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Old 04.05.2011, 05:32
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Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

Hi all, I have recently finally gotten my driver's license. And the most painless part of it, was that, I passed my practical exam after just 6 weeks with my driving teacher, in English! A month before I am giving birth!! The procedure, while long, was quite painless. First, download the form from the website, take an eye test with optician, and apply for an English First Aid Course. It is normally done over a weekend- I had a very interesting ER surgeon who conducted my first aid course, and it was very interesting with simulations and realistic practical runs. After that, apply for a test date for theory test. The test is done on a computer, and the tricky thing to note is that there is often more than one correct answer in the multiple choice question, that if you do not tick as well, is considered a wrong answer.

After passing the test, you will get a learners permission by mail. Buy an L plate from the gasoline station, and start practicing with someone who has a license with your own car. There is no minimum amount of hours you need to have with a teacher, but the norm is 20 lessons of 45min each. I have learnt that it is much less confusing to learn first about 10 lessons with a teacher, rather than have your friend or husband teach you, because the teacher equips you systematically with the rules and traffic conditions that is in an organised fashion, by leading you to certain routes. That's why I suggest to practice with a friend, not learn from the friend.

For example, on the first lesson, my teacher just wanted me to drive, so she took me to a long straight road. Second lesson, traffic lights, so the whole 45 mins, we went through about 30 traffic lights with different possibilities. Third lesson, roundabouts, so 45 min of about 10 roundabouts which we did for the whole lesson, then, right of way etc. etc. By the time you come out of each lesson, you are equipped and trained enough for the new information she has for you, until you can get through a road and apply all the rules you learnt by yourself. Getting information from a seasoned driver often nerves me, because the rules are different from 10 years ago for example, or learning just automatic is not as difficult as they had to learn with shift gear before, and normally they 'teach' with on the spot scenarios rather than a proper program of instruction, so you are faced with 10 new scenarios in a 10 min drive that is quite difficult to absorb or understand. But it is of course your own preference and learning style.

During the practical and before you can take a driving exam, you need to take 8 hours of compulsory verkherskunde (road traffic safety) theory course. Mine was done with my teacher, who over 4 x 2 hours made it very easy to absorb, and it really is very useful, covering topics of the functions of the car, weather impact, tricky scenarios etc.

Equipped with the information and gradually increasing to 1.5 lessons for 2 times a week, and then, practicing with my husband and children in the car for my own domestic errand routes, it really equipped me well to pass in just 6 weeks. I had a really good teacher. Her name is Silvia Janda 079 479 7606, comes from a family of driving teachers and is very empathetic.

The examiner, apparently was one of the old school examiners who was very strict but very kind. He didn't want me to fail, he just wanted to know I am safe for myself and the road. So, he made me do parallel parking in the first 10 mins! Then, went through uphills 30 zones, then reverse parkings, about 6 right of ways, 4 round abouts, and then he took me on the highway!! He didn't speak English, but he tried, and we conversed in a mix of German and English, and he hardly spoke to me except for instructions.

The interesting to note was that I was supposed to take my test on 19th May, but due to some private reasons, I wanted to move the test up to April. Silvia changed the date for me, and obviously she had me ready already a month earlier!

Good luck to all who are trying.
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Old 09.05.2011, 09:18
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

Thank you very much Duckduck for those info, which is quite encouraging for the people who want to get driving license here.

For the first Aid lesson, would you please recommend me the one you took? I have searched in the internet and it seems that there are several agencies/people authorized to do so, and the price is different from 100 to 180 CHF. I am quite confused about the difference among them, and also few of them are taught in English.

Thanks a lot.
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Old 13.05.2011, 11:48
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

Thanks much duckduck for the information. I am also planning to take the drivers licence and need to start with the First aid course.
Could you please recommend some English first aid course in town.
Thanks
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Old 14.05.2011, 01:05
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

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Thanks much duckduck for the information. I am also planning to take the drivers licence and need to start with the First aid course.
Could you please recommend some English first aid course in town.
Thanks

sanarena.ch
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Old 14.05.2011, 13:41
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

If you are looking for the "Nothelferkurs" - the specific First Aid course for the driving license, here is a course offered:

HEALTHY AND SAFE AWAY FROM HOME
www.healthyandsafe.biz

offers the mandatory 10-hour

FIRST AID FOR THE SWISS DRIVING LICENSE

Monday, June 20 (10.00 until 15.45 o'clock)
& Tuesday, June 21, 2011 (10.00 until 15.45 o'clock)

(both sessions must be attended to be awarded the certificate)

Course location: Adliswil, ZH
Course fee: CHF 130 plus CHF 20 for the certificate

For course details and to register, send an email to info@healthyandsafe.biz.

More courses are offered on a regular base, as well as other First Aid courses (First Aid on Children, CPR, AED, Babysitting courses etc. Instructor is medical doctor with Swiss and international accreditation.
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Old 15.05.2011, 10:26
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

Got it, thanks for all.
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Old 15.05.2011, 22:07
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Got it, thanks for all.

what you got ?!
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Old 19.06.2011, 17:38
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

Hello to all,
First time writing in, but here goes. I was looking for a post regarding L permits and driver's license exchange and I seem to recall that as a Lpermit holder that I did not have to surrender my Uk license for a Swiss one. I cannot seem to find that post now!!
an anyone shed some light on this please, too late for me as I've already chnaged mine but my wife has not yet and she does use our car (in the UK) when she goes back to the UK for business......

