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Old 22.01.2017, 13:01
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Converting California CM1 Driver's License

Has anyone successfully converted their California car and motorcycle license and has been able to hold on to their CA license?

I had a Gixxer 1000 in California but from what I understand, here they stagger the cc's. When I went to the DMV in Camorino they gave me a temporary license for 3 months with the request to hand in my CA license until I leave the country. I refused to hand in my license since I'm in CA 3-4 times a year and I need my license to rent vehicles there.

My temporary Swiss license has the letter B next to the picture of the car on the back and the letter A next to the motorcycle picture, but it's not giving me the cc's I am allowed to drive. I called Camorino but all she said was that the permitted cc for my license would have to be determined. Bizarre since they already issued the temporary license. A bit confused.

Would love to hear of any Americans about this process, especially converting your M1 license to a motorcycle license without cc restrictions.

Thanks all!
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Old 22.01.2017, 13:03
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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I refused to hand in my license since I'm in CA 3-4 times a year and I need my license to rent vehicles there.
Why wouldn´t you be able to rent a vehicle with a Swiss driving license??
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Old 22.01.2017, 13:08
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

I got full ccs dating back to my 16th birhday, and 125 from my arrival date (CT license)

Tom
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Old 22.01.2017, 13:12
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

Roegner, it's a complex issue. I'm thinking of buying another car in the States since I'm there so much and have my US headquarters there. Giving up my CA license is not an option.
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Old 22.01.2017, 13:12
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the authorities here (and probably other places) normally won't let you keep your other licence. Obviously this is because if you have one of your licences confiscated through traffic offences you shouldn't be in possession of another one.

I guess this is why you only have a temporary licence here and it seems to have some restriction on it, from what you say. If you surrender your US licence for a full Swiss one, you will most likely find these restrictions will be lifted but you would have to check directly with them.
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Old 22.01.2017, 13:14
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I got full ccs dating back to my 16th birhday, and 125 from my arrival date (CT license)

Tom
Tom, I don't quite understand what you mean by "you got 125 since your arrival date." Are you saying that in the States you got full ccs but in CH they only gave you 125cc even though in the States you got full cc's?

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... If you surrender your US licence for a full Swiss one, you will most likely find these restrictions will be lifted but you would have to check directly with them.
It seems this way but that's what I was hoping to find out. Other Americans that travel back and forth and have headquarters in both countries with licenses in both countries.

It's not just that, it's also the cc issue that is confusing.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 22.01.2017 at 14:22. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 22.01.2017, 13:47
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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Tom, I don't quite understand what you mean by "you got 125 since your arrival date." Are you saying that in the States you got full ccs but in CH they only gave you 125cc even though in the States you got full cc's?
On the old paper licenses, they listed the date that you got each category and sub-category.

So, according to my (blue) license, I was legal to ride 'above 125' (and cars) since my 16th birthday, but 125s only since my arrival at age 27.

I also was able to keep my US license, though I fanally stopped renewing it, though it was pretty cool to have a US license with a black blob in place of my photo that stated 'valid without photo'.

Tom
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Old 22.01.2017, 13:50
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the authorities here (and probably other places) normally won't let you keep your other licence.
For US and Canadian licenses, normal procedure is to attach a sticker that says 'not valid in Switzerland'.

Tom
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Old 22.01.2017, 13:56
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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On the old paper licenses, they listed the date that you got each category and sub-category.

So, according to my (blue) license, I was legal to ride 'above 125' (and cars) since my 16th birthday, but 125s only since my arrival at age 27.

I also was able to keep my US license, though I fanally stopped renewing it, though it was pretty cool to have a US license with a black blob in place of my photo that stated 'valid without photo'.

Tom
I see. On my old blue driver's license I have B (car), F (moped) and G (country vehicles) but that's because they issued it when I was 19 when I didn't have a motorcycle license yet.

I got my US motorcycle license when I was 25. On the new temp CH license they did add the A, which seems to the one I need for a 200-300cc bike. If now I could just get them to lift the temporary status.
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Old 22.01.2017, 14:01
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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I also was able to keep my US license, though I fanally stopped renewing it, though it was pretty cool to have a US license with a black blob in place of my photo that stated 'valid without photo'.

