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Old 05.06.2010, 18:56
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Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

Dear all,

I have been in Switzerland for 1 year and 9 months. I stopped using my UK car and installed it in a garage out of sight before the first 12 months expired. I have done no driving at all since that time, and have used only public transport.

I have not converted my UK licence. Is it too late to achieve this conversion and what do you recommend I should do about the car?

I thank you in advance for any advice you can give.

Kind regards,

John Turner
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Old 05.06.2010, 19:03
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

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Dear all,

I have been in Switzerland for 1 year and 9 months. I stopped using my UK car and installed it in a garage out of sight before the first 12 months expired. I have done no driving at all since that time, and have used only public transport.

I have not converted my UK licence. Is it too late to achieve this conversion and what do you recommend I should do about the car?

I thank you in advance for any advice you can give.

Kind regards,

John Turner
Where you hid you motor is irrelevant.

I think you've made life difficult and expensive for yourself though as you've missed the window for an automatic conversion just with the eye test, I think you'll have to go throught both the theory and practical test now. Also, if you didn't declare you car when you arrived here I also think you crapped out on being able to import it as part of your possession so will probably face import duites on it. Just to make matters worse if you didn't put it on SORN, it will have no UK RFL, and if applicable no M.o.T so that makes it illegal to drive here so if you get stopped expect some stern fines from the Swissies and potential fines from Blighty for non-payment of RFL there.... still the suns shining so it's not all bad.
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Old 05.06.2010, 19:05
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

I can be of no assistance whatsoever since I live just across the border in France, but I will point out a couple of things:

1 - it's probably difference since France is part of the EU, but it's possible to use a UK licence in France, and there are various reasons why it's preferable to keep your UK passport. Forget what now, but make sure you need to change your licence.

2 - now this bit may be useful - I know in France it costs an arm and a leg to convert your car to be registered; it works out a lot cheaper (and more convenient when it comes to using car parks) to buy a car locally. Now here's the useful bit: the company I used to move to France also take cars back to the UK at a very, as far as I'm concerned, reasonable price (I was quoted £400). They probably do Switzerland too, and even if they don't it's worth bearing in mind.

They're:

http://www.frenchremovals.com/
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Old 05.06.2010, 19:05
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

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Where you hid you motor is irrelevant.

I think you've made life difficult and expensive for yourself though as you've missed the window for an automtic conversion just with the eye test, I think you'll have to go throught both the theory and practical test. If you haven't declared you car here I also think you crapped out on being able to import it as part of your possession so will probably face import duites on it.
I'm not sure this is true. I exchanged my license after 25 months with no hassle. The lady looked at me and said "you know shouldn't still be driving on this", to which I replied truthfully, "oh no, I haven't, I won't be driving on the Swiss one either, I just thought I should get it done in case". Form, eye test etc and all was done, it arrived two days later.
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Old 05.06.2010, 19:06
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

Could someone please tell me how to edit a post

in the previous post, I said "passport". Of course, I meant "licence".
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Old 05.06.2010, 19:07
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

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Could someone please tell me how to edit a post

in the previous post, I said "passport". Of course, I meant "licence".
If you can't see the edit button, just click the red triangle in the top right hand corner to write a message to the mods asking for that change.
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Old 05.06.2010, 19:07
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

A guy at work waited 12 years to convert his British license and they let it go.
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Old 05.06.2010, 19:14
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

Licence conversion is only automatic before 12 months, after your in the lap of the gods... aka a Swissy jobsworth as to whether they enforce it

Last edited by Papa Goose; 05.06.2010 at 20:02.
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Old 05.06.2010, 19:25
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

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Licence conversion is only automatic after 12 months, after your at the lap of the gods... aka a Swissy jobsworth as to whether they enforce it
Well then smiling sweetly and politely is the order of the day. I think it was my winning personality
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Old 05.06.2010, 20:19
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

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.... Also, if you didn't declare you car when you arrived here I also think you crapped out on being able to import it as part of your possession so will probably face import duites on it. Just to make matters worse if you didn't put it on SORN, it will have no UK RFL, and if applicable no M.o.T so that makes it illegal to drive here so if you get stopped expect some stern fines from the Swissies and potential fines from Blighty for non-payment of RFL there.... still the suns shining so it's not all bad.
The above is incorrect insofar as it describes UK rules.