BTW, I do find the forum very useful and sometimes entertaining.
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Old 19.06.2011, 17:49
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

Wow! All I had to do in order to receive my driver's permit (a year ago) in Zurich was to show proof of my US driving license and take a simple eye exam. There was no written/computer exam or first aid course required.

Have the requirements drastically changed in the past year or so? (I was actually really surprised that I didn't have to learn the Swiss road signs, laws, etc. in order to get my license here).
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Old 19.06.2011, 18:04
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

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Wow! All I had to do in order to receive my driver's permit (a year ago) in Zurich was to show proof of my US driving license and take a simple eye exam. There was no written/computer exam or first aid course required.

Have the requirements drastically changed in the past year or so? (I was actually really surprised that I didn't have to learn the Swiss road signs, laws, etc. in order to get my license here).
Carrie the information relates to people who have not passed their test in another country before moving to Switzerland or passed a driving test in a country without a reciprocal agreement to easily exchange their license. You had passed your driving test in another country that has a reciprocal agreement to exchange your license for a Swiss license without additional testing (this does not apply to all countries).
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Old 19.06.2011, 18:10
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

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Hello to all,
First time writing in, but here goes. I was looking for a post regarding L permits and driver's license exchange and I seem to recall that as a Lpermit holder that I did not have to surrender my Uk license for a Swiss one. I cannot seem to find that post now!!
an anyone shed some light on this please, too late for me as I've already chnaged mine but my wife has not yet and she does use our car (in the UK) when she goes back to the UK for business......

BTW, I do find the forum very useful and sometimes entertaining.
I don't have experience of an L permit here in Switzerland but I know I couldn't hold both my UK and Swiss license at the same time as a B permit holder. In order to obtain a Swiss license I was required to hand in my UK license. I am presuming it is the same for L permit holders - I can't see any reason why it would be different - happy to be corrected though if anyone is more in the know here.

If she really wanted she could keep just keep her UK license I guess, but after a 1 year I believe it wouldn't be legal for her to drive in Switzerland anymore on a UK license (I get the impression she doesn't drive her in Switzerland at the minute from your post?).

I have checked how easy it was to change back from a Swiss driving license to a UK one (on the DVLA website) and it looked reasonably easy but have not yet done it myself if this is a reason for not changing to a Swiss license whilst you are here.
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Old 19.06.2011, 18:22
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

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Hello to all,
First time writing in, but here goes. I was looking for a post regarding L permits and driver's license exchange and I seem to recall that as a Lpermit holder that I did not have to surrender my Uk license for a Swiss one. I cannot seem to find that post now!!
an anyone shed some light on this please, too late for me as I've already chnaged mine but my wife has not yet and she does use our car (in the UK) when she goes back to the UK for business......

BTW, I do find the forum very useful and sometimes entertaining.
Why don't you just go to the "Road Traffic Office" (Strassenverkehrsamt) and ask?
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Old 19.06.2011, 20:22
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

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If she really wanted she could keep just keep her UK license
Hi,

We would all really like to keep our UK licenses, however we cant.
I suppose you could start from scratch & earn a Swiss licence, not sure it's legal but you could keep a UK licence!

I suspect you should look into the recent taxation thread, having a car in the UK amoungst other things would imply you have not actually left the UK & so you could be liable to UK taxes as well as Swiss.
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Old 19.06.2011, 23:46
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

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Hi,

We would all really like to keep our UK licenses, however we cant.
I suppose you could start from scratch & earn a Swiss licence, not sure it's legal but you could keep a UK licence!

I suspect you should look into the recent taxation thread, having a car in the UK amoungst other things would imply you have not actually left the UK & so you could be liable to UK taxes as well as Swiss.
That is my point really Fatman it seems a bit like the move to Switzerland for the poster was semi permanent at best with the intention of always returning to the UK (L permit might also suggest this too) which led me to say it could be an option to keep the UK license if they don't wish to drive in Switzerland based on what I explain below (poster states that they drive here but only mentions the wife driving in the UK).

If they don't wish to drive in Switzerland (or don't wish to drive in Switzerland after over a year of living here which is when they would have to change over) then I am not expecting anyone to forcably take the UK license away from the poster. They wouldn't be able to drive in Switzerland but I can't see anything stopping them from just keeping the UK license (until they return to the UK) and not driving here in Switzerland - or am I missing something (perhaps the license isn't even valid in the UK anymore after a year too - is that what your saying)? Think the quote would have been fairer with the context I added originally otherwise it is a bit misleading about what I suggested.

Last edited by a.j.b; 20.06.2011 at 00:04.
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Old 14.07.2011, 23:10
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

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After that, apply for a test date for theory test. The test is done on a computer, and the tricky thing to note is that there is often more than one correct answer in the multiple choice question, that if you do not tick as well, is considered a wrong answer.

Did you take the theory test in German, or is it still being offered in English?
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Old 19.07.2011, 15:08
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

Very usefull thread. Thank you everyone for all the information.
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Old 19.07.2011, 16:18
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

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Did you take the theory test in German, or is it still being offered in English?
I have the same question
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Old 19.07.2011, 18:54
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Re: Getting a Drivers' License in Zurich

In the canton of Fribourg it was only available in German and French (and possibly Italian?).
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