Using A Motorway Vignette in Switzerland (A Detailed Guide)

motorway vignette switzerland

When driving on certain roads in Switzerland, almost all vehicles have to pay some toll prices and these come in the form of a motorway charge sticker called a motorway vignette. 

You don’t want to be caught driving on the main toll roads in Switzerland without one of these as you will incur heavy fines. 

Being Switzerland, there are some very specific rules you will need to follow in regard to your vignette, how you affix it to your car, and more. I have answered all the questions you might have below to make life a little easier for you! 

What is a Swiss Motorway Vignette?

Swiss Vignette
Swiss Motorway Vignette – Photo © ch.ch

The Swiss Motorway Vignette is a special toll sticker or motorway charge sticker that is required to be on any motor vehicle that will use specific national roads in Switzerland. 

It is not needed for all the public roads, mainly specific Swiss motorways but also some smaller roads too. It is very important to have a Swiss motorway vignette on your car or you could be fined. 

Price Of The Vignette

A Swiss motorway vignette costs 40 CHF or 40 Euros, so it is not that expensive considering it lasts for one year and the number of roads it gives you legal access to. 

Validity Of The Vignette

A Swiss vignette in 2022 is valid from the 1st of December 2021 until the 31st of January 2023, giving you 14 months in total. You can not buy weekly or monthly vignettes, you can only buy a Swiss vignette for the whole year/14-month term. 

Which Vehicles Need a Motorway Vignette?

A motorway vignette is required for all motor vehicles with a maximum gross total weight of up to and including 3.5 tonnes. This includes cars, motorbikes, trailers, campervans, foreign vehicles, and more. 

You will have to buy an extra vignette if you are towing a trailer or caravan. You do not need to buy a vignette for Swiss rental cars as they will already have a valid vignette. 

If you are driving a vehicle with a maximum gross vehicle weight over 3.5 tonnes then you will have to pay a different heavy vehicle charge instead. 

You must buy the motorway vignette for each individual vehicle you want to drive on the motorways in Switzerland. Other vehicles require an additional vignette as each one is valid for the one vehicle it is stuck to. 

On Which Roads is the Motorway Vignette Required?

Motorway in Switzerland
Highway in Switzerlanad

The motorway vignette is required for driving on the Swiss motorway network including all Swiss motorways and expressways. This means if you want to make any semi-long journey from one place to the next, you will need to have a motorway vignette Switzerland affixed to your vehicle.  

The official vignette does not however give you free access to all the tunnels. The Grand St. Bernhard Tunnel and Munt la Schera are considered toll roads and to use these tunnels an extra price must be paid. 

Where to Buy a Motorway Vignette

There are two main ways to buy a Swiss vignette for the motorways: in person or online.

In Person

You can buy the motorway vignette in a number of places including

  • petrol stations
  • post offices
  • the customs office on the Swiss border

Once you have the Motorway Vignette, you have to attach it to your windscreen before you drive on the highway. More on that in the next section.

Online

new evginette form to buy online
Buying a new eVignette online from August 1st 2023

Starting 1st August 2023, you can buy a vignette online too. These are the steps you need to take

  1. Go to the new website: evignette.ch (which redirects to the web shop for purchase).
  2. Choose the E-vignette option
  3. Choose your vehicle type
  4. Enter the registration
  5. Pay with Credit Card or TWINT (for Swiss residents only)

This is an electronic vignette only, so you do not get anything to attach to the vehicle.

I am very happy this has happened for both visitors to Switzerland and the fact that I no longer have to spend 20 minutes removing the old one each year!

How to Affix your Motorway Vignette

When you get your vignette you need to immediately stick the vignette to the inside of your windscreen. The vignette is a sticker, and you must add it to an untinted part of your windscreen so it can be easily seen. 

Be sure to add it to either

  • left side of the windscreen
  • under the rearview mirror

And, remove it from the backing and stick it to the glass completely.

If you stick it on the side window, use tape, or any other thing like suction cups to add it to the windscreen, it will not be valid. 

Until your vignette has been affixed properly, it is not valid, so be sure to add it.

For trailers and caravans, vehicles without windows, the vignette has to be affixed to an obviously visible part of the vehicle that cannot be removed.

Can A Vignette Be Used More Than Once?

Absolutely not. Once a Switzerland vignette has been stuck on a vehicle it is only valid for that vehicle and must not be removed until that year has finished and/or your replacement vignette for the next year has arrived and is ready to be stuck on. 

Actually, once it is stuck on, it is not easily removed. Trust me, I have to remove mine every year and add a new one. It requires a razor blade and some patience and it comes off in pieces! Then you have to remove the sticky stuff. Thankfully we now have the evignette!

What is the Fine for Driving Without a Vignette?

Mountain road in Switzerland
Mountain road in Switzerland

Driving without a vignette on motorways and expressways in Switzerland is a breach of the Public Highways Act. 

You should expect a minimum fine of 200 CHF, which is about 200 Euros. This is a minimum fine and you will also have to purchase the vignette obligation on top of this, so add an extra 40 CHF to the costs of the fine. 

Can the Vignette be Replaced when the Windscreen Breaks? 

Yes, the vignette will be replaced if the windscreen breaks on your vehicle. This process is managed by the insurance companies in Switzerland for vehicles registered in Switzerland. 

For foreign vehicles, the cost of the vignette can be refunded if they are not covered by the insurance company. You should request your refund directly from the customs office if this happens but you will need some paperwork. 

When requesting a refund from the customs office you will need to bring the damaged vignette, a letter from the insurance company confirming they will not refund the costs and the invoice for the replaced windscreen. 

How to Remove the Old Vignette

Removing an old vignette isn’t so easy as the adhesive sticks very hard to your windscreen. If you don’t want to be left with a horrible mark on your windscreen, this is how to do it. 

First, take a hair dryer or something similar and heat up your old vignette. This loosens the adhesive and makes it easier to take the vignette. 

Then take a ceramic hob scraper or large razor blade and gently scrape your old vignette off the windscreen as best you can. It usually comes off in pieces as it is split all around the vignette to prevent reuse. So, don’t worry if it does not come off in one piece. I try my best each year, but have never managed!

Once you have done this, you are likely to find some sticky residue of the old vignette’s still attached to the windscreen which you can remove with alcohol or nail polish remover. 

Be sure to wipe the nail polish remover off and let the area dry before adding your new vignette.   This stuff is very sticky and it often takes me a few passes with a cloth and alcohol to get it all off.

How to pay road tolls in Switzerland

To pay road tolls in Switzerland you must purchase a Motorway Vignette which is either a sticker you attach to your windscreen, or something you can register for online. You must pay for and/or attach the vignette before driving on any Swiss highways.

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *