How do I Obtain a Swiss Driving Permit?

Exchange your Foreign License for a Swiss Driving Permit

1.

Obtain the application form "Foreign Driving License Exchange Request" from the Strassenverkehrsamt (driver's bureau) or Gemeindehaus (parish hall) in your town of permanent residence.

2.

Get an eye test to obtain an eye test certificate. It is best to have this done in Switzerland by an accredited optician or optometrist.

3.

Have passport photos taken at a photography shop or photo booth. Ask for color photos and ensure they are 35 x 45 mm (1.38 x 1.77 inch) in size.

4.

Obtain a proof of permanent residence if you do not have an alien card.

5.

Fill out the form and take all required documents to the Strassenverkehrsamt or Gemeindehaus to file your application. You should receive your driving permit within two weeks.

Completing the Full Swiss Driving Exam

1.

Hire a professional driving instructor to guide you through the process. This is not a legal requirement, but will certainly help you as instructors know what is expected from the driving exam and will be able to prepare you. You have to be older than 18 to learn how to drive in Switzerland.

2.

Complete an accredited 10-hour first aid course. The course is typically split up in eight lessons of 75 minutes each.

3.

Complete the mandatory theory course. This course is typically eight hours and teaches you traffic awareness.

4.

Obtain the Highway Code manual and a book listing 600 of the possible theory questions in the written exam. These usually can be obtained at your canton's Automobile Service. Make an appointment for your theory exam and start studying.

5.

Take the theory exam. You can request to take it in French, German or English.

6.

Purchase an "L" sticker (a white L on a blue background) to indicate that you are a learner driver. Attach it to your car's windshield.

7.

Start with your driving lessons. If you don't make use of an instructor, you have to be accompanied a person who is older than 24 and has had his Swiss license for longer than three years.

8.

Take the driving test. You can only fail the practical test three times. After the third time, you have to see a psychologist, who will determine whether you are fit to drive. He can grant you a fourth and final chance.

Your foreign drivers license is good for 12 months in Switzerland. If you plan to stay longer, you can exchange your license for a Swiss license. If you do not apply for a Swiss license within the 12 months, you will be required to take a driving test. Holders of Asian driving licenses (except Japan), African (except South Africa), Central or South American, Turkish or Portuguese permits must take the driving test regardless of when they apply. Failure to pass the driving test will require passing a written test and repeating the practical driving exam.