Travel news For Members

Where along Switzerland's borders are you most likely to face checks?

Michael Stuchbery
Michael Stuchbery - [email protected]
Where along Switzerland's borders are you most likely to face checks?
Switzerland has over 1,800 kilometres of border, including through several mountain ranges. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Switzerland might be in the Schengen zone where border are meant to be a thing of the past but travellers crossing into one of the country's neighbours could face police or customs checks. Share your own experiences below.


As The Local reported late last year, several European countries came together in October to conduct operations to stem people trafficking from several routes to the east with enhanced border controls. Many of these measures have been declared to last until mid-March. 

With several of these countries bordering Switzerland, what does this mean for those crossing between them?

European countries don’t have the power to close and control their borders without massive mobilisation. 

Instead, border checks are ostensibly random. 

Random checks and temporary border closures can happen anywhere within the Schengen Area. If you have all the right paperwork and permits being stopped won't be a problem apart from maybe being delayed. 

However, it's always good to know when and where you are more likely to be checked. 

Austria & Lichtenstein 

While Austria has strengthened border controls along its northern border with the Czech Republic, crossing into Austria along the 158 km border near the cities Feldkirch and Lustenau appear to be relatively free of checks, if social media chatter is to be believed.

With only 41 kilometres of border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland and a handful of border crossings near small towns and villages, there are also few to no reports of regular random border checks - that’s not to say that they don’t happen, so you should always have your ID on you if crossing between the two countries.



With over 570 kilometres of border between France and Switzerland, border checks need to be carried out strategically by both countries.

Users of the popular message board, Reddit, recently shared their observations of border checks near Geneva. Their responses, in a recent thread on the r/geneva subreddit posted on January 28th, reveal mixed experiences. 

Reddit contributor, 'Fanaertismo' responded: "Many times I see them in Rue du Nant d’Avril when I go for my run. But in general, I might cross 50 or 60 times a year and they asked to look at my trunk less than 5 times I think."

Contributor 'Free51' added: "Been travelling near Bardonnex and some of the smaller ones for the last 5.5 years. Been stopped twice, Quick Look at my licence and around the car and then on my way, it’s never been during rush hour but rather when I’m coming back and forth during the day."

In contrast, user 'PhiloPhocion' identified the train as a focus for checks later in the same thread: I’ve taken the train five times since the beginning of December and I’ve been ‘randomly’ pulled aside 4 times and checked."

A thread on the subreddit r/askswitzerland in July 2023 also addressed checks at the French border near Basel. 


'Javi 83' shared his experience: "There are checks, just not as frequently. I go there weekly and the French customs usually just stop vans coming from non-neighbouring countries, such as Romania, and Poland.

"And it's not just at the border that you can be stopped. This happened to me both by the Swiss and French customs The Swiss, next to Bell, before the roundabout leading to the airport,  they were controlling people there. The other, on the way to Guebwiller, the French stopped me once."

Read More: The rules that cross-border workers shouldn't break in Switzerland


Switzerland's 345 km border with Germany, on the other hand, seems to be a particular focus for checks. This could be due to the sheer number of commuters that move between the two countries each day of the week. 

Again, checks appear to be concentrated at crossings where many roads and rail routes meet, such as Basel and Constance. Here, the Germans appear to be interested in checking IDs as well as the Swiss.   


One user on an EnglishForum thread observed on January 29th: “In Basel, the German Police stop every tram crossing the border and checks every passenger. That stop can take a few minutes. 

“I work as a part-time tram driver and have not passed the border without having a check since October last year," they said.

“Last week I drove into Germany by car on the highway and they checked every car. It was very fast," the user added.

Another reader on the same thread highlighted Konstanz and the surrounding area as another 'hot spot' for checks:  “In Konstanz station, the police are looking for foreigners, but do not check all passports or bags. 

“When you leave Konstanz Station for Switzerland, nobody cares. When you enter Jestetten by train, there are no checks. Same when you enter Waldshut by bus from Koblenz, no checks.”


Switzerland’s 722 kilometre border with Italy has been the focus of some attention in recent months, with the government indicating that there would be more personnel sent to reinforce the border in September. 

With a reputation for clamping-down on migration, travellers may want to double-check their documentation before crossing into the Swiss canton of Ticino. 

Have you experienced increased border checks entering or leaving Switzerland? Let us know in the comments and we can add your comments to this article.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also