. 

After this registration, it will also be you who will receive the secret 6 digit code(s) by SMS - one per person vaccinated - which you should keep carefully. Each code will be used to download the digital copy of each COVID certificate that you will receive by means of a fourth SMS sent to you by the authorities. 

If you lose the secret code(s), you will not be able to access your COVID certificates, neither for yourself nor for your relatives or friends.

Once you have received the digital copies of the COVID certificates, you can print out paper copies and pass them on to your relatives or friends as soon as possible.

Thank you very much for your help!

 

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, all you have to do is copy the web link received in the SMS into the internet browser window on a computer. The form to apply for the COVID certificate is available online. 

The six-digit secret code will also be sent to you by SMS. You will have to keep it carefully until you receive the last SMS with the web link allowing you to download your certificate. Again, you can copy this web link into the internet browser window on a computer. The certificate will be available online.

 

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 which allows this operation is available free of charge on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
 

 


What must I do if I lose my mobile phone where I stored 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:

  • For the vaccination certificate, a solution is being worked out.
  • For the certificate of recovery (cured persons), it is possible to make a new request via the Confederation's form which will be put online on 14th June.
  • For the test certificate, it is possible to request a copy from the institution where you were tested.
     

I didn't mention a mobile phone number when I registered for vaccination. Can I still receive a COVID Certificate?

Yes. For people who do not have access to digital tools, for people who did not provide or who incorrectly provided a mobile phone number when registering for the vaccination, or for those who have meanwhile cancelled their mobile phone subscription or changed their mobile number, an alternative solution is currently being developed.

 

I changed my mobile phone number since I registered for vaccination. What should I do?

For people who do not have access to digital tools, for people who did not provide or who incorrectly provided a mobile phone number when registering for the vaccination, or for those who have meanwhile cancelled their mobile phone subscription or changed their mobile number, an alternative solution is currently being developed.

 

There is a spelling 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: A solution for applying for a revised certificate is currently being developed and will be available online on this website.

 

I was vaccinated in a pharmacy. How may I obtain my COVID certificate?

If you have been fully vaccinated before 21st June and have provided a mobile phone number, you will receive an SMS inviting you to obtain a certificate.

If you did not provide a mobile phone number when you were vaccinated, a solution for obtaining the certificate is currently being developed.

 

The vaccination centre where I was vaccinated has closed. Will I be able to receive my COVID certificate?

Yes, in all cases. If you have been fully vaccinated before 21st June and have provided a mobile phone number, you will receive an SMS inviting you to register online to obtain a certificate.

If you did not provide a mobile phone number when you were vaccinated, a solution for obtaining the certificate is currently being developed.

And for those vaccinated from 21st June onwards, certificates will be issued directly at the vaccination centres.

 

Can I receive a COVID certificate in Geneva if I was vaccinated abroad?

The issue of vaccines administered abroad that could be included in the COVID certificate is currently under consideration. In order to ensure compatibility with the EU, this issue will also depend on the legal modalities of the planned "digital green certificate" at EU level.

 

 


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

The COVID certificate is valid as soon as it is issued. The obligation to present it for travel depends on each country.

The period of time before the COVID certificate is valid and 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 in terms of sanitary measures applicable in the country you wish to travel to and also in all countries of transit.

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).

HUG - General information concerning COVID tests: List of countries

 

Are the vaccination certificates I received when I was vaccinated valid? Can they 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.

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).

HUG - General information concerning COVID tests: List of countries

 

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.

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).

HUG - General information concerning COVID tests: List of countries

 

 


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. A solution for obtaining a duplicate is currently being developed.

 

 
Check also:

Frequently asked questions (FOPH)

 

If you have any further questions regarding the COVID certificate, please do not hesitate to call the COVID-19 general information lines :
 

Geneva
COVID-19 general information ligne (0800 909 400) - free call  - 7/7 - 8h-19h
(dial 0041 800 909 400 from abroad)

Switzerland
General questions about the certificate : FOPH coronavirus infoline (41 58 463 00 00) - 7/7 - 6h-23h
Questions about the " COVID Certificate " application : (41 58 466 07 99)

Dernière modification
12 June 2021
Vos remarques nous aideront à améliorer le site.