EU driving licences, contrary to popular belief, are not valid everywhere. While tourists may drive a car in Switzerland with their EU driving licence for the duration of their stay, if you plan to move to the Alpine country, you must change your driving licence to a Swiss one. However, it is not only your driving licence that has to be changed, you are also prohibited from driving a car registered in the EU with a Swiss driving licence after a certain period of time. The same is true vice versa.
When do you have to change your EU driving licence into a Swiss driving licence?
An EU driving licence is valid in Switzerland for a period of 12 months. This means that anyone who lives in any in any Swiss canton for more than one year must have their driving licence converted to a Swiss one. If you have still not obtained a Swiss driving licence after one year, you are driving illegally without a driving licence and can be fined heavily.
What do I need to transfer my driving licence?
Your EU driving licence can be transferred at the local road traffic office in the canton where you live. The application form can be downloaded from the traffic authority website.
EU driving licence
In order to transfer your driving licence, you will need a valid EU driving licence, which you must give to the Swiss Road Traffic Office.
A full-colour passport photo measuring 35 x 45 millimetres is required in order to obtain the new driving document.
Residence or work permit
You may also require a certificate of registration from your place of residence in Switzerland
Certificate from ophthalmologist
You will also need a certificate from an opthalmologist in order to obtain a driving licence.
Additional forms for other driving licence categories
If you would like to register classes C, C1, D, D1 as well as class 3 or BPT in addition to your car, you will need an additional certificate from a medical doctor.
What will happen to my EU driving licence?
The Swiss authorities take your EU driving licence after transferring it and return it to the issuing authority in your home country. Although all data is recorded by the Swiss authorities, it is still worth making a copy of your EU driving licence before handing in the document. By the way:
If you return to your home country after living in Switzerland, you will of course regain your original driving licence without any problems.
Do you have to do another driving test?
No, citizens from EU countries can have their driving licence transferred by the responsible authorities without having to pass another driving test.
Likewise. you do not need to pass another test if you return to your home country after your stay in Switzerland.
When will I get my Swiss driving licence?
As a rule, it takes only a few days to transfer your driving licence. In some cases, however, issuing the new licence may take a little longer. A copy of the application can be presented to the police if you get stopped by them.
Be aware: If you want to drive a vehicle professionally (company car), you must have a valid Swiss driving licence!
How much does it cost to transfer a driving licence?
Depending on the canton, fees of CHF 80 to 140 may be charged.