Vehicle registration plates of Switzerland

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Car number plate of the Canton of Zurich (ZH) (front and rear plate)
Car number plate 2line format of the Canton of Schwyz (SZ) (Rear plate)

Swiss car number plates consist of a two letter code for the canton followed by up to 6 numerical digits. The rear plates also contain small shields representing the flags of Switzerland and the canton. For official vehicles, the two letter code is replaced by a one letter code, A, P or M, meaning respectively Federal Administration, Public Authorities (such as Railroads) or Postal Service, and Military. The front numberplate is a smaller version with the same code as the rear.

Cantons[edit]

Valais
Ticino
Graubünden
(Grisons)
Geneva
Vaud
Neuchâtel
Jura
Bern
Thurgau
Zürich
Aargau
Lucerne
Solothurn
Basel-Land
Schaffhausen
Uri
Schwyz
Glarus
St. Gallen
AI
AR
Obwalden
Nidwalden
Zug
Fribourg
Basel-Stadt
France
Italy
Liecht.
Austria
Germany
Code Flag Canton
AG Flag of Aargau Aargau
AI Flag of Appenzell Innerrhoden Appenzell Innerrhoden
AR Flag of Appenzell Ausserrhoden Appenzell Ausserrhoden
BE Flag of Bern Bern
BL Flag of Basel-Country Basel-Landschaft
BS Flag of Basel-City Basel-Stadt
FR Flag of Fribourg Fribourg
GE Flag of Geneva Geneva
GL Flag of Glarus Glarus
GR Flag of Graubünden Graubünden
JU Flag of Jura Jura
LU Flag of Lucerne Lucerne
NE Flag of Neuchâtel Neuchâtel
NW Flag of Nidwalden Nidwalden
OW Flag of Obwalden Obwalden
SG Flag of St. Gallen St. Gallen
SH Flag of Schaffhausen Schaffhausen
SO Flag of Solothurn Solothurn
SZ Flag of Schwyz Schwyz
TG Flag of Thurgau Thurgau
TI Flag of Ticino Ticino and Campione d'Italia (Italy)
UR Flag of Uri Uri
VD Flag of Vaud Vaud
VS Flag of Valais Valais
ZG Flag of Zug Zug
ZH Flag of Zurich Zürich

Colors[edit]

Utility vehicle back (Basel Stadt)
Utility vehicle front (Basel Stadt)
Agriculture vehicle front
Except vehicles back
Except vehicles front
license plate for scooters

In most cantons, it is possible to find any license plate with the same number in different colors. The colors are different kinds of use or vehicle types.

  • Blue: Utility vehicle
  • Brown: Except vehicles
  • Yellow: Small motorcycles and light motor vehicles
  • Green: Agricultural vehicles
  • White: Motor vehicles, motorcycles, small three-wheeled vehicles and trailers.
  • Black: Military vehicles (instead of the two-letter abbreviation Canton is "M +" for "military", missing the cantonal shield)

Special uses[edit]

Dealer sign
Customs license plates of the Canton of Sankt Gallen (SG) (Rear and front plate), valid until end of 06.2014.
  • U - Dealer plate
  • Z - Import plate (Limited validity)
  • V - Rental plate (No longer used)
  • Year bands - Temporary plate
Rent car sign

Only official car dealer / car repair companies can use the "U" plates. Usually they use this plate for only a few days on one vehicle. This "U" plate can be used on trucks and cars no matter what engine power or pollution rating the vehicle has. The plate can be placed on the standard position as like a car plate is based on a vehicle, but it is also possible to fix it with a magnetic device on the hood and on the vehicle's rear. Because of a European regulation (identification as a rental car should not be possible for everyone), the plates with the "V" are no longer in use. Today, rental cars usually have common car plates with the canton codes VD or AI. Temporary duty unpaid vehicles use "Z" plates and year band while Temporary duty paid plate have year band on the right. Taxi cabs are generally given three- or four-digit registration numbers. This is to allow telephone reservation customers easy identification of the promised car when it arrives for the pick-up.

