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Old 24.01.2019, 13:30
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Licence swap before 29 March

In today's update to the UK Govt guidance on living in Switzerland, it is stated that holders of UK driving licences who are resident in Switzerland should exchange their UK licence for a Swiss one before 29 March 2019 (even if they have not been staying here for 12 months):

Driving in Switzerland
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Old 24.01.2019, 13:47
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

What a load of cobblers. I know the UK govt. doesn't know if it's coming or going at the moment, but this level of nonsense is still slightly disturbing.

Mutual acceptance of foreign licences has nothing whatsoever to do with EU membership, and never did. UK citizens living in other EU countries may now be required to change their licences, whereas they've generally been allowed to retain their UK ones up until now, but nothing will change for Swiss residents.
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Old 24.01.2019, 14:07
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

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UK citizens living in other EU countries may now be required to change their licences, whereas they've generally been allowed to retain their UK ones up until now,...
Unfortunately, there's no 'may' about it, but I'm surprised that Switzerland has followed suit.

Earlier this week, the UK Foreign Office posted this advice...

The advice on the Government’s website states: “If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019, you will not be able to exchange your driving licence without taking another driving test.
“Apply to exchange your driving licence as soon as you can to make sure you get one before 29 March 2019.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...-a8740256.html
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Old 24.01.2019, 14:09
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

Unless you plan to return to the UK soon, for the amount of work it takes to swap your license you would be a fool not to.
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Old 24.01.2019, 14:11
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

I can assure you that in 1970, I had to retake my licence in London, practical and theory, in full- no exchange possible then (reciprocal agreements between CH and UK were made in 72, and came into force in 73). But yes, you are right Ace1- EU residents in Switzerland have had to swap licence after 1 year.

If reciprocal agreements bet CH and UK changed- then it would be a different story- and UK citizens may have to retake licencde as 3rd coutnry nationals.

Last edited by Odile; 24.01.2019 at 14:27.
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Old 24.01.2019, 14:20
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

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Unfortunately, there's no 'may' about it, but I'm surprised that Switzerland has followed suit.

Earlier this week, the UK Foreign Office posted this advice...

The advice on the Government’s website states: “If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019, you will not be able to exchange your driving licence without taking another driving test.
Scaremongering nonsense.
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Old 24.01.2019, 14:56
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

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Unless you plan to return to the UK soon, for the amount of work it takes to swap your license you would be a fool not to.
Precisely, and this advice only applies to people who have lived in Switzerland less than a year, who may have not got around to swapping their licence yet. It's just prompting people to get it done a little earlier than they might have planned to. Simple.
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Old 24.01.2019, 20:55
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

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I can assure you that in 1970, I had to retake my licence in London, practical and theory, in full- no exchange possible then (reciprocal agreements between CH and UK were made in 72, and came into force in 73). But yes, you are right Ace1- EU residents in Switzerland have had to swap licence after 1 year.

If reciprocal agreements bet CH and UK changed- then it would be a different story- and UK citizens may have to retake licencde as 3rd coutnry nationals.
The UK did not have a theory test in the 1970's, just a driving test.
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Old 24.01.2019, 21:38
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

Oh yes it had- it was part of the practical test, by the side of the road, in the car. I remember it as it was yesterday. I could take you to the very spot in Weybridge, not far from Brooklands.

Fast car, he said, you will be careful won't you I promised.

Last edited by Odile; 24.01.2019 at 21:53.
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Old 24.01.2019, 22:01
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

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Oh yes it had- it was part of the practical test, by the side of the road, in the car. I remember it as it was yesterday. I could take you to the very spot in Weybridge, not far from Brooklands.

Fast car, he said, you will be careful won't you I promised.
The theory test as such was only introduced in 1996. Up until then it was a couple of Highway Code questions during the practical exam which is not the same thing at all.
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Old 24.01.2019, 22:06
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

Yes, I've just said this ...
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Old 24.01.2019, 23:01
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

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The theory test as such was only introduced in 1996. Up until then it was a couple of Highway Code questions during the practical exam which is not the same thing at all.
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Yes, I've just said this ...
No you did not your reply was as follows
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Oh yes it had- it was part of the practical test, by the side of the road, in the car. I remember it as it was yesterday. I could take you to the very spot in Weybridge, not far from Brooklands.

Fast car, he said, you will be careful won't you I promised.
So definitely NO theory test in the 1970's
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Old 25.01.2019, 08:37
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

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it was a couple of Highway Code questions during the practical exam which is not the same thing at all.
Well perhaps more than a couple and generally at the end of the practical exam. Though of course it may have varied and could have changed over the years before the introduction of a separate test.
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Old 25.01.2019, 08:51
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

If you're stupid enough not to have exchanged your licence before 29th March then you deserve to have to retake your driving test.
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Old 25.01.2019, 10:05
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

So, people from UK will be treated as 'Non-EU' - probably for so many other things too (property), not just driving licences ?
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Old 25.01.2019, 10:23
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

I'm not sure the UK advice re: Switzerland is well-founded.

