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Driving in Switzerland (Domestic Help)


Switzerland's road network is of a very high standard, and travel to all parts of the country by road is easy. However, it is not necessary to own a car if you are living in Switzerland, as the country as a very extensive, integrated public transport system, which is efficient, reliable and fairly inexpensive. The Swiss railway system, which is fully electrified, is the most dense railway network in the world.

t is not necessary to obtain a Swiss driving licence if you plan to stay less than 12 months in Switzerland. Foreign nationals living in Switzerland for 12 months or more are required to apply to the Road Traffic Office in their canton of residence to apply for their licence to be exchanged for a Swiss one. There is no requirement to take a Swiss driving test if you already hold a full licence.

As of 1st April 2003, the old "blue" licence is being replaced by a driving licence in credit card format. The new licence no longer indicates the holder's address. This way the holder no longer obliged to have his driving licence reissued in the event of a change of address from one canton to another. It will suffice to notify the appropriate Road Traffic Office about the change of address.

A new driving licence will only be issued in cases where the holder changes his or her name, or when a change is made to licence entitlements.

The driving licence in credit card format is EU-compatible and corresponds with applicable ISO norms. The driving licence categories also correspond to those of neighbouring countries.

Swiss Driving Licence

If you are already the holder of a driving licence, all you need to do is register with the Road Traffic Office in your canton of residence within twelve months after entering the country to apply for your foreign driving licence to be replaced with a Swiss one.

Your will need to bring the following documents:

• the (duly completed and signed) application for a driving licence on the basis of a foreign driving licence (you can obtain the form from the Road Traffic Office in your canton);
• Identification (passport or identity card);
• The original driving licence (a certified translation may be requested in certain cases);
• Two recent photographs (in colour and passport format);
• The residence or domicile permit;
• An optician's certificate (check with your Road Traffic Office to see whether or not this document is necessary).

If, on the other hand, you have yet to hold a driving licence, you can apply for a learner's licence from the Road Traffic Office in your canton of residence once you are 18 years of age.

This licence is issued to persons having passed their basic theory test. When applying for this test, you need to submit a document certifying that you have successfully completed a course on immediate life-saving measures. This document must be issued by an organisation that is accredited by the Swiss Federal Roads Authority.

Once you are in possession of this valuable piece of paper you are ready to get behind the wheel, provided that you are accompanied by a person who is 23 years of age and who has held a driving licence of the corresponding category, with the exception of motorcycles, for at least three years.

See more information on the next page... (next)





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