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  • Writer's pictureStefan Plüss

A Guide to Exchange Your Foreign Driving License in Switzerland

In Switzerland, it is regulated that you can drive with a foreign driving license for up to one year after you have registered in Switzerland. However, this comes with some specific conditions:

  1. EU/EFTA States: If you have passed your driving test in an EU or EFTA state, your driving license will be recognized in Switzerland. You can carry out a simple transfer process by filling out an appropriate form.

  2. Non-EU/EFTA States: If you have taken your driving test in a state other than EU/EFTA states, you may drive with your foreign driving license for a maximum of one year in Switzerland. Before this year expires, you must apply for a Swiss driving license. This means that you will be summoned for a control drive. After the one-year period expires, you have a maximum of three months to complete this control test. During this time, you must carry the invitation to the control test with you. If you have not registered with the Road Traffic Office, your foreign driving license will no longer be valid in Switzerland after one year.

What is expected during the control drive? You must know and be able to correctly apply Swiss traffic rules, interpret signals correctly, and be able to navigate traffic safely. It is also expected that you will perform driving maneuvers in a traffic-appropriate manner and observe the environment correctly.

Are driving lessons mandatory? No, there is no mandatory requirement for driving lessons or traffic knowledge classes in Switzerland. However, it is recommended, especially if the traffic rules are significantly different from those in your home country.

How many driving lessons are needed? This can vary greatly - from only a few lessons for experienced drivers to many hours for beginners. A serious assessment of your "driving skills" can only be made after a practical evaluation.

How does the driver training proceed? The focus is on understanding and implementing core topics such as observation, lane changes, dealing with trams and buses, traffic lights, and highway driving. The training is thematically structured and also takes into account the area where the test will take place.

Language of the control test The exam expert will usually communicate in German. It is an advantage if you have a basic understanding of the German language, even though this is not a formal requirement.

Using a private car for the test Yes, you can use your own car for the control test as long as it meets the minimum requirements. However, note that it can be easier if you appear with a driving instructor, as the vehicle will then surely meet the standards and the expert knows that you are adequately prepared.

What happens if I fail the control test? Your foreign driving license will be withdrawn in Switzerland and you will no longer be allowed to drive a vehicle. However, your driving license remains valid abroad. You must then take the same steps as a beginner driver in Switzerland to obtain a new driving license.

Questions and Documents? If you have any questions please contact me. You can find all the Documents that you need here!

A Guide to Exchange Your Foreign Driving License in Switzerland


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