If you're a newcomer in Switzerland, you may be surprised to learn you are legally required to have a vignette on your car if you plan on driving on the highway. The vignette, a small sticker you attach on the inside of your windshield, is a form of road tax used in only a few other countries in the world.
You need to have a vignette on your vehicle to use highways and expressways in Switzerland. The vignette is required for cars, motorcycles, trailers, caravans, vans, and campers up to 3.5 tons. Heavier vehicles do not have a vignette, but a special heavy vehicle charge. If you are found driving on the highways without a vignette, you will be fined CHF 200 and will also have to buy the vignette itself.
The adhesive vignette sticker needs to be replaced once a year, as it will only be valid up to the 31st of January. That means that by February 1st you need to have the 2024 vignette on the inside of your windshield, or, for vehicles without a windshield, on a visible and non-exchangeable part of the vehicle.
The vignette costs 40 Swiss Francs for a one-time purchase and will be valid up to January 31, 2025. There are only annual vignettes available, with no options for daily, weekly, or monthly variants.
You can buy the adhesive vignette in Switzerland at most gas stations, post office counters, border customs offices, or order it online on the website of the Swiss Post. It's also available before entering Switzerland at selected sales outlets.
There are two types of vignettes to chose from: the traditional adhesive vignette and, as of 2024, the new electronic vignette (E-Vignette). The E-Vignette can be obtained online through the web portal of the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security. The electronic vignette is registered to your license plates, so you won't have to repurchase it if you buy a new car and keep the same license plates.