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Old 02.11.2020, 19:26
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Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

Hello Folks,

I have moved from India to Switzerland last year. I have a Indian driving license with validity upto 2022. However, it is a old booklet license for which there are no online records in India (yea.. I am from the Digital Stone Age! :P).

I have applied for the license conversion in BL canton. They have sent me a letter mentioning that they are not able to verify the authenticity of the document. They have asked for 'an examination confirmation from the India authorities, from which the data of the driver's examination and category can be seen'.

I checked with a few agents in India and the only way seems to be to get the booklet license converted into a smart card license for which I need to be physically present in India, which is not possible in the current scenario.

If anyone has faced such an issue before and has successfully resolved it, please let me know. If it helps, my Indian license is issued by Thane RTO in 2002. :-)
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Old 02.11.2020, 20:04
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

I am surprised that your old booklet type licence does not show the vehicle category. This is definitely a bare minimum because in the absence of that info how do they know what type of licence they are converting. As regards this requirement for the "data of the driver's examination", I am not sure that even the credit card type licence format has any data on the examination. You need to figure out from them what exactly this means.
In any case, I have always found Swiss Authorities to be very practical. Explain the situation and see if 1. they will give you time till the Covid situation improves enough for you to visit India and get the licence converted or 2. some attestation by the Indian embassy ( for the genuineness of the licence and if possible to provide the data they are looking for ) or by the licencing authority back in India ( which may not require your going back ) will help.

Last edited by Nocando; 02.11.2020 at 21:26.
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Old 02.11.2020, 20:10
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

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Hello Folks,

I have moved from India to Switzerland last year. I have a Indian driving license with validity upto 2022. However, it is a old booklet license for which there are no online records in India (yea.. I am from the Digital Stone Age! :P).

I have applied for the license conversion in BL canton. They have sent me a letter mentioning that they are not able to verify the authenticity of the document. They have asked for 'an examination confirmation from the India authorities, from which the data of the driver's examination and category can be seen'.

I checked with a few agents in India and the only way seems to be to get the booklet license converted into a smart card license for which I need to be physically present in India, which is not possible in the current scenario.

If anyone has faced such an issue before and has successfully resolved it, please let me know. If it helps, my Indian license is issued by Thane RTO in 2002. :-)
If you moved last year and now it's November, can you still do an Indian license conversion? Shouldn't you do the Kontrollfahrt within a year?
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Old 02.11.2020, 20:32
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

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If you moved last year and now it's November, can you still do an Indian license conversion? Shouldn't you do the Kontrollfahrt within a year?
No. One can convert the license easily up to 5 years after taking up residency. However, the foreign license is void for driving in Switzerland after 12 months.
After 5 years the authority might request a Kontrollfahrt unless one can show recent driving practice (like renting cars abroad). Now, if someone has to do a Kontrollfahrt anyway, nothing changes after 5 years.
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Old 02.11.2020, 21:52
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

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I am surprised that your old booklet type licence does not show the vehicle category.
It does show the vehicle category as 'Light Motor Vehicle - Non Transport' which is standard in India for a 4-wheeler license for private vehicles.

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As regards this requirement for the "data of the driver's examination", I am not sure that even the credit card type licence format has any data on the examination. You need to figure out from them what exactly this means.
Yes. No examination data is present for the smart card license. The only difference I am aware of is that for smart card licenses, the details can be retrieved online on Indian authorities website by entering the license number. For booklet licenses, the details cannot be retrieved online.

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In any case, I have always found Swiss Authorities to be very practical. Explain the situation and see if 1. they will give you time till the Covid situation improves enough for you to visit India and get the licence converted or 2. some attestation by the Indian embassy ( for the genuineness of the licence and if possible to provide the data they are looking for ) or by the licencing authority back in India ( which may not require your going back ) will help.
Sure. Will write/talk to them and try these options.
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Old 02.11.2020, 23:05
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

The authoroties usually ask for an official translation (by authorised agengy) of your licence. If you are friendly enough, you can gently point out that LMV = Cat B and they will write that on the translation. Which the authorities will accept. This is how I did it back then..

Another option can be to get an IDP from India which clearly mentions categories.
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Old 02.11.2020, 23:55
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

I think you need to clarify the following with them:
- Is it that they don't recognise this Light Motor Vehicle - Non Transport as being the same as Cat B? And what will it take to convince them that it is the same?
- Data of driver's examination / examination confirmation - what exactly do they mean by that?

When I went to submit my form for the conversion, the lady looked at my licence once, accepted my form and that was it. Of course, I did not have this Light Motor Vehicle issue. So I really don't think that they are looking to pull out any details / ascertaining genuineness, etc by logging on to your country's DMV website. It's probably the prehistoric booklet that is spooking them.

Lastly, it would help to take someone who can converse fluently, if you don't.
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Old 04.11.2020, 00:04
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

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The authoroties usually ask for an official translation (by authorised agengy) of your licence. If you are friendly enough, you can gently point out that LMV = Cat B and they will write that on the translation. Which the authorities will accept. This is how I did it back then..

Another option can be to get an IDP from India which clearly mentions categories.
Although it is a booklet license, it is in English which was accepted by the gemeinde. From the letter, the issue does not seem to be the category of the Indian license.

