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Old 29.11.2012, 09:21
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Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

Dear All

I converted my US driver's license in Switzerland, but received only a Swiss license on "Probe". They required that I show that I had a US driver's license before December 2005 and mine had been issued in 2006.

At this point, many pre-2005 driving records are purged. I currently await what a US DMV can send me, but there is a good chance that my records no longer exist on file.

I have tried showing the Swiss Strassen und Verkehrsamt my driving record from the insurance company, which is still on file, but they would not accept it because it was from an insurance company.

Does anyone have a suggestion as to what to do? Otherwise I will have to start over and take the full educational courses in Switzerland.

Surely they should accept data from the insurance company because it proves that I had a license pre 2005, but is there an expat or American body that would substantiate the credibility of Allstate?

Many Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old 29.11.2012, 09:30
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

I suggest going back and trying with another agent. We had the same issue with my husband's Canadian license being renewed the year before and one person said he would have to redo everything, and when we went back with the letter from the insurance company stating he had been insured for over 20 years with them, they accepted it as proof.
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Old 29.11.2012, 09:31
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

Thanks - did you show up in person or try via email?
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Old 29.11.2012, 14:06
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

Would suggest try in person as that works best. Infact for a colleague of mine they even took an expired US license and gave a Swiss license based on that (on the phone they had refused)...
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Old 29.11.2012, 14:20
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

I converted my U.S. driving license to CH without a problem. My most recent renewal was less than 3 years old, so I knew I'd need more of a history or I'd get stuck with a probie here.

I contacted the state DMV headquarters of the state that issued my first license. They gave me an official printout (on letterhead, signed) showing when my first senior (age 21) license was issued. CH took that no problem, even though the more current license was from a different state.

Of course I went in person, but I am sure you could make a request by sending a letter or even online depending on your state. Records prior to 2005 should absolutely still be available.

Good luck!
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Old 29.11.2012, 14:22
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

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Dear All

I converted my US driver's license in Switzerland, but received only a Swiss license on "Probe". They required that I show that I had a US driver's license before December 2005 and mine had been issued in 2006.

At this point, many pre-2005 driving records are purged. I currently await what a US DMV can send me, but there is a good chance that my records no longer exist on file.

I have tried showing the Swiss Strassen und Verkehrsamt my driving record from the insurance company, which is still on file, but they would not accept it because it was from an insurance company.

Does anyone have a suggestion as to what to do? Otherwise I will have to start over and take the full educational courses in Switzerland.

Surely they should accept data from the insurance company because it proves that I had a license pre 2005, but is there an expat or American body that would substantiate the credibility of Allstate?

Many Thanks for any suggestions!
You don't have to do a full education course. My letter said that I would have to do two courses.

But I'm still waiting for my Canadian records that show I've been driving for 16 years. I feel quite silly with a provisional licence.
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Old 29.11.2012, 14:53
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

The state which issued your license will be able to provide a record of your licensing, including the original date that your license was issued. Google "Complete Driving Record for (state)" to find the website where you can request the record. You will pay a fee, but hopefully you will be able to request the document online and will have no trouble proving your licensing date.

On another note, my understanding was that a US licensed driver seeking to switch their license to a Swiss one only had to show proof of being licensed for three years prior to the date at which (s)he wished to transfer the license. Why are you being asked to prove licensing as far back as 2005?
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Old 29.11.2012, 14:57
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

I don't understand why you got a "probe" license? I just changed my driver's license and am listed of having gotten my license in 2009 even though I got it a long time before that. My Swiss license is a normal one, not a probational one.

It seems odd that a license issued in 2005/6 would be considered "probational"? Could it be your age as well?


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On another note, my understanding was that a US licensed driver seeking to switch their license to a Swiss one only had to show proof of being licensed for three years prior to the date at which (s)he wished to transfer the license. Why are you being asked to prove licensing as far back as 2005?
Yes. Exactly. The woman counted back to July 2009, when my last license was renewed, and said it was all good.
Having said that, is it too late for me to get my driving records and submit them to change to when I actually got my license? (sorry to change the subject of the OP).
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Old 29.11.2012, 15:02
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

well I received a Swiss license in 2008 and it was on probe until 2009, but I misunderstood that any Swiss license was without expiration. Now mobility caught that my license has expired. My last US license was issued in 2006 when I was already well over 21, but apparently there is a Swiss law that any license issued since Dec 2005 requires that an expat take some tests to aquire a Swiss license without expiration.