It is unlawful to give a SORN [Statutory Off Road Notification] for a car located outside the United Kingdom. The correct notice to give is that of an exported vehicle (even if it is intended to re-import the vehicle later). While a SORN may be given online, an export notice may not be: it MUST be given by fax or by letter, and a written acknowledgment should be obtained from the DVLA (in the absence of which you should follow up the notice).

(The DVLA Web site has now been amended to reflect my lengthy dispute with them: e-mail notification is not sufficient to notify an export, but as they had responded to my e-mails several times they were estopped from denying that they had been notified, and they cancelled the penalty issued in my case. And for the curious: we eventually scrapped the car in Switzerland. While a car for which duties and taxes have not been paid may not be scrapped in some countries, our car dealer here said that he could do so quite legally.)

A UK vehicle that is not (if required) MOT'ed and taxed may not be driven in the European Union. That does not, of course, affect the legality of its use in Switzerland, which is subject to Swiss law. As it happens, a nonresident (i.e., not the OP) may use an unregistered, untaxed car in Switzerland that is garaged here only under specific circumstances. Here's the statute: http://www.admin.ch/ch/f/rs/741_51/a115.html

I think I've posted this on this forum before (and it is based on two separate discussions I've had with the DVLA as well as their Web site info). Furthermore I lost a petition I filed on the subject with the European Parliament; thus the UK rules are presumptively EU-valid. Once a UK-registered car's MOT and tax disc has expired, the only (legal) way to re-tax it in the UK is:

(1) Drive it to a UK port of entry or a foreign ferry dock with foreign (Customs, tourist or ordinary) licence plates;

(2) Drive it to a UK port of entry or a foreign ferry dock with foreign "transporter plates" of the sort used by foreign car dealers and repairers

(3) Have it transported to a UK port of entry or a foreign ferry dock on the back of a lorry

and then, before driving it in the UK, make an appointment with an authorised MOT inspection station anywhere in the United Kingdom, however far away, and drive it directly there. And before driving it away from the inspection station after obtaining an MOT certificate, pay the road tax. (Of course most people probably just drive on through France, and call an MOT station in Dover (etc.) from the ferry dock and stay beneath the radar in both countries. But that's quite apart from legality.)

As for the exchange of a driving licence after 12 months' residence: after some searching I could find no Swiss law or regulation stating that you cannot exchange your licence after 12 months. The following document does say that you (assuming you are not a Swiss citizen) may use the licence for 12 months and must exchange it later: http://www.bfm.admin.ch/etc/medialib...er-faden-f.pdf (CAUTION: In the UK one cannot exchange a foreign licence (other than an EU one, which is need not be exchanged until the holder reaches age 70 anyway) after 12 months' residence (or before 6 months' residence). Some of the rules are here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Motoring...nce/DG_4022562 )

The licence application form does call for proof of the date of entry into Switzerland "for persons of Swiss nationality or if the date of entry into Switzerland does not appear on the residence permit the Office of Population (Contrôle des habitants) must note the date of entry into Switzerland as well as the country of origin (provenance)." I can say that my wife, who had a Swiss blue paper licence issued in 1992, was able to exchange it last week for a credit-card format one in our new canton without any formality just by presenting her UK passport and without any residence document at all.

Last edited by andy02; 05.06.2010 at 20:39.
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Old 05.06.2010, 20:31
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

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Well then smiling sweetly and politely is the order of the day. I think it was my winning personality
You old smoothy you


The licence with eye test only seems to be discretionary after the 12 months, so why chance it for the cost of an eye test, as you'll pay the licence fee anyway

