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Old 11.09.2008, 13:01
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Should you surrender a Swiss licence when you leave?

I've got an appointment this afternoon at the canton office for transport to get the address on my Swiss driver's licence changed, and a provisional A1 category added.

As I'm filling out the forms I've just had a very unsettling thought. I have a Swiss driver's licence which I never bothered to swap back to a UK one when I returned to England in 2003. The question is, are you actually allowed to keep a Swiss licence if you're no longer resident in the country (as I was from 2003 to 2008)? If not I may be in trouble
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Old 11.09.2008, 13:09
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Re: Should you surrender a Swiss licence when you leave?

It could be a bit of an issue. Normally you have one year in the new country to make the switchover (you should have handed in the CH license for a UK one - that you already know).

My guess is the cantonal authorities will be expecting you to hand in a UK license. They will probably have your old details in the computer (at least they did in my case 15 years later!). The issue will be the new permit and address.

SMILE ALOT when you are talking to them. Good luck.
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Old 11.09.2008, 13:10
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Re: Should you surrender a Swiss licence when you leave?

Keep it? Sure, it's just a piece of plastic. I have never heard of ANY country demanding you turn in a driver's license if you leave the country. How are you supposed to drive in the next country you move to? Of course you should have posted it to the British DMV to exchange for a British one in the same way I (and others) exchanged our British license when we moved here.


This is not fact but just my opinion.
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Old 11.09.2008, 13:10
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Re: Should you surrender a Swiss licence when you leave?

When you get a new licence it will be an international 1, so you can drive anywhere (well that was what happened to me)
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Old 11.09.2008, 13:28
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Re: Should you surrender a Swiss licence when you leave?

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Of course you should have posted it to the British DMV to exchange for a British one in the same way I (and others) exchanged our British license when we moved here
So basically I could have gotten in trouble with the UK authorities had I been caught driving on a Swiss licence one year after my return, however the Swiss authorities wouldn't care? That makes sense to me.

The only reason I ask is because the form asks 'since when have you been resident in Switzerland'?. If I put down March 2008, it may immediately prompt the question, why do you have a Swiss licence?
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Old 11.09.2008, 13:43
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Re: Should you surrender a Swiss licence when you leave?

I drove for 2 years back in the UK with my Swiss license. When I returned to Switzerland I just updated my address to my new one & nothing was said about my 2 years out of the country even though I did officially leave.
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Old 11.09.2008, 13:49
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Re: Should you surrender a Swiss licence when you leave?

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So basically I could have gotten in trouble with the UK authorities had I been caught driving on a Swiss licence one year after my return, however the Swiss authorities wouldn't care? That makes sense to me.

The only reason I ask is because the form asks 'since when have you been resident in Switzerland'?. If I put down March 2008, it may immediately prompt the question, why do you have a Swiss licence?

I can't comment on the British authorities.

Why not just fill on the form your past residences here. The dates from five years ago and then also, "since March 2008". Perhaps even volunteer this information. I am quite sure (99%) that you will not get in trouble because you didn't "turn in" your license when you left here last time. That is an issue between the British authorities and you (who might wonder why you had a Swiss driver's license when you were resident in the UK), not the Swiss and you.

Bottom line: a driver's license is nothing more than a piece of paper/card that states you are allowed to drive. AFAIK the only time you have to turn in a driver's license is when the authorities ask you to do so. ie- Doing 150 in an 80, etc.
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Old 12.09.2008, 11:13
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Re: Should you surrender a Swiss licence when you leave?

Happy days, it all went smoothly. I handed in my old Vaud paper licence and got a spiffy new credit card licence on the spot. The A1 provisional category was also applied for at the same time.
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Old 12.09.2008, 11:34
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Re: Should you surrender a Swiss licence when you leave?

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Happy days, it all went smoothly. I handed in my old Vaud paper licence and got a spiffy new credit card licence on the spot. The A1 provisional category was also applied for at the same time.
Always good to see people report the outcome
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