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I am flying from UK to Geneva for a ski holiday in France. Do we follow Swiss guidelines at airport and need to do PCR before we leave from Geneva? Or the French rules: we don’t?

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    Are you only transiting in Geneva (ie: will you continue your flight to a French airport?). Or do you intend to leave the Geneva airport and travel to France by land using the customs road (route douanière)? In the former case you do not enter Switzerland and do not need a test, in the latter you do enter Switzerland and you do need a test.
    – J...
    Jan 18 at 21:04
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    Despite all the good answers, you should know that often the people working at the airports don't know the rules themselves. I don't know if it's still the case but when I went from CGB > GRU > ZRH > AMS I didn't need a PCR test from CGB to GRU as it's domestic but they did ask me for a test. I also didn't need a test from GRU to ZRH because it was a connecting flight, but they also asked me for a test. Lastly, I did need a test from ZRH to AMS, but when I told them that I didn't have a test result because it was delayed, they said I didn't need one. You should probably get tested just in case Jan 19 at 11:39
  • @J: Geneva Cornavin (GVA) airport has the unique setup of being partially in Switzerland and partially in France; it has one exit door to the Swiss side and one to the French side.
    – smci
    Jan 20 at 15:38

2 Answers 2

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According to the Q&A: Genève Aéroport & Coronavirus / COVID-19 page:

I am a passenger arriving at Genève Aéroport, can I exit from the France sector, take the customs road towards France and thus avoid Swiss measures?

Even if you go through the French sector, you will have to go through Swiss formalities on the plane as your destination is Geneva. On arrival, you can then pass through the French sector, take the customs route and reach France. You will need to ensure that you meet the conditions to enter France.

From the Swiss formalities page:

On boarding: On boarding, everyone aged 16 and over intending to enter Switzerland by air or bus must be able to show the negative result of a PCR test (performed no more than 72 hours prior to boarding) or a rapid antigen test (performed no more than 24 hours previously). If you cannot show such a test you will not be allowed to board the aircraft or vehicle. Note: For people entering Switzerland from a country with a variant of concern, the test requirement on boarding already applies to those aged 6 and over.

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  • (-1) It is worth noting that those who travel to Switzerland by plane with the intention of immediately transferring to another plane to a destination outside of Switzerland do not require a Covid test. Therefore, the last paragraph of this answer should be scratched. Jan 19 at 19:33
  • @JacobHorbulyk: Are you sure about this? Pretty recently, a French minister was caught (in good faith) by the rules GregHewgill describes, and had to do a covid test for a flight from Paris to Geneva while she was only transiting in Geneva, France (Haute-Savoie) being her final destination: liberation.fr/checknews/…
    – tricasse
    Jan 20 at 9:24
  • @tricasse pretty sure she isn't flying to Haute-Savoie from Geneva.
    – xngtng
    Jan 20 at 14:54
  • @xngtng: She was flying to Haute-Savoie from Paris through (landing at) Geneva. So similar to OP, who even comes from a third-party, non-EU country and will therefore face at least as stringent rules.
    – tricasse
    Jan 20 at 15:09
  • @tricasse She probably took a train, bus or private car from Geneva to Haute-Savoie. The case is similar to OP, but the last paragraph in this answer is too absolute. If she had a subsequent flight from GVA to Annecy (if such thing existed), she would have been exempt from Swiss test requirement.
    – xngtng
    Jan 20 at 15:20
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All international (non-French) flights to Geneva are considered as flights to Switzerland and you will enter Switzerland.

You will need to follow the Swiss customs, immigration and Covid rules in effect, which may provide certain exemptions for transit passengers. Currently, to travel to Switzerland from the UK, a PCR test with 72 hours or a rapid antigen (lateral flow) test within 24 hours is required before boarding in addition to an entry form. The Swiss government provides a travel check tool that can provide more detailed information based on your situation (nationality, residence, travel history). Exceptions exist for children under 16 and transit passengers directly departing Switzerland for another country by plane without leaving the airport or changing the means of transportation.

At present, only fully vaccinated people can enter Switzerland for non-essential purposes, including transit to a country where you are not a resident.

Note that test requirement for fully vaccinated persons (or recovered within the last four months) would be abolished from 22nd of January. But again, Covid rules change often and you should use the travel check tool near and on your departure date.

Updated information can be found on the FOPH's website, including exceptions that may apply.

Of course, French rules will apply when you enter France and they may consider you as a traveller from the UK instead of Switzerland and apply the rules particular to travellers from the UK. In that case, a PCR or antigen test within 24 hours before your first flight from the UK will be required, in addition to declaration forms.

Note that Switzerland and France can apply different definitions of e.g. fully vaccinated so you would have to check the rules of both countries.

For your return trip to the United Kingdom, Switzerland and France are not treated differently for now. In any case, for the UK, it is your travel history during the past 10 days that matters. If you are returning to the UK directly from Geneva, you will be departing from the Swiss sector of the airport and the Swiss rules at that time will still apply.

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  • I think the crux of this question is whether or not the described itinerary counts as Airport transit: I enter only for transit, with the intention and the possibility of continuing directly to another country (the airport is not left). or Transit: I enter only for transit, with the intention and the possibility of continuing directly to another country (leaving the airport/ changing the means of transport). (The first case does not require a test, the second does.) Jan 19 at 19:36
  • @JacobHorbulyk I kind of assumed the ski vacation would be in the Chamonix region and a change of means of transport would be necessary. But I will add a note. Thanks.
    – xngtng
    Jan 19 at 20:43

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