Swiss motorway tolls

The Swiss have a clever system for collecting motorway tolls. Rather than have a booth at every motorway junction – that would require heating, power, staff etc, the Swiss motorway tolls system is a lot more straight forward. One payment is made and this is valid for a given period of time.

The only complexity with the Swiss motorway tolls system is the fact that there are two different systems in operation – one for vehicles under 3500kg and the other method for vehicles over 3500kg. Lorries however are dealt with in a different manner.

Within this article, I refer to “Swiss motorway tolls” but the Swiss actually call this payment a “tax”.

Swiss motorway tolls – under 3500 kg.

This category will cover many motorhomes, most cars and pretty much all caravans. Also included in the Swiss motorway tolls “under 3500kg” section are motorbikes and other trailers.

Swiss motorway tolls under 3500 kg

Leaflet showing the routes covered by the Swiss motorway tolls system

For caravanners, you will note that you must purchase a toll sticker, also known as a vignette for both the car and the caravan. Vignettes are available at the border and at the time of writing cost 40 Swiss Francs. The vignettes are valid for between three and fourteen months…. For example, you may purchase a 2012 toll sticker from 1st December2011 and this is valid through to the end of January 2013 – 14 months validity. A vignette purchase in November 2011 will be valid until the end of January 2012. To sum up, the vignette is valid for the year shown on it, plus the previous December and the following January. These vignettes may also be purchased from the Swiss Tourist Office in London.

The following link will be useful to those driving cars, motorhomes under 3500kg, caravans and motorbikes.

Swiss motorway tolls – under 3500kg.

Swiss motorway tolls – over 3500kg

This time, a slightly different system is in place for vehicles over 3500kg, – so this covers large 4×4 type vehicles, coaches, buses, motorhomes over 3500kg and the like. On arrival at the Swiss border, the driver must obtain a paper document to permit to be in Switzerland – not just the motorways, but actually “just” being in the country . The document requires the driver to complete information about the vehicle, name and address, registration plate and so on. There is then a choice as to how many times/number of days you would like to make use of the Swiss tax system for vehicles over 3500 kg…

Using a motorhome weighing over 3500kg as an example, the choices are as follows.

1) Swiss motorway tolls pass valid for just one day – 3.25 Swiss Francs

2) Unlimited number of days within one month – 58.50 Swiss Francs

3) Unlimited number of days within a 12 month period – 650 Swiss Francs

4) Ten days worth of use within a 12 month period – 32.50 Swiss Francs. This option is probably the best one for those travelling on holiday etc.

Swiss motorway tolls

This document is the Swiss motorway tolls paperwork for vehicles over 3500kg.

Note – there is a minimum charge of 25 Swiss Francs – so, two days worth of usage, if purchased as option (1) above would actually cost 50 Swiss Francs if purchased as separate Swiss motorway tolls permits. Option (4) as mentioned is ideal for motorhomers and caravanners. The document is issued on a given day and is valid for 12 months from that date. Mine was issued on 24th November 2011 and is valid through to 23 November 2012. Within that 12 month period, I can spend 10 days in Switzerland. Our trip to Italy has therefore used three separate days – one day for the journey south through Switzerland, another for the journey from the Italian border to Belinzona and the third for the journey from Bellinzona to Basle. We therefore have seven days worth of usage left which will cover our next two transits through Switzerland. As far as I am aware, this document can only be obtained at the Swiss border.

Click this page for my article about how to complete the paperwork

This tax covers the vehicle for the number of days the vehicle is in Switzerland. The paperwork states

“Cancellation by the driver. Before entering Switzerland and prior to each supplementary day in which the vehicle is staying in Switzerland, enter the day and dte, e.g. 26.08.08″. Note the use of the words “staying in Switzerland”, rather than “travelling” etc. So in theory, a seven day holiday in the country, even if the motorhome is stationary for five out of he seven, would still require seven days worth of usage.

In my view, and based upon my motorhome weighing over 3500kg, 32.50 SFR for 10 days worth of travel on the Swiss motorway tolls system is excellent value for money.

Click on the link for a question and answers website about Swiss motorway tolls.

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Comments

  1. Jock & Rita says:

    Thanks for that Russell, it was very informative.

    Cheers,

    Jock.

  2. david michael howard says:

    I have followed your journey both ways and it makes exellent reading.keep this info coming it is most interesting and informative.as i have previously mentioned i followed your toll free journey to costa brava and may well follow the ‘The Italian Job’in the near future.also as an owner of a swift kontiki 679 albeit a 2008 model i would be most interested to read any relevent info about you new kontiki.
    Many Thanks.
    Mike and Pat Howard

  3. Thanks Russell, it cleared up a lot of confusion in my mind about Swiss tolls.
    Pete D

  4. Trevor Hollingworth says:

    Hi Russell
    Do you know where I can download a copy of the form for a motorhome greater than 3.5t, I found it last year but did not use it and have thrown it away.
    Best regards

    • Hi

      As far as I know these forms are not downloadable – they are a three part document that is carbon set. You can pick them up at any border point.

  5. Stewart says:

    Hi Russell,

    Thank you for this very informative article. It will be of great help to use during our next adventure

    Happy travels

    Stewart

  6. Hi Russell
    We followed your very useful advice last June and purchased the ten day tax document (we have an Autotrail Chieftain – over 3.5tonnes) at Basle on the way to Venice. We used two days each way as we stayed overnight in Switzerland so we have six days left. We will be going again at the end of May and will be spending about 3 days in Switzerland. Our document will still be valid then but when we return in September it will have expired. My question is where do I buy a new document on the return journey? We didn’t go through any sort of check point on the way from Italy into Switzerland as I can recall. But that would mean travelling through Switzerland to Basle without a valid document. So do I need to buy a new one on the way into Switzerland at Basle even though the one I have will be valid then? Sorry for long winded question but I hope you understand what I am trying to say!
    Thanks very much.
    Mel

    • Russell says:

      Hi – you mention September but I presume you mean “June” not “September”.
      To put this in my shoes, here goes.
      I purchased my paper tax document on 9th September 2013. I used it to get me through Switzerland and return. I’m going back in April 2014 and returning May 2014, so it is still valid. My next trip is late August 2014 so again, it is still valid. As the document was purchased on 09/09/2013, the document expires on 08/09/2014, so when I come back from Italy in late September and travel through Switzerland, I need a new document. Entering Switzerland from Italy at Como, you come down the hill and the border is in front of you. Keep to the left and park under the canopy. Go into the office that is now on your right and purchase a new document there. In the event the border is not manned, or the office not staffed, then as far as I am aware, you have to purchase a document at the “first opportunity”. I have never known the border at Como/Chiasso be not manned.

Trackbacks

  1. […] On arrival at Basle, you are required to obtain a Swiss motorway vignette for vehicles under 3500kg or complete paperwork for vehicles over 3500kg. More details are available on my Swiss motorway tolls page. […]

  2. […] sorting out a few other people with their toll/tax payments too. Lots of Swiss toll information is available here and the information detailed there is still correct as of […]

  3. […] Swiss motorway tolls – actually known as a tax in Switzerland – are, to a large extent, governed by the weight of the vehicle. A full and detailed explanation of this, including links to the relevant Swiss government departments, may be found on my previous article by clicking here […]

  4. […] point was manned and the officials stopped all traffic. I was asked for the motorway tax details, (see here for Swiss toll information) and I duly handed this over, with today’s date completed. The […]

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