How To Get Your Swiss Driving Licence

There is one piece of administration in Switzerland for Expats that causes a lot of concern. It also seems to create the most confusion and opinion, and that is getting your Swiss Driving Licence. Expats can use their foreign driving licence for up to one year after their registration in Switzerland. During that time you can drive as normal, even use a Mobility car, you just have to email Mobility a scan of your foreign driving licence. They will send you a reminder that you have to send them a copy of your new Swiss licence after a year of residence, otherwise your Mobility membership will be suspended. Once you reach that one year date, it's time to hand in the licence you have held since your late teens and get a new shiny card-sized Swiss one. For some people this

can be quite  an emotional wrench. The licence you have had in your wallet or purse is another reminder of "home" and you may be reluctant to just hand it over but in truth, you have no choice. Driving beyond the 12-month validity of your foreign licence in Switzerland will land you a fine and could cause you problems when you do come to exchange it for a Swiss one. The process of exchanging your driving licence for a Swiss one is straightforward for citizens of EU countries or members of the EFTA. You need to bring the following documents in person to the Stassenverkehrsamt, or traffic office. You can also take them to your local Gemeindehaus or town hall: 








You will also receive a bill a couple of weeks after these documents are handed in. around 50CHF for handling your old licence and 35CHF for issuing your new one. If all goes well, you should have your new licence in your hands a week after handing in the documents above. For non-EU or -EFTA licence holders, you have to hand in the same documentation as above but will be called to take a driving test within three months of giving over your documentation. If you have had any different experiences, and there certainly are people who have see things work differently, please contribute in the comments as we have tried to present the most common scenarios here.  

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  • Hello, my case is quite complicated. I change my driving licence for Swiss one April this year but I only get it for one year because of my young age, now I have to do two days course to get this licence for longer and the problem is that I don’t speak German or French. Someone know where I can to this test in English? Thanks Martyna

  • I am a Kenyan driving license holder and was once stopped by police during a routine check. I presented my driving license and was told that I had no right to drive and should go to the verkehrsamt and apply for an international driving license. On getting there, was told that these are only issued to Swiss driving license holders!

    • Sam, to quote the article:\n\n

      For non-EU or -EFTA licence holders, you have to hand in the same documentation as above but will be called to take a driving test within three months of giving over your documentation.

  • I am an EU nationals and do have a Thai driving lisence \r\n. In this case I can apply as the above process? I will move back for good in Swiss next month.

    • @undefined Hi Tong, although you are an EU national I assume you would have to follow the instructions for non-EU nationals as you have a non-EU licence. So, you hand in the same documentation and will probably have to take a driving test.

  • Hi ime from South africa i do Not have my South African License with me how do i go about getting a temporary license While ime studying in Switzerland if get a temporary One Sent from my country will they issue me One until the original is ready please assist me As i Would like to get a bike

    • I really wouldn’t know how you would get a temporary licence. You need your South African one so I imagine you would have to get in touch with the licencing authority in Switzerland. I doubt there is any way to get a SA licence in Switzerland.\r\n\r\nOnce you have your South African licence you can follow the process above.

  • If, although resident in Switzerland for nearly a year now, I have no car here and don’t intend to drive in Switzerland. Do I nevertheless need to exchange for a Swiss licence my EU-pattern driving licence which I use when driving my wife’s UK-registered car in the UK? In other words, does my EU-pattern licence become just unusable in Switzerland soon, or actually completely invalid anywhere – even when I go home?

    • Hello John,\n\nYour UK licence is always valid outside of Switzerland.\n\nIt is only for driving in Switzerland that your UK licence is invalid.\n\nYou can hire cars worldwide on your UK licence, for example, but you absolutely cannot drive in Switzerland without a Swiss licence if you have been here for a year or more.\n\nAndrew

  • If 2 years have gone by since someone moved to Switzerland, is it still possible for him to hand in his EU license and get a Swiss one with the appropriate documentation without a test?

    • Hello. Generally, yes.\n\nIt seems that the authorities do not have hard and fast rules on this, depending on where you live. We went to the main Strassenverkehrsamt and neither of us had to take a test, even though one licence was exchanged almost 3 years after arriving in Switzerland.\n\nBut remember, driving on an EU licence outside the first twelve months of your arrival is illegal.

  • Your Swiss driving licence replaces your old one completely so you would drive at home with your Swiss licence.\r\n\r\nI have never had a problem with this including rental cars.

  • so what happens if you travel back home for vacation and want to drive. Would they give it back to you or you need to issue a new one back home?

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