Tom
Are you saying that Camorino took your US license and somehow made it invalid in exchange for a Swiss license?

The lady in Camorino wanted to keep my California license for a few days and promised she would send it back to me within the week. I asked her if my CA license would be made invalid and she said 'yes' but didn't say how. That's why I refused leaving it with her.
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Old 22.01.2017, 14:04
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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Are you saying that Camorino took your US license and somehow made it invalid in exchange for a Swiss license?

The lady in Camorino wanted to keep my California license for a few days and promised she would send it back to me within the week. I asked her if my CA license would be made invalid and she said 'yes' but didn't say how. That's why I refused leaving it with her.
Have you been in touch with the vehicle licensing in California to find out what the situation is, and what they would and wouldn't accept? Presumably you won't be the first person to have such issues.
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Old 22.01.2017, 14:12
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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Have you been in touch with the vehicle licensing in California to find out what the situation is, and what they would and wouldn't accept? Presumably you won't be the first person to have such issues.
California is not the issue. It's the Swiss that only allow one valid license at any given time. I was hoping to find other Americans that travel back and forth quite a bit and have found a way around it.
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Old 22.01.2017, 14:24
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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California is not the issue. It's the Swiss that only allow one valid license at any given time. I was hoping to find other Americans that travel back and forth quite a bit and have found a way around it.
I can't answer the question about motorcycles but when it comes to cars the procedure is as Tom described - you temporarily hand in your U.S. license and the Swiss return it a few weeks later with a stamp that says it's not valid in Switzerland. It's still perfectly valid in the U.S., although the stamp might confuse some authorities.

If you're that worried about it, just get a replacement license from CA. Tell them you lost it and get a new one issued. That one will be as valid as the first but it won't have the CH stamp.
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Old 22.01.2017, 14:27
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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California is not the issue. It's the Swiss that only allow one valid license at any given time. I was hoping to find other Americans that travel back and forth quite a bit and have found a way around it.
I meant more from the point of view of you wanting to rent or buy cars in California, and what the authorities there would accept.
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Old 22.01.2017, 14:41
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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Are you saying that Camorino took your US license and somehow made it invalid in exchange for a Swiss license?

The lady in Camorino wanted to keep my California license for a few days and promised she would send it back to me within the week. I asked her if my CA license would be made invalid and she said 'yes' but didn't say how. That's why I refused leaving it with her.
They just put a sticker on it saying 'not valid in Switzerland', end of.

They can't invalidate it anywhere else.

Tom
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Old 22.01.2017, 14:43
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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California is not the issue. It's the Swiss that only allow one valid license at any given time.
Within CH.

But why won't a CH license work in CA, I've certainly never had a problem?

Tom
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Old 22.01.2017, 14:45
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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I was hoping to find other Americans that travel back and forth quite a bit and have found a way around it.
Around what?

It's a non-issue.

Tom
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Old 22.01.2017, 14:46
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

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I meant more from the point of view of you wanting to rent or buy cars in California, and what the authorities there would accept.
I once wanted to get a quote where my home State, DL and plates didn't match. They wouldn't insure my car so I'm pretty sure with an out-of-country license they'll be even more reluctant. May be worth a call though.
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Old 22.01.2017, 14:52
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

But it's no problem, they give it back, you just can't use it in Switzerland.

Tom
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Old 22.01.2017, 15:12
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Re: Converting California CM1 Driver's License

I "converted" my US DL license for a CH one and my MC endorsement transferred with it. It was as easy as checking the box next to the "big" motorcycle.

As Tom said, my US DL license was returned to me with a sticker that said not valid in CH. So, the CH DL stays in the car here and when I go back to the US ( usually 4-8 times a year), I use my US DL - although I am sure I could use my CH one if need be.

Of note, trying to fill out and establish rental profiles (Hertz Gold or Avis Wizard for example) gets really difficult if things don't align. In my case, I have a CH phone number, a US CC billing address from work in one state and a DL from a different state (my last state of residence before coming here). My only residence right now is in CH. I end up faking some old data to get it work, but the folks that bought our house are probably pretty annoyed with all the junk mail still coming to them...
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