Military vehicles[edit]

Swiss military plate rear
Swiss military plate front

Military vehicles (Vehicles of the Army and government vehicles the Department of Defense), vehicles of the Border Guard, the Customs investigation authorities and the Swiss Armed Forces by road traffic and shipping offices of the Army (SVSAA) with military license plates registered (article 28 paragraph 1 VFBF). This flag bears the Swiss coat followed by an "M" (short for "Military") and the number of white characters on a black background. The M numbers are assigned according to vehicle type and procurement tranche and are continuously in sourcing series. e.g. Pz87 (Leopard 2):

  • First Series 35 pcs: M77101 to M77135
  • Second Series 120 pcs: M77136 to 77255
  • Third Series 225 pcs: M77256 to 77480
  • Entpannungspanzer 65 69Stk: M78631 to M78699

For each prototype, the number 0 is used in the first place according to the M, both in vehicles, the Swiss army found (e.g. Entpannungspanzer prototype 65, M0870), as well as in vehicles which are not in any of the series (e.g. 35mm Kan flab Pz B22L, M0888 and M0889, or M0872 M0898 M0899 tank gun 68) the sign looks like the Vehicle registration plates of Liechtenstein, but which bears the coat of arms: a prince and the abbreviation "FL".

Deprecated types[edit]

A plates[edit]

Administration plate rear
Administration plate blue

Civilian Federal vehicles got the Swiss shield followed by "A" (short for "Administration") and the number. The first digit of the five digit number indicated the department to which the vehicle belonged to. These plates are no longer used and were replaced with cantonal plates. But the black numbers for the Swiss Army remain untouched (see above).

The number series were:

  • A 1XXXX

Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

  • A 2XXXX

Federal Department of Home Affairs

  • A 3XXXX

Federal Department of Justice and Police

  • A 4XXXX

Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport

  • A 5XXXX

Federal Department of Finance

  • A 6XXXX

Federal Department of Economy

  • A 7XXXX

DETEC Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communication

P plates[edit]

PTT/SBB plate rear

Post, Telegraph and Telephone (PTT) and the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) were part of the federal government until 1997/98. Their vehicles had a registration plate with the Swiss coat followed by a "P" (short for "Post") and the number. After Post, Swisscom and SBB became independent companies, the P-plates were phased out and replaced with cantonal plates, depending on the location of the single vehicle. Replacement was completed by the end of 2003.

PTT /SBB plate front
  • P 1XXXX to P 7XXXX were attributed to PTT
  • P 8XXXX to P 9XXXX were attributed to SBB

Diplomatic plates[edit]

Diplomatic plate (from Canton Geneva)
Diplomatic plate
Diplomatic plate

Vehicles by members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps and several international organizations enter the location of the embassy or the consulate State issued license plate on the model (Article 84 paragraph 4 and 86 VZV).

  • Character "CD" on a green background:
    • Official car of the diplomatic missions
    • Motor vehicles of members of the diplomatic staff of the missions
  • Characters "CC" on a green background:
    • Official car, headed by a career consular officials
    • Motor vehicles of biometrics

Separate suffix "CC" for a maximum of one car every honorary head of post of a consular post, which the Federal Council has given the exequatur. The vehicle pass should in such cases have the words "approved CC characters."

  • Character "CD" on a blue background:

Company car permanent missions or other representations to intergovernmental organizations, and motor vehicles of members of the diplomatic staff of the missions

    • Official car institutional beneficiaries as intergovernmental organizations, international institutions, secretariats or other established by an international treaty bodies, independent commissions, international courts, tribunals and other international bodies (Article 2 para 1 lit. A, B, I, J, K, L, and M are the Host State Act), the privileges, immunities and facilities, as well as motor vehicles of the highest-ranking officials of the institutional beneficiaries who have a diplomatic status in Switzerland.
  • Characters "AT" on a green background:
    • unknown

The characters "CD", "CC" and "AT" are followed by the Canton shortcuts and two numbers separated by a space of the second digit which indicates the block and sending the first block is a sequence number for the vehicles of that state.

The diplomatic plates reflect the mission to which that particular plate has been assigned. For example, CD VD 79 035, would be a CD plate, from Canton Vaud, for a diplomat who belongs to the international organisation 035. The number 79 is a sequence number within the same organisation. The first numbers of the serial number are reserved for the head of the agency or organization and his deputies. Second numbers of serial number are where country he registered to:

External links[edit]