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Old 06.05.2012, 14:04
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What happens to your old driving license when converted?

I have a British driving license which I will shortly convert to a Swiss one. My questions relate to what happens to the British license? Can I still keep it? or are you only allowed one license at a time? If you can only hold one license at a time, is it easily convertible on returning to Britain?

Finally, I return to Britain fairly often, and am insured on my mum's car. If I can only have a Swiss license, what are the implications for her insurance? Will this have to be declared and will it push the insurance up much higher?
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Old 06.05.2012, 14:07
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

When I first moved over here many years ago I got my Swiss licence and my English licence was never given back. Now I have an international one.
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Old 06.05.2012, 14:13
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

Sutter is right, they will keep your UK license when they issue you with your new Swiss license.

A word of advice: Make sure you take a photocopy of the front and back of your UK license before handing it in. When you get your new Swiss license, make sure that they have copied all of your entitlements correctly. In my case, they had copied over my car entitlement correctly, but had neglected to copy over my motorcycle entitlement. Having a photocopy meant that getting the discrepency cleared up was very simple and straight-forward -- I doubt it would have been so easy without the evidence at hand.

In terms of driving your mother's car in the UK, I doubt that it will make a difference to the premium. If you are not a named driver on the policy (eg, if her policy covers any driver over 25 for occasional use) then there should be no need to inform the insurance company as you're licensed to drive in the UK on your Swiss license. If you are a named driver, you should give the insurance company a call to give them your new Swiss driving license number -- as it's still the same driver, I suspect there won't be any change to the premium.
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Old 06.05.2012, 14:21
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

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I have a British driving license which I will shortly convert to a Swiss one. My questions relate to what happens to the British license? Can I still keep it? or are you only allowed one license at a time? If you can only hold one license at a time, is it easily convertible on returning to Britain?

Finally, I return to Britain fairly often, and am insured on my mum's car. If I can only have a Swiss license, what are the implications for her insurance? Will this have to be declared and will it push the insurance up much higher?
If your UK licence is taken away (apparently not necessarily the case. EU law forbids the holding of two valid EU licences UNLESS you got one of them before the issuing country joined the EU, but that rule doesn't apply to Switzerland) then it is returned to Swansea. You can get it back once you show a UK residence; or you can get a document showing that you took and passed the UK theory and practical tests and allowing you to apply without tests for another EU licence from the EU country in which you then have lived for six months).

The EU rules only require a member state to issue an exchange licence if you took and passed theory and practical tests within the EU. They check this: when my wife tried to exchange her Swiss licence for a British one they checked with Bern, found she hadn't taken EU or Swiss tests (the UK has a bilateral agreement with Switzerland and certain other countries to waive tests, EU law doesn't apply). And refused her.

If you have an EU licence you don't have to exchange it in any other EU country. But again that doesn't apply to Switzerland. Also you DO have to exchange even an EU licence if you live in the UK once you reach age 70.

The law and rules are all online.

I know that the Swiss cantons now have computer access to every other canton's licence records. My wife exchanged her paper Geneva licence for another canton's recently. We were amazed how easy the transaction was: dealing with Swiss bureaucracy is not usually easy.
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Old 06.05.2012, 14:21
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

The idea is that they keep it and give it you back should you return permanently to the UK. Not given that a try here but in the UK, my husband (many years ago) converted his French licence to a UK one, and then when he (10 years later) returned to France for a year, he got his French licence back (only to swop it for a CH one now).
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Old 06.05.2012, 14:24
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

The UK license will be returned to DVLA, your record will be marked as exchange. It's easy to get back, however you will need to hand in the CH one.

Some Uk insurers can be difficult with foreign non UK licenses, however mention you did pass your test in the UK!
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Old 06.05.2012, 14:28
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

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Finally, I return to Britain fairly often, and am insured on my mum's car. If I can only have a Swiss license, what are the implications for her insurance? Will this have to be declared and will it push the insurance up much higher?
I found that being non-EU resident (swiss), holding a non-EU licence (swiss) makes it very hard to get any insurance in the UK, even on an existing parental policy. You normally cannot hold insurance in your own name as you are non-resident, you cannot be a named driver on a policy as you are non-resident and temporary cover is very hard to obtain for non resident with non-UK/EU licence. It seems things were tightened up in the past two years. I was only able to continue getting temporary cover because I had previously had it extended to me before by the same company, but even that took quite some arguing. And it seems getting insurance when returning to the country will not be easy - some insurance require 6 months, or even a couple of years of residence before they will accept you and I read elsewhere on here that transferring NCD is almost impossible. Good luck.
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Old 06.05.2012, 14:28
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

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Finally, I return to Britain fairly often, and am insured on my mum's car. If I can only have a Swiss license, what are the implications for her insurance? Will this have to be declared and will it push the insurance up much higher?
Definitely declare it .. as you may find it will invalidate this particular part of your mum's cover. There are insurers who will insure named drivers with foreign licences (I have for the last 7 years been a named driver on my father's insurance policy) but it is as well to make absolutely sure that they are clear about your status as a foreign licence holder .. any excuse to not pay out on insurance. Costwise - it is an extra £35 this year.
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Old 06.05.2012, 15:00
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

