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Old 03.07.2014, 09:14
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Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

I submitted my wife and my U.S. drivers licenses through my Gemeinde and had my shiny, new Swiss license in a couple days. However, my wife renewed her U.S. license in 2012, so the issue date was less than three years and the Strassenverkehrsamt rejected her application.

My wife has 20 years of driving experience, so we rather not go through the hassle and expense of an unnecessary “control” test. My first call to explain this and plead our case did not go so well.

Has anyone successfully demonstrated their driving history in other ways (old insurance documents, car ownership, etc.)? As an alternative, can we wait out the extra year? The concern is that she will have been living here for more than a year at that point, so I don’t know if you can still do an exchange after that.

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Bruce

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Old 03.07.2014, 09:40
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

I had the same situation. They'll accept a state-issued driver's record (date of first issue, subsequent renewals etc.) if it shows that you held a valid license continuously during the period they're interested in.

It cost me about 20 bucks to order one from my state DMV, and when it arrived I didn't have to have it translated or notarized or anything, just went back to the Strassenverkehrsamt and handed it in. This was several years ago, in Zürich, YMMV.
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Old 03.07.2014, 09:53
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

You're not the first person to run into this, so don't worry. It's been discussed dozens of times here on EF. The trick is to figure out where to order your record and to make sure it shows a date older than 3 years, not just the most recent issue date.

Based on your username, this site should be what you need:

http://dmv.ca.gov/online/dr/
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Old 03.07.2014, 10:24
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

I had the same problem, the New Jersey DMV even told me they didn't have any records...Luckily I found an old driver's license that had expired before my move to Switzerland so they finally took that.
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Old 03.07.2014, 10:43
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

Best of luck with dealing with the California DMV, they can be difficult to deal with. I don't know if this helps, but I was able to get my Swiss drivers license after being here for nearly 2 years without having to do anything extra (besides take an eye exam). Good luck!

Cheers,
Mike
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Old 03.07.2014, 12:34
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

[Drivers licence] Conversion and questions
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Old 03.07.2014, 16:13
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

A photocopy of an old license proving that she had one prior to 2012 will also be accepted.

I spent alot of time on the phone with the NJ DMV only to find a chance photocopy of my old license. The Strassenverkhersamt was happy to use it as proof.
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Old 04.07.2014, 09:55
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

Thanks for all of the suggestions. I used the California DMV link to request my wife's driving record, Amazingly, it contains no information on issue dates or length of driving record. Absolutely useless.

Any old licenses are back in California in storage. We have documents showing my wife had car insurance and owned a truck as far back as five years ago. But it seems like the Swiss officials will take only state-issued documents.

I'll call the DMV later to see if the "official" record has any more details. I do majority of driving anyway, so we may just wait out the extra year. Based on Mike's post, it sounds like you can exchange your license even after being here a couple years.

Bruce


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You're not the first person to run into this, so don't worry. It's been discussed dozens of times here on EF. The trick is to figure out where to order your record and to make sure it shows a date older than 3 years, not just the most recent issue date.

Based on your username, this site should be what you need:

http://dmv.ca.gov/online/dr/
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Old 04.07.2014, 10:27
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

You cannot drive with the US license after one year, but you can exchange it up to 5 years after first entry here.
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Old 04.07.2014, 10:39
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

How ridiculous the the US licences don't have your test pass date on them. Can you not ask for a letter from the US stating your wife's test pass date?
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Old 04.07.2014, 10:50
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

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You cannot drive with the US license after one year, but you can exchange it up to 5 years after first entry here.
Thanks for the good info. The is the piece of information I could not find anywhere.

The irony is that this Swiss policy seems to indicate that by NOT driving for another year, my wife will suddenly have the experience needed to be trusted with a Swiss license.

Bruce
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Old 04.07.2014, 10:55
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

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How ridiculous the the US licences don't have your test pass date on them. Can you not ask for a letter from the US stating your wife's test pass date?

I couldn't agree with you more. I'll call the California DMV later and see what they can do. I'm not optimistic as Motor Vehicle Departments are the quintessential ineffective bureaucracy in the States and California is one of the worst.


Bruce
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Old 04.07.2014, 11:38
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

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I used the California DMV link to request my wife's driving record, Amazingly, it contains no information on issue dates or length of driving record. Absolutely useless.
I had the exact same issue with the NJ DMV - the driver history abstract contains information on tickets and violations, but not on your actual license issue date. I called them up and explained my situation. They told me about a Driver License Application Request (form DO-11 in NJ), which allows you to get hold of a record of an application for a license just by providing the number of said license. Maybe there's something similar in Cali?

The added headache is that you can request the driver history abstract online and pay for it by credit card, whereas the license application request is more rare and, therefore, has to be paid by check. Hoping it might be easier in Cali, otherwise you'll have to dig out your checkbook!
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Old 04.07.2014, 12:15
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

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Any old licenses are back in California in storage. We have documents showing my wife had car insurance and owned a truck as far back as five years ago. But it seems like the Swiss officials will take only state-issued documents.
Do understand this mind set: You can own and insure a car in Switzerland w/o having a driving license. So, from the Swiss point of view owning a car proves absolutly nothing.

Last edited by aSwissInTheUS; 04.07.2014 at 12:27.
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Old 10.07.2014, 12:04
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Re: Proving 3-Year Driving Record/History

We got the Swiss drivers license!!!

California was useless as we called the Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and waited on a 2-hour hold before being told we'd need to come in person to get a driver's record with an original issue date. When I explained we were out of the country, the rep provided a special phone line that ended up being a non-working number.

I ended up going to the Strassenverkehrsamt and pleaded my case that my wife has been driving for 20 years. I brought an older license that showed an issue date of 2 years and 3 months ago. They must have took pity on me as they agreed to issue the license without any testing or classes.

The whole process, once I found the proper counter, must have taken all of 15 minutes -- a hell of a lot better any any time I've ever visited the California DMV.
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