First registration of vehicles

A vehicle should first be registered in the National Vehicle Register of the country that issues its first operating licence.

Before an application for authorisation for new rolling stock can be made in Switzerland, the necessary vehicle numbers must be reserved by the FOT. Based on the technical and operating characteristics of the vehicle, the FOT will determine the 12-digit vehicle numbers and note them under the VKM in the Register.

Registration and marking of metre-gauge and special-gauge vehicles

Owners of metre-gauge and special-gauge vehicles are also assigned a Vehicle Keeper Marking (VKM), and must register their rolling stock with a vehicle number in the Swiss National Vehicle Register.

The vehicle itself must be marked with at least the sequence number (digits 8 to 11 but not the check digit 12), unless it is being used internationally. In this case, the vehicle marking must be in accordance with the provisions of Appendix P section 2 to Commission Decision 2012/757/EU.


Reservation of vehicle numbers, and all amendments to data in the Swiss NVR, can be made free of charge.

Fees are incurred only for vehicles in the Swiss National Vehicle Register with the status “in service”; these fees must be borne by the vehicle keeper. Fees are charged in accordance with Art. 25a of the FOT Fees Ordinance (FeeOFOT): CHF 2.50 per vehicle. It is not levied on vehicle keepers with less than 20 registered vehicles (as of July 2023). Fees are determined once a year by the controller, and invoiced to the vehicle keepers. They are based on the vehicle fleet on 30 June of the calculation year.