I have an Australian and a US license and just changed over to a Swiss one 2 weeks ago in the Thurgau canton. I first gave my US, but they also wanted to see my Australian and in both cases they were mailed back to me. Not sure if having a US, or Aussie license, or living in Thurgau canton makes a difference.
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Old 06.05.2012, 15:13
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

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I have an Australian and a US license and just changed over to a Swiss one 2 weeks ago in the Thurgau canton. I first gave my US, but they also wanted to see my Australian and in both cases they were mailed back to me. Not sure if having a US, or Aussie license, or living in Thurgau canton makes a difference.
It's different for EU and non-EU.

Did they put that delightful red 'Not valid in Switzerland' sticker on both of your foreign licenses? When I go back to the US the rental car people always ask me what I did in Switzerland
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Old 06.05.2012, 15:31
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

No they didn't. I may have gotten lucky then.
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Old 06.05.2012, 16:54
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

I note that the cantonal instructions for obtaining a Swiss licence state at an EU/AELE-issued licence will be retained and returned to the country of issuance:

Les permis de conduire délivrés par les pays de l’UE ou de l’AELE doivent être restitués à l’autorité de délivrance sitôt après leur échange.
http://www.pom.be.ch/pom/fr/index/st...Par_textbild_2

The problem seems to be that Switzerland and its EU partners are implementing some, but not all the underlying rules (notably the right to use an EU-issued licence indefinitely (or in the case of the UK until age 70) without exchanging it:
http://www.fahrlehrerverband.ch/wfra...nie_der_EU.php

UK auto insurance is a constantly recurring issue. There may be a workaround, but it's likely to be costly: owning and insuring a car in the name of a limited company. I know that Visiting Forces have access to insurance, and that USAA Ltd issues policies covering anyone driving the car with permission. But that is not likely to help you.

If you Google <expat car insurance> you get some interesting hits including this one: http://www.homeapproved.co.uk/expatr...-insurance.htm
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Old 06.05.2012, 18:47
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

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I have an Australian and a US license and just changed over to a Swiss one 2 weeks ago in the Thurgau canton. I first gave my US, but they also wanted to see my Australian and in both cases they were mailed back to me. Not sure if having a US, or Aussie license, or living in Thurgau canton makes a difference.
I live in Kanton Zurich and along with the Swiss license, my US license was mailed back to me with a bright orange sticker on it that read, "Not valid in Switzerland." It still works in the US.
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Old 06.05.2012, 19:34
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

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A word of advice: Make sure you take a photocopy of the front and back of your UK license before handing it in. When you get your new Swiss license, make sure that they have copied all of your entitlements correctly. In my case, they had copied over my car entitlement correctly, but had neglected to copy over my motorcycle entitlement. Having a photocopy meant that getting the discrepency cleared up was very simple and straight-forward -- I doubt it would have been so easy without the evidence at hand.

exactly the same thing happened to me. took a lot of explaining when the police pulled me over on my bike!!
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Old 08.05.2012, 14:54
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

My US drivers license was kept by the bureau when they issued me a Swiss drivers license. It arrived by mail. However, I went back there and requested my US license be returned to me. They did find it and return it to me, with the bright, orange sticker. My advice would be to save yourself a trip back to the bureau and request that your original license is returned with your new Swiss license.
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Old 08.05.2012, 16:05
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

Hmmm, I didn't get a sticker on any of my licenses. I guess I was lucky
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Old 08.05.2012, 16:16
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

I changed my Australian license many years ago (in Kanton NW) & they just copied it & gave it straight back. It's useful when I'm back home and wish to drive.
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Old 08.05.2012, 16:19
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

My OH exchanged his US license for one in Switzerland and he got his US licence back in mail with no stickers. However there was a stamp in black ink on the US license which read 'not valid in switzerland'. We are non-EU if that makes it any different.
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Old 10.05.2012, 10:40
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

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I have a British driving license which I will shortly convert to a Swiss one. My questions relate to what happens to the British license? Can I still keep it? or are you only allowed one license at a time? If you can only hold one license at a time, is it easily convertible on returning to Britain?

Finally, I return to Britain fairly often, and am insured on my mum's car. If I can only have a Swiss license, what are the implications for her insurance? Will this have to be declared and will it push the insurance up much higher?
You will have to handover your UK Photocard part of your licence to the Cantonal Vehicle registration office to be issued your Fuhrerausweis. The Swiss will then return your UK Photocard to DVLC Swansea.If you do not give them the UK paper counterpart,they will not ask for it and this should be sufficient for insurance purposes in the UK.
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Old 11.05.2012, 11:42
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Re: What happens to your old driving license when converted?

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I changed my Australian license many years ago (in Kanton NW) & they just copied it & gave it straight back. It's useful when I'm back home and wish to drive.
Ditto for me, plus the lovely yellow stamp on the back saying my Australian licence is no longer valid in Switzerland!
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