Coronavirus: the COVID certificate basics

The COVID certificate provides documentary evidence that you have had a COVID-19 vaccination, have had and recovered from the disease or have tested negative. You can store the COVID certificate in paper form or in the COVID Certificate app.

What is the COVID certificate?

The COVID certificate is a way of documenting that you have had a COVID-19 vaccination, have had the disease or have a negative test result. You can request the COVID certificate on paper or as a PDF document with a QR code.

Besides the person’s first and last names, date of birth and a certificate number, the COVID certificate contains details of their COVID-19 vaccination, recovery, or negative PCR or rapid antigen test.  

Your personal details on the COVID certificate should correspond with those in your passport or on your ID card. This will ensure that you do not experience possible difficulties when your certificate is being checked against your identification document.

Below you will see examples of the COVID certificate for people who are vaccinated, have recovered, or have tested negative:


The COVID certificate in the COVID Certificate app

You can also use your COVID certificate in electronic form. To do so, the COVID Certificate app is available to download free from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery. With the COVID Certificate app you can then scan the QR code on your COVID certificate with your camera and save it on your mobile device. Your data are not stored in a central system.

You can store multiple COVID certificates in the dedicated app, e.g. several negative test results or the certificates of family members.

To show your COVID certificate you can present either the paper document or the electronic COVID certificate in the app. When your personal COVID certificate is checked, those performing the check will ask you to show photo identification (e.g. your ID card, passport, driving licence, residence permit, student ID card or SwissPass).

You can find information about travelling with the COVID certificate on the Travel page.

What is the COVID certificate, and how does it work? Find out in this short explanatory video.

The QR code and what it means

The heart of the certificate is the QR code. Thanks to the electronic signature of the Swiss Confederation, this makes the COVID certificate forgery-proof and guarantees that it is genuine.

Please note: The QR code used for your COVID certificate has limited technical validity. For the first COVID certificates issued up to 12 July 2021 in Switzerland, the QR code was limited to 365 days. This means the QR code has to be renewed after a certain period of time to enable the certificate to still be checked (for example abroad).

You can find out why you should renew the QR code and how to do this in the FAQ.

Do you only have your COVID certificate in paper form? Download the COVID Certificate app from the app store. With the COVID Certificate app you can scan the QR code from your COVID certificate with the camera to transfer it to your mobile device. If your QR code has expired for technical reasons you can renew it directly in the app.

What is a ‘certificate light’ and how do I generate one?

The ‘certificate light’ is a function in the COVID Certificate app. If you activate certificate light, on the basis of the data in your normal COVID certificate a new QR code is created that does not contain health data. The certificate light can only be used in Switzerland. For data protection reasons the certificate light must be activated again after 24 hours. You can deactivate the certificate light any time to return to the normal COVID certificate.  

Anleitung Zertifikat Light EN

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) 

Further information


All about the COVID-19 vaccination.


Testing strategy, coverage of the costs of tests, overview of the different types of tests and where to get tested

Last modification 01.09.2022

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Infoline Coronavirus
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