Traffic fines issued abroad should always be paid, otherwise the issuing authority may take measures against the vehicle owner, even if they live in Switzerland. Measures can include an entry in a search database, a ban on entering the country in future, or high reminder fees. If you return to the country concerned having failed to pay the fine, your car may be confiscated until the fine has been paid. You may even be subject to imprisonment for one or more days.
In some countries, local authorities sometimes appoint private contractors to recover fines imposed on public land. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of a fine or invoice from abroad, you should contact the relevant foreign police authority (at its official address), or the commune, local authority or agency responsible for issuing fines.
Measures against the non-payment of fines vary from country to country. Based on our current knowledge, the following measures apply with regard to the countries bordering Switzerland as well as the Netherlands:
Fines from Italy should be paid on time because the Italian authorities impose very high reminder fees.
There is no agreement between Switzerland and Italy governing fines. Some municipalities in Italy, for example Milan and Florence, have outsourced the collection of fines to private companies. Appeals must be submitted in writing and in Italian to the authority issuing the fine.
Switzerland and France have signed an agreement on certain aspects of traffic legislation, such as parking and speeding offences. On request, both countries provide mutual assistance in enforcing fines. That means the Swiss authorities can enforce the payment of fines issued by the French authorities to Swiss motorists, and vice versa. Electronic data is exchanged between the two countries via EUCARIS (European Car and Driving Licence Information System).
Switzerland and Germany have signed a police cooperation agreement that includes provisions on traffic legislation. Both countries exchange data on vehicles and vehicle owners on request, regardless of how high the fine is.
Austria/Principality of Liechtenstein
The new trilateral agreement contains detailed provisions on enforcing traffic fines. Vehicle and vehicle owner information can now be exchanged automatically upon request. Fines are already enforceable.
Fines from the Dutch authorities should be paid on time because reminder fees are high and offenders can end up on a "wanted" list. Both countries can impose direct fines for traffic offences; the appropriate cantonal police service and the Dienst Wegverkeer (RDW) in Zoetermeer exchange vehicle owner information on request.
Foreign motorists who do not pay their Swiss fine and whose fine has subsequently been converted to a prison sentence are registered in the police alert database RIPOL for a period of up to three years.
Last modification 17.08.2022