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Old 02.10.2011, 07:43
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Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

Hi All!

It's probably been asked a million times but I was struggling to find up to date information. Maybe I just wasn't searching looking for the right thing

I have been in Zurich now for 15 months (B Permit), without a car and haven't been driving. I hadn't even thought about my UK drivers licence until this morning when I was looking at cars.

This week I want to buy a car here and have read that I need to convert my licence to a Swiss one to be legal. Will this be problematic (eg: have to do the test) now that it's been over 12 months I have been in Switzerland and didn't change the licence?

I've had a licence for 15 years (UK one since 2005 I think / Partner since October 2007).

Cheers,

Matt
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Old 02.10.2011, 08:02
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

Just go to the "Strassenverkehrsamt"- it's at the final stop of bus 32 in the direction "Strassenverkehrsamt" funnily enough, and explain the situation. Mention that you haven't been driving since you arrived.

People have in the past successfully converted their GB licenses after the 12 month limit, and I'd say there's a good chance you won't have too much of a problem, but your mileage may vary.
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Old 02.10.2011, 08:21
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

Thank you

Can't do it tomorrow but will do it on Tuesday. The intention was to never stay for more than 12 months (and slightly more complicated than that as well).

I take it I can just walk into the optometrists for the eye test and more will do it?
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Old 02.10.2011, 08:22
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

just go into the forum you posted this in and below the new thread button is a sticky or two. One of those is cunningly entitled " [Drivers licence] Conversion and questions"
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Old 02.10.2011, 11:20
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

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I have been in Zurich now for 15 months (B Permit)...
... now that it's been over 12 months I have been in Switzerland and didn't change the licence?...
My Portuguese friend converted his 4 years after moving here.
He just told them he spent most of his time in Portugal,and now he was going to base himself here permanently.

Good luck.
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Old 02.10.2011, 11:39
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

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I take it I can just walk into the optometrists for the eye test and more will do it?
Not sure of the situation everywhere, or at any given time, but when my wofe and I converted ours in Basel some years back they just did the eye test on the counter at the licence office.

Oh, and mine, at least, was done some time after the 12 month period without any problem. The only point to worry about is that they regard it as driving without a licence if you drive after this point. (Which clearly you've not been doing).
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Old 02.10.2011, 12:07
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

It's easy. Just go in with a winning smile and beam to the lady or gentleman behind the counter that, although you haven't set foot in a car for 2 years, you've decided to take it up again to try and access some of those wonderful Swiss alpine villages.
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Old 03.10.2011, 13:47
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

But before you go to the Strassenverkehrsamt with a winning smile get your paperwork ready to save yourself a double trip there. Go online search for Strassenverkehrsamt and conversion of EU driving licence.

Fill out the conversion form, go to an optician and do the eye test. Take the form with you, the optician will fill it out and sign the form. Make sure you have a passport photo.

Then proceed to the Strassenverkehrsamt. They will send you the Swiss licence with an invoice a couple of days later. Your UK licence will be send back to Swansea.
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Old 03.10.2011, 20:30
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

Cheers guys. Going tomorrow.



To avoid the medical test what do I have to leave off my application form? I remember reading it somewhere. Going hunting now.

I have the following classes on my licence B, BE, B1, fkp.

Is it B1?
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Old 03.10.2011, 20:34
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

Also, does anyone have an english translation of this form, just so I know I am filling it in correct? I have tried copying a pasting it into google but unfortunately it wont work

Thanks for all your help. Appreciated.
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Old 03.10.2011, 20:38
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

I want to keep my UK licence to stop having to swap it back when I return to the UK.

Has anyone managed this? I don't mind if they enter it in some computer system to ensure I don't use it within Switzerland, but I don't want it sent back to Swansea and cancelled. Maybe I'll try the "I need it as ID in the UK" trick that I think someone once got away with.

I've been here 1.5 years and don't really need a Swiss licence (as I don't drive here) but it's a "nice to have" and means I could hire a car if I wanted. Well, I could hire one anyway, but it's good to be legal.
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Old 03.10.2011, 20:56
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

Not an option. UK will restore your license on return for free if still within photo card validity.
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Old 03.10.2011, 20:57
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

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Cheers guys. Going tomorrow.



To avoid the medical test what do I have to leave off my application form? I remember reading it somewhere. Going hunting now.

I have the following classes on my licence B, BE, B1, fkp.

Is it B1?
They used to have forms and explanatory notes in english in the office. I don't know anymore as I learnt German in the meantime.
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Old 03.10.2011, 21:02
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

I don't have a translation but I try to summarise the form:

section 1: all your personal details
the box directly underneath the personal details is for the official to sign
the blue box on the right is where your signature goes (inside the box)

section 2: a health questionnaire you have to fill out. if healthy all Nein boxes should be ticked

section 3: asks whether you are legally entitled to sign ... otherwise your legal guardian needs to sign here

section 4: leave empty, that's what the optician fills out

section 5: asks whether you had your licence taken away or whether you were disallowed to drive cars

hope this helps...

@adrian...legally you don't have a choice. You must get a swiss licence within 1 year after arriving here. When you go back to the UK you can transfer your swiss licence back to a UK one. No other way.
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Old 03.10.2011, 21:04
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

as far as I know only the C classes require a medical test..anything which is about transporting people or HGV..you can check the classes on wikipedia
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Old 03.10.2011, 21:05
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

C and D incl. C1 D1. Plus any professional categories. UK fkp will convert to F. B1 will be included in B with BE shown separately.
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Old 03.10.2011, 21:09
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

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@adrian...legally you don't have a choice. You must get a swiss licence within 1 year after arriving here. When you go back to the UK you can transfer your swiss licence back to a UK one. No other way.
Thanks. However, the "one year" bit isn't true.

One mustn't drive for more than one year on a non-Swiss licence but if one doesn't drive there is NO requirement to switch the licence over. I know this doesn't affect many people, but I don't have a car here so it does apply to me.
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Old 04.10.2011, 08:19
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Ok fair enough. The law says you are not allowed to use a foreign license after 1 year. So granted if you don't intend to drive you don't have to do anything. but what's the use of a license if you dont drive?
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Old 04.10.2011, 08:33
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

Thank you for all the help! Have filled in the form and then off to drop off the form this afternoon. Hopefully I have filled it out correctly.

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Old 04.10.2011, 09:07
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Re: Whoops! UK to Ch licence conversion

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Thanks. However, the "one year" bit isn't true.

One mustn't drive for more than one year on a non-Swiss licence but if one doesn't drive there is NO requirement to switch the licence over. I know this doesn't affect many people, but I don't have a car here so it does apply to me.
I think it's possible to keep your UK licence but the only difference is that each authority (UK and CH) will stamp their respective licences showing there is a second licence in issue so if you ever get into trouble they know they have to take two off you instead of one.

This is how a German friend did it with his German and Swiss driver's licence so it's probably the same rule throughout the EU at least.
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