Also, I guess one needs to be physically present in India for the IDP as well, at least for the RTO in Maharashtra.
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Old 04.11.2020, 00:11
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

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When I went to submit my form for the conversion, the lady looked at my licence once, accepted my form and that was it. Of course, I did not have this Light Motor Vehicle issue. So I really don't think that they are looking to pull out any details / ascertaining genuineness, etc by logging on to your country's DMV website. It's probably the prehistoric booklet that is spooking them.
For me also, the lady at the gemiende accepted the form. She was in fact nostalgic at seeing the old booklet license. I received the letter a couple of weeks later from Motorfahrzeugkontrolle BL.

I am also not sure of the process to validate the authenticity. However, another line in the letter mentions - "We have had your Indian driver's license checked by the forensics department of the BL police. The authenticity of the document cannot be conclusively assessed".

Hence, they have asked me to submit the examination data. Makes sense to ask them directly what exactly they are looking for.
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Old 04.11.2020, 06:04
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

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I am also not sure of the process to validate the authenticity. However, another line in the letter mentions - "We have had your Indian driver's license checked by the forensics department of the BL police. The authenticity of the document cannot be conclusively assessed".
This could actually work in your favour. If it's all about authenticity, you could ask them whether an apostille stamp by the Embassy of India will establish genuineness of the licence.
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Old 04.11.2020, 11:00
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

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This could actually work in your favour. If it's all about authenticity, you could ask them whether an apostille stamp by the Embassy of India will establish genuineness of the licence.
The Embassy cannot affix an Apostille stamp. The only the competent designated authority for the document in question can do this. Luckily, there is only one competent authority in India, the Ministry of External Affairs. The whole process and what has to be done is explained here: https://mea.gov.in/apostille.htm

But check beforehand if an apostille for a driving license can be issued. I expect they wont.
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Old 04.11.2020, 13:24
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

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The Embassy cannot affix an Apostille stamp. The only the competent designated authority for the document in question can do this. Luckily, there is only one competent authority in India, the Ministry of External Affairs. The whole process and what has to be done is explained here: https://mea.gov.in/apostille.htm

But check beforehand if an apostille for a driving license can be issued. I expect they wont.
I stand corrected - the embassy can attest and not apostille.
Licences are indeed apostilled / attested by relevant authorities of most countries.
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Old 27.11.2020, 14:34
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

Update on this.

I finally found an agent in India who spoke to the authorities to get my license details added to the central database. The details were then available on the website.

I shared this information with the BL authorities and within 1 week, I received the provisional license (Lenkerbewillingung) valid for 3 months in the mailbox!

One question on the provisional license though - Do I need to drive along with someone holding a Swiss license or can drive alone (car rental, mobility, etc.) as well?
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Old 27.11.2020, 15:09
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

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Update on this.

I finally found an agent in India who spoke to the authorities to get my license details added to the central database. The details were then available on the website.

I shared this information with the BL authorities and within 1 week, I received the provisional license (Lenkerbewillingung) valid for 3 months in the mailbox!

One question on the provisional license though - Do I need to drive along with someone holding a Swiss license or can drive alone (car rental, mobility, etc.) as well?
It rather sounds as if you've been taken for a ride by this 'agent' in India, because a provisional licence is just what you could get without any sort of conversion - it's not in any way linked to your Indian licence and you will be in the same situation as any learner river, including the fact that you need to be accompanied and stick L plates on the car, and then that you'll need to take a proper Swiss driving test before you're entitles to a full licence.

I'm sure someone will be along shortly to point you to these and the other rules you need to follow.
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Old 27.11.2020, 15:35
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

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It rather sounds as if you've been taken for a ride by this 'agent' in India, because a provisional licence is just what you could get without any sort of conversion - it's not in any way linked to your Indian licence
It seems that you have misunderstood the situation. The Lenkerbewillingung is issued based on the Indian license.

The issue of the Lenkerbewillingung (followed by a driving test within 3 months) is a standard process to convert the Indian license to a Swiss license. My wife is also going through the conversion process and she received the Lenkerbewillingung directly without any clarifications as she has a smart card Indian license.

In my case, the Swiss authorities needed to verify the authenticity of the Indian booklet license before they could progress. So, I had to go through the extra step of getting it added to the central database in India. Once that was done, the request to the Swiss authorities moved forward.

Just need clarity on whether the Lenkerbewillingung is a provisional license allowing me to drive without supervision or is it a learner's license.
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Old 27.11.2020, 15:47
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

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Just need clarity on whether the Lenkerbewillingung is a provisional license allowing me to drive without supervision or is it a learner's license.
I would say the Lenkerbewillung allows un-supervised driving. Only learner permit (Lernfahrbewilligung or Lernfahrausweis) would need supervision.

But check with the Basel MFK. Better safe than sorry.
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Old 28.11.2020, 23:18
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

The three month time limit for passing a short driving test can be extended upon specific request, if needed.
Of course there is a fee ;-)
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Old 30.11.2020, 17:52
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Re: Conversion of Indian booklet driving license to Swiss driving license

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I would say the Lenkerbewillung allows un-supervised driving.
This is correct; checked with the BL MFK.
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