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How to avoid fines if you are new in switzerland

Updated on March 28, 2024

Living as an expat in Switzerland is an exciting journey full of new discoveries and experiences, but it also comes with numerous laws and regulations to adhere to. Switzerland takes fines seriously – violations of the many local regulations are quickly punished with fines. Here's how you can avoid unpleasant surprises and integrate smoothly.

Don't forget your public transport ticket

Switzerland boasts a comprehensive public transportation network with trains, buses, and trams covering the entire country. Individuals without a valid ticket on a Swiss federal railways (SBB) train must pay a minimum of 90 CHF, and repeated offenses can lead to higher fines and legal consequences. Swiss train inspectors are renowned for their seriousness in enforcing regulations. If you forget your ticket, purchase it too late, or accidentally travel one station too far, leniency is typically not shown when issuing fines. Use the SBB app to always stay on the safe side.

Adhere to traffic rules

Switzerland places great emphasis on traffic safety and closely monitors compliance with traffic rules. Speeding is strictly prohibited – speeding violations, especially on highways, are punished with high fines, loss of driver's license, and even imprisonment. Fines are also consistently issued for parking violations, driving without a valid vignette, and disregarding traffic signals.

Conclude your health insurance on time

When expatriates come to Switzerland, they must obligatorily insure themselves with a health insurance provider within 3 months. Each family member, regardless of age, is insured individually. If the 3-month timeframe is not met, a penalty in the form of a retroactive payment is imposed. Timely registration ensures insurance coverage from the date of residency.

Separate waste & observe proper disposal

In Switzerland, clear rules and regulations regarding cleanliness on the streets are adhered to by authorities and citizens alike. Regular street cleanings in most cities and municipalities ensure that public areas remain clean. The country boasts an excellent waste disposal system with clear regulations for waste separation and special containers for glass, paper, plastics, and organic waste. Larger items often require special disposal and must not be simply left on the roadside. These rules are taken seriously – recently, an expat in Switzerland was even threatened with a fine of 300 CHF for throwing a piece of cardboard into a garbage bin.

Compliance with these cleanliness rules is crucial to preserving Switzerland's beautiful environment and high quality of life. Violations of these rules can result in fines and are generally not socially acceptable.

Evgeniy Timoshenko

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