So now I am fighting to hopefully obtain a driver's license record that was issued in 2002. Hopefully the record has not already been purged...

Of course, I do have an Allstate record that I had a valid driver's license in 2002 and 2003. I am not sure why the Swiss Strassen und Verkehrsamt has not accepted it as proof of my license pre 2006.

I will indeed show up to their office soon. Thanks for the information.
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Old 29.11.2012, 15:07
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

Ah. Yes. There is always more to the story. Though I did not have to take any test here in Vaud for a never expiring license even though for them my license was issued in 2009.

It would seem quite wrong for any state to purge the date that your license was issued. They may purge any traffic incidents, but they should always have that date on file. The Swiss don't want your driving record. They just want the date that your license was issued.
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Old 29.11.2012, 15:12
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

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well I received a Swiss license in 2008 and it was on probe until 2009, but I misunderstood that any Swiss license was without expiration. Now mobility caught that my license has expired. My last US license was issued in 2006 when I was already well over 21, but apparently there is a Swiss law that any license issued since Dec 2005 requires that an expat take some tests to aquire a Swiss license without expiration.

So now I am fighting to hopefully obtain a driver's license record that was issued in 2002. Hopefully the record has not already been purged...

Of course, I do have an Allstate record that I had a valid driver's license in 2002 and 2003. I am not sure why the Swiss Strassen und Verkehrsamt has not accepted it as proof of my license pre 2006.

I will indeed show up to their office soon. Thanks for the information.
When did you move to Switzerland? and when did you convert your licence? Im in a different Canton but I handed over my NJ licence and got a Swiss one, eye test passed, completed the form, no other test required.

I have read on other threads where people had to prove they were licenced before they arrived in Switzerland, to stop people taking the cheaper tests back home, so people who have waited longer than a year or renewed their foreign driving licence have had to prove when they were first licenced to make sure they weren`t doing this but other than that it was a really simple process.

I was told I had to change it before a year so of course I did it after 11.5 months.
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Old 29.11.2012, 15:49
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

Do you have any prior employees in US? They would have copies of prior DL you were issued. This is what i used and there was no problem. Good Luck.
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Old 29.11.2012, 17:07
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

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well I received a Swiss license in 2008 and it was on probe until 2009, but I misunderstood that any Swiss license was without expiration. Now mobility caught that my license has expired. My last US license was issued in 2006 when I was already well over 21, but apparently there is a Swiss law that any license issued since Dec 2005 requires that an expat take some tests to aquire a Swiss license without expiration.
You will only get a non expireable license when you can show that you had your foreign license for at least 3 years (I assume that the time before the 18th Birthday does not count, but I may also be wrong) at the time when you apply for a Swiss one. Because the first three years you and everybody (Swiss as well) else will get a license on probation only. Within this three years you have to do a safety drive and a eco drive course. Additionally, you should not have a sever traffic law infraction (parking tickets and small speeding tickets are o.k, basically everything where no judge is involved).

Now, the time you applied was 2008. So you need to show that you had your license in 2005 already. Now there is some little help for you:Yyou only have to show that you had your license before December 1 2005. Thats the date when the new 3 years probation license came in force.
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Old 29.11.2012, 18:33
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

Can someone tell me what a driving record says? Does it say anything about the licensee still being eligible to hold a license, even if it's expired?

Long story short, OH let his license expire by four entire days before trying to transfer it, and they won't do it. They say he needs to prove that he would be eligible to renew his license if he was still a Minnesota resident.

Anyone else faced a similar situation? Will a driving record suffice, because it will show an absence of any suspensions or limitations?
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Old 29.11.2012, 18:49
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

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Can someone tell me what a driving record says? Does it say anything about the licensee still being eligible to hold a license, even if it's expired?

Long story short, OH let his license expire by four entire days before trying to transfer it, and they won't do it. They say he needs to prove that he would be eligible to renew his license if he was still a Minnesota resident.

Anyone else faced a similar situation? Will a driving record suffice, because it will show an absence of any suspensions or limitations?
can he not just renew the US license and then take that in? Might be easier if it`s possible.
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Old 30.11.2012, 09:20
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

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Can someone tell me what a driving record says? Does it say anything about the licensee still being eligible to hold a license, even if it's expired?

Long story short, OH let his license expire by four entire days before trying to transfer it, and they won't do it. They say he needs to prove that he would be eligible to renew his license if he was still a Minnesota resident.