That advice was given with a view to the non-application of EU Driver Licence directives with respect to the UK after Brexit.

It does NOT necessarily mean that licences will not be exchangeable after Brexit. What it does refer to (and this does NOT apply to Switzerland) is that under EU law, any EU licence *for which a theory and practical test were taken in any country that is now an EU country* can be used without exchange so long as it is valid, and that, up to 70 years of age.

In other words, even if the licence has an invalid or obsolete address in some other EU country, it can still be used without exchange in Britain up to Brexit, and vice versa.

A Swiss licence can't be exchanged for a British one unless it is based on a test taken in Switzerland or the EU or one of the other specified countries. If you got the Swiss licence in exchange for a USA state licence or as a diplomat accredited to Switzerland at the time you got it, you can't exchange it in Britain (unless you become a diplomat there, and then they will issue you one of those old red booklets, and it's valid only three years: a Swiss diplomatic licence is valid for life. Or until age 75 anyway, when you have to undergo vision and medical exams).

What the UK document doesn't say is that the EU Driver Licence Directive doesn't apply to Switzerland anyway. https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizen...y/index_en.htm Whether on account of an old exchange agreement or some term in one of the 150-odd treaties between CH and EU, licences are exchangeable. But they must be exchanged within one year or you have to take the theory and practical tests.

Been there, done that. Everything I wrote is from personal knowledge.

P.S.: EU law says you cannot have more than one valid EU licence (unless you got the second one in a country that only after you got it became a member state). That doesn't apply to Switzerland, but the UK and Switzerland will in fact confiscate each other's licence and return it to the issuing authority upon exchange. That poses a problem for people who are in fact dual-resident.

Think of Florida: the same rule applies in the USA, but Florida makes an exception for Snowbirds and issues a licence marked "Valid only in Florida" to persons from other states or from Canadian provinces who spend only a few months a year in Florida. It would be nice if Switzerland did that too; AFAIK it does not. But also ASFAIK one can legally contrive to have both a UK and a Swiss licence -- but only by exchanging a third-country licence or taking the tests all over again.

I had to take and pass the UK tests when I reached age 70 (third time lucky). It turned out my French licence (which I got by exchanging a British licence that I'd taken no tests for) wasn't exchangeable and ceased being valid on account of age and I couldn't renew it (the French one) because I hand't lived there in ages. My spouse got a Swiss paper licence from Geneva in the 1980s and around 2010 exchanged it for that of another canton. When she reached age 70 (age now increased to 75 I think) she had to take a medical exam. She once tried to exchange it for a UK licence: they checked with Switzerland and refused. She stopped driving in the UK for other reasons

I have three valid licences from three countries, for which I took all the tests. I now have to get a Swiss licence without giving up my UK one since although I'm moving to Switzerland (and won't have a car there) I do have a car in the UK that my daughter will use (she's listed on the insurance policy). I'm sure it can be done. It would be ridiculous to have to exchange licenses twice a year: that's why Florida issues its special ones.

Sorry for rambling on, but I wanted to explain the authority behind what I wrote.
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Old 25.01.2019, 10:32
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

Which treaty governs the exchange of licenses?
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Old 25.01.2019, 13:05
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

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Which treaty governs the exchange of licenses?
I haven't time to research the actual agreement. The fact that there is one is noted here, along with the classes (i.e. countries) of licences that are exchangeable and why: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/l...ve-road-safety

It seems to me that years ago I had an exchange with the DVLA when I was writing an article or forum post on the subject. If so, it would have been with a gmail account I closed a couple of years ago so I can't restore the message. DVLA might even have sent me a copy of the agreement.

You could start a search here: https://treaties.fco.gov.uk/responsi...lidatedSearch/ (I got too many hits to look at under 'switzerland driver licences') If I were at ISDC in Lausanne I could use LexisNexis and conduct a more precise search. Most of these government (and commercial) web sites use google-type searching regimens that throw out anything using one or more of the query terms.
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Old 25.01.2019, 13:16
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

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So, people from UK will be treated as 'Non-EU' - probably for so many other things too (property), not just driving licences ?
That's why there was a flurry of applications for facilitated Swiss naturalisation before the law-change at the end of 2017, and why so many Irish passports are being sought now by those with a connection to Ireland, North or South. Members of my family included, some documenting as both Irish and Swiss.
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Old 25.01.2019, 13:25
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Re: Licence swap before 29 March

yep, same for our grandchildren who have access ot both.
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