COVID-19 certificate

2. Scope of the COVID certificate

The COVID certificate is a standardized, reliable, forgery-proof tool, recognized nationally and internationally. It is to be used by people who have been vaccinated, cured or recently tested negative. 

1) Scope of the COVID certificate in Switzerland

Since 13th September 2021, in view of the current epidemiological situation and the occupancy of hospital beds, the Federal Council has decided to extend the use of the Covid Certificate.  

Since 1st July 2021, the COVID-19 certificate has been compulsory for major events with 1,000 or more people in clubs, discotheques and dance parties (the so-called red area).

Consult the measures implemented in the canton of Geneva from 13th September.

Covid Certificate Rules regulations
Covid Certificate Rules regulations

Three areas of application for the COVID-19 Certificate in Switzerland as identified by the Federal Council


Green area The COVID certificate cannot be requested (areas of everyday life such as public transport, retail outlets, educational premises).

You will not need to present a certificate in the following situations and the general protection plans and prescribed hygiene measures will continue to apply without exception in these places: public transport; retail outlets; private, religious or opinion-forming events; personal services, e.g. hairdressing salons, therapeutic offers; places of work and training (including canteens).

Orange area

The COVID certificate can be used as an optional limitation for bars, restaurants, fairs, leisure, sport and entertainment establishments such as theatres, cinemas, casinos, swimming pools, associations. Organisers can request the certificate in order to lighten their sanitary and protection measures.

In heavily attended venues, the COVID certificate should not be required for access as long as the epidemiological situation permits. For these venues, the COVID certificate could be used in the event of a worsening epidemiological situation to avoid closures or capacity restrictions.

Red area

The COVID certificate is mandatory for large events, discos and dance events. On the one hand, these situations depend on the policy adopted by other countries (international passenger transport) and, on the other hand, they involve places which, from an epidemiological point of view, are so sensitive that their opening can only be authorised with the use of a COVID certificate.


In contrast to the previous section, for large events (>1000 people), clubs, discos and dance events, protection plans and capacity restrictions cannot be completely dispensed with from the outset. 


For international passenger transport, see below.


More information:

Use of the COVID certificate (FOPH)


2) COVID Certificate for travelling abroad

With regards to international passenger transport, the length 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 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).

HUG - General information concerning COVID tests: List of countries

See also : European Union information website on the various measures in place in different countries, including on quarantine and testing requirements for travellers.


3) The COVID "light" certificate

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.

Generated by the FOPH's servers in the same way as the basic certificates via the "Covid Cert" application, this version aims to limit the circulation of personal health data associated with the Covid certificate, as it contains only the surname, first name and date of birth of the holder, but no information on the immune status and the way in which the certificate was obtained.

This version may be useful as of 13 September, when the certificate will be requested much more frequently in Switzerland.

 The "light" version can only be used in Switzerland and is valid for 48 hours, due to data protection issues as well as the validity of certificates obtained through negative testing.

How to obtain the "light" version of the COVID Certificate?

  • Open the "Covid Cert" application on your smartphone.
  • Press the QR code of your certificate to access the options.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the screen that displays your QR code again and press the "Certificate light" option.
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the explanations for the light version.
  • Press the large blue "Activate" button to generate the light certificate. The certificate appears as a blue (not black) QR code. It contains a 48-hour countdown for the validity of the certificate. When this light certificate has expired, a new one can be generated by repeating the above procedure.
  • To revert to the normal version of the certificate - e.g. for presentation abroad - simply press the red "Deactivate" button (you will have to scroll down to reach this button).


 4) When can one obtain a COVID certificate?

Depending on the personal situation of each individual (vaccination, cured and documented COVID-19 disease with or without vaccination, negative PCR or antigenic test), the procedure for obtaining a COVID certificate is not the same. In all cases, the COVID certificate is issued free of charge.

People who are vaccinated with a dose of Janssen® vaccine receive a COVID certificate of vaccination which is valid for 22 days after the injection. During this period, they can undergo rapid antigenic tests to obtain a valid COVID certificate. These tests are paid for by the Confederation on presentation, at the screening appointment, of their vaccination certificate.

 COVID certificate diagram (in French only)

Demande de certificat
Demande de certificat

Do you have a question regarding the COVID certificate?

You may consult the FAQ list or contact the COVID-19 general information ligne (0800 909 400) - free call  - 7/7 - 8h-19h.

From Switzerland: 0800 909 400
From abroad: 41 22 427 8590

Dernière modification
14 October 2021
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