Anyone else faced a similar situation? Will a driving record suffice, because it will show an absence of any suspensions or limitations?
Driving records vary by state, but most will include the date of your original license and the date of the most recent one, along with any major violations. The record will suffice for history, but not for a valid license. In order to transfer your license to CH, it has to be current and valid. Otherwise, what are you transferring? I am sorry your OH let his license lapse (maybe not by choice) as that certainly makes it harder for him.

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can he not just renew the US license and then take that in? Might be easier if it`s possible.
This seems like a good idea. New license coupled with driving record (to prove the 3+ years) should work. Remember that new license alone won't do it because the issue date would be too new.

good luck!
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Old 30.11.2012, 09:35
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

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You will only get a non expireable license when you can show that you had your foreign license for at least 3 years (I assume that the time before the 18th Birthday does not count, but I may also be wrong)
When I did mine many years ago, they used my 16th birthday as the 'from' dates (car, big motorcycle, etc.), except for the 125cc license for which they used the conversion date.

Strange, as I was closer to 17 when I got my car license, and 18 when I got my bike license!

Tom
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Old 01.12.2012, 23:58
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

We recently had the same problem with my wife's license. We exchanged our NY licenses for Swiss ones on the same day, I got an unlimited one, she got a probie because she had renewed her NY license just before we left the US.

We didn't discover that her license had an expiration until about a year after it had expired. We were able to get a driving transcript on-line from the New York DMV. After a phone call or two to the Strassen und Verkehrsamt she was able to email them the transcript and her unlimited Swiss license arrived in the mail a few days later (followed almost immediately by a bill for CHF 15 -- which is a lot less than I was expecting!).

Based on your name, I'm guessing that you may be from Virginia? If so, they seem to have the same thing with 11 years of records available. Information here: http://www.dmv.virginia.gov/webdoc/c...ive_record.asp

Good luck.
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Old 07.12.2012, 22:11
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

I checked the MFK website and in german it reads

"NEU AB 1. DEZEMBER 2005: Führerausweis auf Probe
Seit dem 1. Dezember 2005 werden die Führerausweise der Hauptkategorien A (Motorräder) und B (Personenwagen) nach bestandener praktischer Prüfung nur noch für drei Jahre auf Probe ausgestellt. Wer den unbefristeten Führerausweis erwerben will, muss die vorgeschriebene Weiterausbildung (2 Kurstage zu jeweils 8 Stunden) absolvieren und untersteht während der Probezeit einem verschärften Sanktionsregime. Wer die Kurstage nicht absolviert, verliert sämtliche im Ausweis eingetragenen Fahrberechtigungen.

Bei der Umschreibung eines ausländischen Führerausweises wird der schweizerische Führerausweis nicht auf Probe erteilt, wenn
  • der ausländische Führerausweis vor dem 1. Dezember 2005 für die Kategorie A oder B ausgestellt worden ist;
oder
  • der ausländische Führerausweis am 1. Dezember 2005 oder später ausgestellt worden ist und bei der Wohnsitznahme des Inhabers oder Inhaberin in der Schweiz bereits mindestens ein Jahr gültig war.
"

Can sombody please translate the 2 bullet points in English please?

Thanks
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Old 08.12.2012, 15:28
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Re: Difficulty in converting a US drivers license

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I checked the MFK website and in german it reads

"NEU AB 1. DEZEMBER 2005: Führerausweis auf Probe
Seit dem 1. Dezember 2005 werden die Führerausweise der Hauptkategorien A (Motorräder) und B (Personenwagen) nach bestandener praktischer Prüfung nur noch für drei Jahre auf Probe ausgestellt. Wer den unbefristeten Führerausweis erwerben will, muss die vorgeschriebene Weiterausbildung (2 Kurstage zu jeweils 8 Stunden) absolvieren und untersteht während der Probezeit einem verschärften Sanktionsregime. Wer die Kurstage nicht absolviert, verliert sämtliche im Ausweis eingetragenen Fahrberechtigungen.

Bei der Umschreibung eines ausländischen Führerausweises wird der schweizerische Führerausweis nicht auf Probe erteilt, wenn
  • der ausländische Führerausweis vor dem 1. Dezember 2005 für die Kategorie A oder B ausgestellt worden ist;
oder
  • der ausländische Führerausweis am 1. Dezember 2005 oder später ausgestellt worden ist und bei der Wohnsitznahme des Inhabers oder Inhaberin in der Schweiz bereits mindestens ein Jahr gültig war.
"

Can sombody please translate the 2 bullet points in English please?

Thanks
It means have to have had your foreign drivers license for a year before moving to Switzerland.
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