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Old 05.04.2011, 08:07
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Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

We filled out all the paperwork to get our Swiss driving license and one of the requirements was to include our original license. I got my first license in California when I was 16 but I have no idea where my original license is?? I don't usually keep the old/expired ones. But my current Colorado license does not show that i have been driving for over 10 years. It has no indication of how long I have been driving so the Swiss office says I they can't use it because I need to have been driving for at least 5 years to transfer to a swiss license.

Anyone else had this problem? Do I really need to call the California DMV and get my original license paperwork? What a pain!
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Old 05.04.2011, 08:11
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

I had to get my original Aussie license, this was impossible. So I got an office in the state that issued it, to write a letter stating when and where my license was first issued. They were happy with that here. Mind you, I'd go ask first, so you can have the right details in your letter. It didn't even matter that it was written in english. Course that were 10 years back now.
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Old 05.04.2011, 08:26
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

Unfortunately you will probably need to get in touch with the DMV and ask them to send proof of the original date of your license. My wife is having the same issue now. Connecticut also does not indicate when you obtained your license, just when you renewed it (in her case last year). For the swiss authorities this means you only have your license for 1 year and are thus a beginning driver, with all the extra courses, insurance costs, etc. attached.
DMV did require payment by check, which is kind of a pain from here, but if you have anyone in the states that could take care of that, you can have the paperwork quite quickly.
Good luck!
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Old 05.04.2011, 08:30
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

Didn't realize that either....Thought my days of dealing with the California DMV were finally over

What about the Manual on Swiss driving regulations in English?...I read it can be obtained in English online yet I can't seem to find it
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Old 05.04.2011, 08:33
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

Note that they don't want your first-ever driver's license; they want the one that was valid on the date you moved to Switzerland. Proof that you held a valid license then (e.g. extract from state DMV records) is good enough - or at least it was three years ago when I did it.

(I was lucky, my state lets you order stuff online and pay by CC. If I remember right I just had to scan and upload some form of photo ID so they knew it was me.)
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Old 05.04.2011, 08:40
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

Here in Vaud they told us they need the date on which you obtained your license. The one that was valid when my wife moved here, was the one issued last year, which for Switzerland counts as a license issued one year ago...
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Old 05.04.2011, 09:01
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

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Here in Vaud they told us they need the date on which you obtained your license. The one that was valid when my wife moved here, was the one issued last year, which for Switzerland counts as a license issued one year ago...
I got my Swiss license when I was living in Vaud. I had the same experience. My US license was on its' third year in the four year renewal cycle and I had to contact the DMV in the state where I was first licensed in order to prove that I'd been driving for more than four years prior to applying in Switzerland. This was easy enough, and with online banking I had a check cut from my bank to the DMV for the small fee. Once approved for the Swiss license, they stuck a sticker on the back of my US license that says it's not valid in Switzerland. That always raises some eyebrows when I'm stateside and have to present my ID.
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Old 05.04.2011, 09:18
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

Ah, right. I suppose - like nearly everything else - it probably varies from canton to canton! Mine was done in Zürich.
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Old 05.04.2011, 09:18
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

Thanks for the replies. What a hassle. I guess I will have to contact the California DMV (never and easy task).

I did find some old "expired" licenses. One was issued in 2001 and was was issued in 2004. Do you think if I bring these down, along with my current (non expired US drivers license) that would be enough proof I have been driving a while? Or are they going to want an official form?
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Old 05.04.2011, 09:22
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

It will also help with insurance, mine was cheaper once I could prove I'd had a licence for longer than 10 years.
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Old 05.04.2011, 09:33
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

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I did find some old "expired" licenses. One was issued in 2001 and was was issued in 2004. Do you think if I bring these down, along with my current (non expired US drivers license) that would be enough proof I have been driving a while? Or are they going to want an official form?
It is worth a try. I would give the cantonal traffic office a call about that and see what they say. It could save you at least 30 minutes of "automated voice response systems" (or whatever the official term for these stupid robot recorded answers is) on the DMV phone.... -"If you would like to speak to an operater, please press 2"
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Old 05.04.2011, 09:41
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

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Thanks for the replies. What a hassle. I guess I will have to contact the California DMV (never and easy task).

I did find some old "expired" licenses. One was issued in 2001 and was was issued in 2004. Do you think if I bring these down, along with my current (non expired US drivers license) that would be enough proof I have been driving a while? Or are they going to want an official form?
Yes, bring them both. That should work perfectly- assuming you don't get stuck with some self-important paper pusher. Not that there's anything wrong with paper pushers .
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Old 05.04.2011, 09:43
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

My US license was issued in 2009 and when I went to submit at the Basel Motor Vehicle office my conversion form they accepted it and issued me a temporary one valid till the 16th of April. They also told me I would get back my US license and the Swiss one in less than 7 working days after they verify. Its been over 2.5 weeks and I havent got mine yet. Now I read this thread and am afraid I may get a query. Any thoughts?

Thanks
AS
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Old 05.04.2011, 09:43
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

I called the office in Yverdon but I don't think they understood my question. She said all I needed was my current (unexpired) US license. But last time we went down there, they said our current license is not good enough because it does not show how long we have been driving. The lady I talked to on the phone at the Yverdon office today said that it doesn't matter as long as it is not expired. I'm not sure she understands the situation. Guess I have to make the drive to Yverdon and find out for sure.
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Old 05.04.2011, 09:44
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

I had to send a notarized letter to my state's DMV requesting a letter back indicating the initial date I applied for my license. However, here in Zug, they did not even look at that letter. So I would just bring your old licenses and give it a try!
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Old 05.04.2011, 09:46
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

Also, you can ask to keep your US license and they will send it back with your new Swiss license with a little sticker that says 'not valid in CH'
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Old 05.04.2011, 09:48
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

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I called the office in Yverdon but I don't think they understood my question. She said all I needed was my current (unexpired) US license. But last time we went down there, they said our current license is not good enough because it does not show how long we have been driving. The lady I talked to on the phone at the Yverdon office today said that it doesn't matter as long as it is not expired. I'm not sure she understands the situation. Guess I have to make the drive to Yverdon and find out for sure.
Yverdon is Vaud too, and in their office here in Lausanne they said that "any proof that you had your license longer is good enough". Even an e-mailed scan of the official paper from the DMV would be ok for them.
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Old 05.04.2011, 10:01
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When I changed mine, I showed a driver's abstract that had my original licensing date, which was then put on my license. The abstract didn't have any signature, it was just printed off the internet. Do you have a similar service in California?
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Old 05.04.2011, 10:05
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

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Thanks for the replies. What a hassle. I guess I will have to contact the California DMV (never and easy task).

I did find some old "expired" licenses. One was issued in 2001 and was was issued in 2004. Do you think if I bring these down, along with my current (non expired US drivers license) that would be enough proof I have been driving a while? Or are they going to want an official form?
This is what I did in Zürich, and it worked without a problem. Just wanted to verify that at least in ZH, this is a valid way to show a long driving history. Good luck!
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Old 05.04.2011, 10:19
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Re: Do I need my "original" US driving license to get a Swiss driving license

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I called the office in Yverdon but I don't think they understood my question. She said all I needed was my current (unexpired) US license. But last time we went down there, they said our current license is not good enough because it does not show how long we have been driving. The lady I talked to on the phone at the Yverdon office today said that it doesn't matter as long as it is not expired. I'm not sure she understands the situation. Guess I have to make the drive to Yverdon and find out for sure.
Why do you have to go down to Yverdon? Your location says Neuchatel surely it would be easier to go to the office in Neuchâtel.
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