Last updated: 13 September  2020

This section describes the general travel restrictions in France and Switzerland. Since CERN straddles both Host States, CERN often issues its own specific instructions to guarantee the harmonisation of rules across all sites. The specific CERN instructions can be found here.


Travel within France

Travel within France is free (since 2 June). 

Since 20 July 2020, the wearing of masks is mandatory in certain enclosed areas, including public transport, shops and public administrations.

Up-to-date information on travel within France is available on the following website: Coronavirus: les reponses a vos questions


Travel within Switzerland

On all Swiss public transport, the wearing of masks is also mandatory. In addition, all individuals travelling from an area or country with a high risk of infection must go into quarantine on arrival in Switzerland, for 10 days, at home or in any suitable accommodation (cf. below “Entering Switzerland”).

Up-to-date information on measures taken in the Geneva canton is available here.


Entering France

From midnight on 15 June 2020, France lifted all travel restrictions at its internal borders in Europe (land, air and sea). Individuals travelling from a European Union member state, or from Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and Vatican City, may now enter French territory without restriction and are no longer obliged to hold an international certificate of special dispensation (attestation internationale de déplacement dérogatoire). Moreover, they are no longer required to quarantine for fourteen days when they enter France (cf.

An exception applies to individuals travelling from the United Kingdom, who are invited to self-isolate for fourteen days upon arrival in France. 

As of 31 July, in line with the recommendations issued by the European Commission, the external borders of the European Union and the Schengen area are open, under certain conditions, to travelers from 12 countries. Up-to-date information is available on the site Re-open EU.

The personnel of international organisations based or with an office in France, including CERN, as well as their spouses and children, are exempt from this self-isolation measure (unless they have symptoms). 

Upon arrival in France, all individuals travelling from a third country (all countries except for the European Union member states and Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Vatican City) must hold a certificate of special dispensation for travel to mainland France from third countries (attestation dérogatoire de déplacement vers la France métropolitaine depuis les pays tiers) and a sworn declaration that they have no COVID-19 symptoms. Although not mandatory for members of the personnel of international organisations, it is strongly advised that travellers arriving from a high-risk country present to the airline and border authorities the result of a negative COVID-19 test made within the 72 hours preceding their arrival in France, in order to facilitate their travel.


Entering Switzerland

Up-to-date information about rules of entry into Switzerland during covid-19 for people expected in an official capacity by international organisations

are available here.


1. Compulsory quarantine

The Swiss authorities have published a list of countries and areas with a high risk of coronavirus infection, updated at "Mandatory quarantine". It is important to consult this list regularly, as changes are made on very short notice (two days lead time!).

As of 6 July 2020, individuals who have spent time in a high-risk country or area at any point in the 14 days prior to entering Switzerland are required:

  •  to go, immediately after entering Switzerland, to their home or other suitable accommodation and to remain there at all times for 10 days;
  • to follow the instructions on quarantine (cf. instructions on quarantine);
  • to declare their arrival in Switzerland to the competent cantonal authority within two days and to follow their instructions.

Exemption is notably granted to people who spend brief amounts of time in Switzerland for urgent professional reasons that cannot be postponed and who:

  • enter Switzerland every day or for up to 5 days,
  • have spent time in a country or area with a high risk of infection for less than 24 hours as transit passengers,
  • or who enter Switzerland only to transit through it, who intend and are able to travel on directly to another country.


2. Lifting of certain entry restrictions (updated 8.9.20)

Since 5 June 2020, Switzerland’s borders have been open to individuals travelling from countries in the European Economic Area and from the United Kingdom (c.f. the associated ordinance). From that date onwards, freedom of movement between all countries in the Schengen area was fully re-established, as was full free movement for all EU/EFTA citizens. This measure also applies to citizens of countries that are not part of the Schengen zone but whose citizens enjoy free movement, namely citizens of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania (see Questions and answers). Citizens of third countries arriving from the countries listed above who do not enjoy free movement (e.g. if they do not have a valid long-term residency permit) remain subject to entry restrictions.

As of 16 August 2020, entry restrictions are also lifted for individuals travelling from the following countries: Andorra, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, Japan, Monaco, Morocco, New Zealand, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and Vatican City (please consult the up-to-date list here, annexe 1). As far as flights with transit are concerned, since the 31 August 2020, the country of origin detemines the entrance restrictions application and not the country of transit (please consult:

In this regard, you are reminded that:

• Members of the CERN personnel (and their family members) who are not required to hold a visa, arriving from a country for which the entry restrictions into Switzerland have not been lifted and who need to enter Switzerland to take up their duties, must be able to provide proof of their reason for entering Switzerland;

• The arrival of members of the personnel who are not required to hold a visa and who are coming to CERN for less than 90 days from countries for which the entry restrictions into Switzerland have not been lifted must be declared by CERN to the Swiss Permanent Mission in Geneva, at least five working days before the date of travel, through the Relations with the Host States service; the Swiss Mission will then draw up a document for each individual concerned, authorising them to enter Switzerland;

• Transit through Switzerland remains authorised, except for short stays unrelated to gainful employment (art. 4 of Ordinance 3 of 19 June 2020 );

• Holders of cartes de légitimation, Swiss permits or valid Schengen visas are authorised to enter Switzerland but remain subject to quarantine as set out above if they arrive from a country or area declared to be high risk.


CERN measures related to travel in the Host States

(updated on 13-09-20)

In response to the travel restrictions recently announced by the host states (Switzerland and France), CERN has established the specific measures below, applicable to all CERN sites. 

Anyone returning from a country/area with a high risk for COVID-19 infections classified as such by either Switzerland or France (select “Get the data” for the full list of countries):

  • Will have no access to the CERN site for 14 days upon arrival in France or Switzerland
  • Must announce their return to CERN’s Medical Service (+41 22 766 7777)
  • Employed members of personnel (MPE) and associated members of the personnel for the purpose of training (MPAt) will be required to respect 14 days of quarantine. For information on the modalities of work and leave during this period defined by CERN, consult the FAQ or the Annex 'CERN Instructions on COVID-19-related health and safety measures' – Travel  (behind CERN login). 
  • Associated members of personnel (MPA), contractors, etc. are expected to respect the instructions of the Host State(s) with respect to quarantine. Modalities of work or leave during the access prohibition are defined by the employer.

The Swiss list now includes a number of French regions, however, the region of Auvergne - Rhone-Alpes (which includes the departments of Ain and Haute Savoie) is not on the list and colleagues living in this area can therefore come to CERN. Switzerland is not on the French list.