Exchange driving licence

 Exchange driving licence

You can drive in Switzerland using a foreign driver's licence for one year, after that certain nationalities need to convert their licence to a Swiss one.

 

Whether you are moving to Switzerland or just visiting, the good news is that Switzerland recognizes foreign driver’s licences and allows most people to drive for up to one year using their existing licence. However, if you plan on living in Switzerland for more than one year, most nationalities will need to exchange their foreign driver's licence for a Swiss driver's licence.

Who can drive in Switzerland?

For the first year, anyone can drive a car in Switzerland using their foreign driving licence.

If your driver’s licence is in a language not recognized by the Swiss authorities (English, French, German or Italian) you will need to carry either an International Driver’s licence or an International Driving Permit which includes a translation of your driving licence.
If you will be living in Switzerland for more than a year, you need to convert your foreign driving licence to a Swiss licence before the end of the first 12 months. Some nationalities will be able to convert their licence without taking any test at all, others will need to take the practical driving test, and some will need to take both a theory test and a practical driving test, depending on your nationality and country's agreements with Switzerland.

Bear in mind that applications can take some time to process so don’t leave it to the last moment. If you don’t get a Swiss driver's licence within a year your foreign driver's licence will become invalid and you will be unable to drive in Switzerland.

Exceptions:

Diplomats and those working with certain international organizations don’t need to exchange their foreign licences.

EU/EEA citizens driving in Switzerland

Switzerland allows those from the European Economic Area (EU plus Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein) to exchange their foreign driver’s licence for a Swiss equivalent without having to take a test, as long as it is exchanged within 12 months of taking up residence in Switzerland. As applications can take some time to process, don’t leave it to the last moment.

If you don’t exchange your foreign driver’s licence within a year, you will be unable to drive in Switzerland and may be required to take the theory and practical tests. If you miss the deadline.

Non-European citizens driving in Switzerland

If you’re from one of the following countries you can exchange your foreign driver’s licence by taking only the practical driving test

Warning: However if you fail the test, the full procedure: first aid, theory, awareness course, and practical driving examinations must then be taken.

Exchanging licence paperwork:
  • Application form
  • Original foreign driver’s licence (with translation, if applicable)
  • Certificate from an approved optician
  • Colored passport-sized photos
  • ID card or passport.
  • Our instructors will prepare you step by step to your practical exam.

You can then submit your application via your local road traffic office.

The fee for exchanging your licence varies depending on the canton.

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