What is the Vignette Switzerland?
The motorway Swiss vignette is a road tax sticker placed on the vehicle. The vignettes are mandatory to use on the national road network in Switzerland (‘Nationalstrassennetz’) both by international tourists and Swiss nationals. The Swiss road network consists of highways (motorways) as well as a few smaller roads.
The tax for using the first and second-class motorways in Switzerland has been charged since 1985. The Swiss vignette can be purchased only as a 1-year vignette, and its validity (14 months) starts on 1 December of the year preceding the year printed on the sticker until January 31 of the year following the year printed on the sticker. All motor vehicles and trailers whose total weight is up to 3.5t must use vignettes on Swiss motorways and national roads.
The Swiss authorities plan to introduce the e-vignette in 2023. The e-vignette will not replace the existing motorway tax sticker but will be used interchangeably. However, a digital vignette will be linked directly to the number plate instead of the vehicle, which means that it is not necessary to purchase an additional motorway tax sticker for another vehicle.
Anyone driving the Swiss motorway without having a valid motorway charge sticker is subject to a fine of CHF 200 excluding the cost of a vignette. The fine may also be imposed in case of misusing the motorway charge sticker, i.e., affixed incorrectly or damaged.
Forging a Swiss vignette leads to a report being filed with the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland. A fine also applies if the motorway charge sticker is used on several vehicles.
Prices and Validity
The official vignette for Swiss motorways is valid for 14 months. Validity starts on December 1 of the preceding year and lasts until January 31 of the next year. Switzerland offers only a one-year vignette.
Tip: If you want to buy a vignette for a trip in December, you should buy the one for the next year.
The one-year Swiss vignette price is 58.00 €.
Additional toll sections
The Swiss motorway vignette applies to nearly all roads across Switzerland. Nevertheless, there are a few exceptions when additional fees must be paid, including:
- car trains;
- San Bernardino and the Munt la Schera tunnels;
- a few private and smaller roads, e.g., the road from Kandersteg to the Gastern valley;
- some car ferries, including the one between Meilen and Horgen on Lake Zurich or the car ferry between Beckenried and Gersau on Lake Lucerne.
- vignettes for Switzerland can be purchased at the border, gas station, or online;
- trailers and caravans need to obtain an additional vignette;
- Swiss rental cars already have a valid vignette for use on Swiss motorways.
1. Which vehicles require buying a vignette in Switzerland?
A vignette in Switzerland is mandatory for all motor vehicles whose maximum gross total weight is up to and including 3.5t (motor homes, motorcycles, cars). Vehicles with a GVW over 3.5t (buses, heavy motor-homes, lorries) must cover a heavy vehicle toll which is charged according to mileage.
A vignette must be purchased for motorcycles, cars, campervans, motorhomes, caravans, and trailers, e.g., two vignettes are required if you have a car and caravan.
2.Do I need to buy the 1-year vignette for one trip to Switzerland?
Yes. Contrarily to other European countries, Switzerland distinguishes only a one-year vignette. There are no other options for vignettes for shorter periods. When driving a Swiss motorway without a valid vignette, you may be fined CHF 200 plus the cost of the vignette itself (CHF 40).
3.Where can I buy the Swiss vignette?
The Swiss motorway vignette may be obtained:
- at the Swiss border: choose the lane for vehicles without a valid vignette;
- at a gas station located near the Swiss border: in France, Germany, Italy, and Austria;
- online: you can save a lot of time purchasing a vignette online and using the fast lane on the Swiss motorway.
4.How to affix a vignette properly to my vehicle?
Once you remove the carrier foil, you must carefully affix the vignette directly to the inside of your vehicle’s windscreen. The vignette must be placed on the left-hand edge or behind the inside rear-view mirror. This way, it is visible to controllers. Please note that you are not allowed to use any adhesive tapes, special foils, or others to affix your vignette. Any such manipulation may result in making your toll null and void, and you may even be fined for it.
Drivers of trailers or motorcycles should remember to affix the vignette on an easily accessible part where it will be impossible to dismantle or replace the vignette.
Every vignette contains instructions on the backside. Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with how to affix the vignette to your vehicle.
5.How to remove the vignette from my vehicle?
To remove the sticker from the vehicle’s window, you will need to use a scraper’s thin-sharp blade. Next, you should clean the window with cleaning benzene or alternatively WD-40 or rubbing alcohol.
6.Do I need to have a separate vignette for each vehicle if my number plates are interchangeable?
Yes. The statutory provisions state that the vignette for Switzerland can only be transferred with the vehicle. It means that it cannot be detached and affixed to another vehicle since it will no longer be valid.
Stickers consist of loosely connected pieces that may fall apart when being removed from the windshield. The vignette can only be transferred once it has not been used yet.
7.Does the vignette have to be replaced if the windscreen breaks?
Yes, a damaged vignette must be replaced. Vehicles registered in Switzerland are covered by insurance which handles the cost of a damaged windscreen. Drivers of foreign vehicles not registered in Switzerland may request a replacement from the customs office if their insurance company does not cover the cost. For requesting the replacement from the customs office, a driver will need to submit a damaged vignette, written confirmation from the insurance agency that they will not cover the vignette damage cost, and the invoice issued for the replaced windscreen.
8.Do motor homes need a vignette?
All vehicles up to a total weight of 3.5t must purchase a vignette, including motor homes. Motor homes exceeding the total weight of 3.5t are subject to a lump-sum heavy vehicle toll. For more information, check www.ezv.admin.ch.
9.Do I need a vignette for a rented car?
If you decide to rent a car in Switzerland, you don’t have to buy a vignette as its cost is already included. Cars rented in other European countries will probably not include the vignette’s cost.
10.Is the vignette also valid for driving through all tunnels?
The Swiss vignette is valid for the majority of tunnels in Switzerland, except for the San Bernardino tunnel and the Munt la Schera tunnel at Livigno. Deriving through those two tunnels requires covering additional tolls.