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Old 06.11.2019, 22:04
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Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

Hello, I just would like to confirm a small detail with you guys and gals, you have a lot of helpful tips in this forum!


Upon moving to Switzerland I immediately translated my driving license to a Swiss one, luckily with no hassle. I know that my driving license is now valid for all EU countries, but what about the rest?


I know that for example in Japan the Swiss driving licenses are not valid (many posts in the forum about it). Is this the only case I should be aware of? I've heard that you can ask for an "international driving license", which sould be a piece of paper that extends the validity of the license (almost) worldwide. Am I misinformed? If not, what should I do to get it?


I tend to travel a lot, and in particular I am planning to spend some time in Australia and US this year.


Thanks!
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Old 06.11.2019, 22:09
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Re: Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

If you have a plastic one, the IGP provides no extra inormation, as it is already in English.

The old paper ones were not in English.

Tom
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Old 06.11.2019, 22:14
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Re: Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

Yes, it's a plastic one. What is an IGP?
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Old 06.11.2019, 23:09
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Re: Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

There are many countries in Africa, Asia and South America that require an International Driving Permit (IDP). You can get one from the TCS in Lausanne by taking your Swiss licence and a passport photo to their office at 44 Avenue de la Gare. It costs CHF 40. Or you can get one at any of the four SAN offices for CHF 30!

Last edited by Stendec; 06.11.2019 at 23:21.
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Old 06.11.2019, 23:15
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Re: Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

OK great, thanks! But I'm soon relocating to Zurich, and given my previous experience with the French-speaking Swiss bureaucracy, I'd rather prefer to do it in Zurich :P does it take a long time to be issued? Also, how long is it valid?
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Old 06.11.2019, 23:57
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Re: Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

I presume that there are the equivalent possibilities in Zurich:

Strassenverkehrsamt Zürich-Albisgütli, Uetlibergstrasse 301, 8036 Zürich,
or TCS, Wagistrasse 33, 8952 Schlieren.

The IDP is valid for 3 years and mine was issued in 24 hours (But that was 35 years ago)
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Old 07.11.2019, 07:33
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Re: Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

The Swiss driving licence works perfectly well in the USA without an international permit as long as you are just a tourist and haven't established residence. I've also rented many cars there with it and have never had a problem.
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Old 07.11.2019, 08:38
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Re: Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

I rented cars twice in Australia in January without any problem - plastic cc one...
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Old 07.11.2019, 08:56
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Re: Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

Strictly if you're hiring a car in Australia, you're supposed to take the translation (which I've linked to on another thread) with you. But when I hired a car there last year from Europcar it wasn't necessary.
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Old 07.11.2019, 09:15
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Re: Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

I think that what rental firms want and what the police could want may not be the same thing.

The Swiss cc license is in the EU format. If you have a translation of the 12 categories into English (for the two countries mentioned) that would be helpful.

Rental car companies keep asking me what the expiry date is. We seem to be unique in that regard.
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Old 07.11.2019, 10:05
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Re: Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

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Rental car companies keep asking me what the expiry date is. We seem to be unique in that regard.
And back in the early 1970s US rental car companies kept asking what my driving licence number was. (The blue card Swiss licences of that period didn't have one)
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Old 07.11.2019, 11:59
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Re: Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

I've rented cars in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa (and of course in numerous European countries) with my regular Swiss driving licence. No-one ever even blinked an eyelid. I've never had an IDP, which is nothing more than a translation of the licence.
The lack of an expiry date is indeed occasionally a challenge. I have a memory of registering at either Hertz or Avis and being obliged to enter an expiry date. I think I entered my 100th birthday or something similar, which seemed to keep everyone happy.
Of course you have a similar problem with Swiss passports which don't have a place of birth, but "place of origin", which are rarely the same place. Can be fun trying to explain to American immigration officers, who often have difficulty understanding the difference.
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Old 08.11.2019, 10:53
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Re: Swiss international driving license info (esp. USA and Australia)

OK thanks, so it seems the IDP is not urgent in my case.


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Rental car companies keep asking me what the expiry date is. We seem to be unique in that regard.

I think you might be right. Until a few years ago also Germany had unlimited expiration date licenses, but this had to change back in, I think, 2011, due to EU regulations demands (which, if you ask me, makes sense in this case)
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