6 things expats in Switzerland need to know about in July 2022
As June comes to an end, expats in Switzerland should expect some major changes in the next 31 days. From the first same-sex marriages to disruption at airports and the start of the school summer holidays, here are six things expats and internationals need to know about in July 2022.
1. Same-sex marriage now legal in Switzerland
On July 1, same-sex couples will be able to get married in Switzerland for the first time. It follows a long campaign which resulted in a referendum in September 2021, where "Marriage for All" received strong support across most Swiss cantons.
Same-sex couples in registered partnerships will be allowed to convert their partnership into a marriage, allowing spouses to benefit from simplified naturalisation for citizenship and new adoption rights. After July 1, no more registered partnerships will be issued. If the weather in Switzerland holds, it is safe to say July is looking like a great month for a wedding.
2. Psychologists covered by basic Swiss health insurance
Another change at the start of the month is related to psychologists in the Swiss healthcare system. Before July 1, 2022, basic health insurance in Switzerland only covered mental health treatments prescribed by doctors and provided by psychiatrists.
Now, the cost of counselling by licenced psychologists will be covered by basic as well as supplemental health insurance packages. This follows a financial agreement between psychologists and health insurance providers, who have now agreed to offer the service.
3. Solar panels in Switzerland easier to instal
As part of their plan to instal more solar panels in Switzerland, the Federal Council has decided to relax planning laws relating to solar panels on facades, dams and noise barriers. A recent study found that the alpine nation is not exploiting its potential as a hub for wind and solar energy, something the government wants to rectify.
The council hopes the new laws will help accelerate the building of new solar panels in Switzerland. Alongside simplified planning permission for public buildings and infrastructure, from July 1, landlords and homeowners will no longer have to seek extensive planning approval to instal solar panels on their roofs.
4. New Swiss cars to be equipped with black boxes
As part of a series of regulations by the United Nations, new vehicles in Switzerland are to be equipped with their own “black boxes.” These devices gather technical data on the car like its speed, direction and location and are used by the emergency services when investigating crashes.
The idea was brought about by the UN Economic Commission for Europe, which wanted to gather more data on drivers in order to determine how road accidents are caused. The new black box data will allow authorities to reconstruct the events of a crash from five seconds before the incident to when the car stops.
5. Summer of disruption at Swiss airports and roads continues
As the holidays get into full swing, there have been repeated warnings of delays and disruption in Swiss airports and motorways. With the end of COVID restrictions in Switzerland, many holidaymakers are set to go abroad this summer, leading to high demand in an aviation sector that is still recovering from the pandemic.
This has forced many airlines, like SWISS, to cancel a number of flights in July and August, with many more cancellations planned for later in the year. It follows warnings from experts that airports in Switzerland could come under great pressure this summer, as staff shortages and higher demand put excessive strain on aviation workers.
On the roads, the Touring Club of Switzerland has warned that this year will see record-breaking traffic jams in the alpine nation, especially during peak times on Fridays and the weekend. If you are planning to travel in July, make sure you are prepared to wait and perhaps consider travelling on quieter days of the week.
6. Beginning of the school holidays in Switzerland
Despite the looming disruption on the roads and at airports, many children will be looking forward to the start of the school holidays. For many, 2022 will be the first time in three years that a summer holiday has gone ahead without COVID restrictions on travel and leisure, meaning many will be looking forward to their first trips away in a long time.
For those staying here, Swiss historical sites, mountain railways, castles, museums and lakes are all here to give you a grand day out. Whatever you choose to do at the height of summer this year, we hope you enjoy yourself.