The above is all very long winded and good (as per usual) but who really wants all the hassle, but if the car is not legal in it's country of origin, it's not legal here. Unless you are pedantic enough to try and sue all an sundry to try and prove a point, and is it worth it for "If the validity of a foreign registration is expired and abroad, the customs authorities may authorize the use of the vehicle in Switzerland for a period of thirty consecutive days, and when that period has elapsed, the vehicle must be registered Switzerland2If the validity of a foreign registration is expired and abroad, the customs authorities may authorize the use of the vehicle in Switzerland for a period of thirty consecutive days, and when that period has elapsed, the vehicle must be registered Switzerland"... direct quote from offical text provided by Mr 02

Some people just like to make things more complicated that they need to be.
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Last edited by Papa Goose; 05.06.2010 at 20:48.
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Old 05.06.2010, 20:52
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

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The above is all very long winded ...
Some people just like to make things more complicated that they need to be.
If the LAW is complicated, any explanation of what it means will be equally so.

My own problems have happened because of dual residence. (As it happens, I have licences from four countries, all valid; I had to take a UK theory and practical test last year because it turned out my French licence wasn't valid in the UK since I had taken any tests for it. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdo...7/777517en.pdf Things would have been simpler for me now had I bothered to apply for a Swiss licence when I lived here in the early 1990s, but I didn't have to, and didn't.)
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Old 05.06.2010, 20:54
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

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If the LAW is complicated, any explanation of what it means will be equally so.

My own problems have happened because of dual residence. (As it happens, I have licences from four countries, all valid; I had to take a UK theory and practical test last year because it turned out my French licence wasn't valid in the UK since I had taken any tests for it. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2004_2009/documents/cm/777/777517/777517en.pdf Things would have been simpler for me now had I bothered to apply for a Swiss licence when I lived here in the early 1990s, but I didn't have to, and didn't.)
The moral of the OP's story I fear. As always Mr 02 your detailed post went into the technical depths and interpretations of the law, me, I always prefer the keep it simple rule and the practice of just do it..... saves so much grief and cost in the long run.

Last edited by Papa Goose; 06.06.2010 at 00:23.
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Old 05.06.2010, 22:54
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

Dear All,

I've just noticed all your kind replies.

I'm embarrassed by the rapid response my request generated. Thankyou all so much for your help. I will look at what you say tomorrow after I've had a bit of shut-eye.

Thanks again,

John
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Old 05.06.2010, 23:18
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

Dont worry about your driving license if EU.
I had lost my german license before i entered Switzerland, and only had a letter from them confirming, I had a german driving license, and was allowed to drive up to 7.5T.
With that letter I applied for a replacement licence, but because of the 7.5T instead of 3.5T, I had to do a doctors test too, which a) had several MONTHS waiting time, as only a few doctors are allowed to do that test, and B) because the test costs CHF 200, and i lost my job while waiting, i had to postpone it indefinitely. When I got the test, more than a year had passed, and i got the license without any problems at all.
When I got the paper from the Doctor, it took 3-4 days, before my license was mailed to me.

Doc.
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Old 06.06.2010, 00:20
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

The rule states that you can only drive on your foreign licence for 1 year and thereafter you must convert that licence for a Swiss one. There is not defined time limit for conversion.

In my case I converted my UK licence after 20 months without any hassle.

As the UK licence allows you to drive a truck up to 3 tons, here this would mean you need a medical. When converting be sure to only tick for car category.
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Old 06.06.2010, 00:27
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

Actually, Andy's reply was useful to me; I'm getting my car sent back to the UK and am now deliberating as to whether to sell it or get it MOT'd and taxed, and keep it somewhere for my use in the UK when I'm there.

Thanks Andy
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Old 06.06.2010, 18:04
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Re: Re. Converting UK drivers' licence after more than one year

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Actually, Andy's reply was useful to me; I'm getting my car sent back to the UK and am now deliberating as to whether to sell it or get it MOT'd and taxed, and keep it somewhere for my use in the UK when I'm there.

Thanks Andy
Ex-bf abandoned his car in the garage in the building of my daughter's flat in London and moved back to Australia. MOT and tax disc expired and it took some time to get a duplicate log book anyway. I filed a SORN. Rather than insure and MOT it we sold it for £400 to a dealer who put his red-on-white "trade licence" plates on the vehicle and drove it away. I then faxed DVLA to make sure they took it out of my name.
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