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Old 19.08.2010, 12:16
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Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

Quick question - just to be sure.

I am a UK citizen and will be returning end of the month. I have a Swiss driving license which I will obviously want to convert back to my UK one. When I got my Swiss license they returned my UK one back to the UK.

I guess I simply go back to the UK and from there apply for my UK license back? Can I do this online/postal?

Thanks in advance.

Pike
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Old 19.08.2010, 12:18
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

speaking with dvla is the best option and most current advice
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Old 19.08.2010, 12:27
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

Got this from an email enquiry.

Thank you for your email received on 19/8/10. Your email reference number is 444237.
Great Britain also has a reciprocal exchange agreements with Gibraltar and 15 designated countries. If you are resident in GB and you have a full valid licence from Switzerland after passing a test in UK, you can drive small vehicles for 12 months from the time you became resident.

To ensure continuous driving entitlement your licence must be exchanged for a GB licence before this period elapses. If you do not do this you must stop driving, although you may apply to exchange your valid licence at any time within five years of becoming resident. DVLA will not exchange expired licences from designated countries.
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Old 28.06.2011, 09:34
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

Hello,

I didn't want to start an other thread since this title is appropriate.

I have a Quebecois Driving license (which is independant of the Canadian one) Quebec has a special agreement which give me the right to hold both permit. I didn't have to give my Quebec one to get the Swiss one.

Now that we moved out of Switzerland, I still have both permit. To be able to drive in Spain, I had as a Canadian to take classes and tests. But because I hold a Swiss Driving License I don't have to do it. (Yeah!)

So here it comes:

In Quebec, you have to pay every year 80$ for your Driving permit. And every 4 years (if I remember well) you have to renew it (which cost more) It is a big pain in the behind indeed! And to pay that every year when I am not living there is just ridiculous.

So my question is: Is my Swiss Driving License is good for ever even if we are not in Switzerland anymore?

Could I possibly keep just that one and drive only with that one?

I'll ask Quebec if I can get out of this paiement since I am not there and don't need the ''insurance'' (the 80 ish $ is in part for insurance in case of accident. It is a social system)

Nil
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Old 28.06.2011, 10:12
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

Afraid you'll need to exchange your Swiss licence for a Spanish one within a year of your arrival in Spain. Same rules as arriving in Switzerland.
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Old 28.06.2011, 10:15
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

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Afraid you'll need to exchange your Swiss licence for a Spanish one within a year of your arrival in Spain. Same rules as arriving in Switzerland.
Nope,

I kept both (QC & CH) driving licenses in CH. Let's assume Spain wants my Swiss driving license, I'll get it back when and if we move out.
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Old 28.06.2011, 10:20
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

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Let's assume Spain wants my Swiss driving license, I'll get it back when and if we move out.
Why do you think that?

Your Quebec licence is unusual in that it allows you to be held at the same time as another licence. When you get fed up of Spain and move onto xxxxx you'll exchange your Spanish licence for the licence in xxxx

Repeat ad nauseum.
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Old 28.06.2011, 10:23
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

Nil, that's what I said... you'll need to exchange your SWISS licence for a Spanish one. You're not allowed to drive using it once you've moved away (you have a year to exchange it). You can keep your Quebec one as long as you like as long as you continue to renew it.

I have an old UK licence (pre-1980) which I was allowed to keep on arrival in Switzerland and it's still valid, the rules changed afterwards.
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Old 28.06.2011, 11:37
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

The problem may be not having an EU one, but of course they will recognize your Swiss one in theory. The question is if your Swiss one is really valid if you no longer reside there... Better to exchange it and hold onto your others.
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Old 08.11.2012, 12:19
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

If living in France, there are no requirements to exchange a Swiss licence, it's optional and confirmed verbally by my local "prefecture"(remains to be seen if the Swiss authorities see it in the same way!):

Principe
La personne qui possède un permis de conduire délivré par un autre pays de l'Espace économique européen (EEE) peut demander son échange contre un permis français équivalent, sous certaines conditions.

La demande d'échange est facultative. Ce n'est pas une obligation, sauf en cas d'infraction routière entraînant une mesure de restriction, de suspension, d'annulation du permis ou une perte de points.

From: http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/F1758.xhtml
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Old 08.02.2013, 19:45
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

I thought I'd resume this thread instead of starting a new one as well.

When I moved to Switzerland in 2010, I exchanged my Italian driver's license for a CH one (in Zurich) upon arrival. When I asked what would happen if I moved away from Switzerland, I was told that, upon arriving in the new country, I would be able to exchange my Swiss license for one valid in the new country.

I recently moved to the US, the District of Columbia in particular, and they don't care about my Swiss license - I mean, they care that I had a valid license, and for that I was exempted from taking a driving test (I still had to take a theory/ road signal test though), but they did not want/ care to take the Swiss license from me.

What am I required to do with respect to the Swiss license? Do I have to notify the Zurich Strassenverkehrsamt that I moved away? Do I have to send my Swiss license back to them? Do I keep it as a souvenir?

I will probably give them a call at some point, but I wanted to test the waters and ask if someone has gone through a similar experience. Thanks in advance!
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Old 08.02.2013, 19:59
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

Keep it. American licences are not recognised in many EU countries and if you return to Italy or elsewhere with a US driving licence you may have to take your test again. Either keep the Swiss one, or convert it back to an Italian one (using a parents address) but do not get rid of an EU driving licence.
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Old 29.05.2017, 12:41
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

I too will presume to resume this excellent thread - concise, informative, well-titled and apparently not duplicated by loads of similar threads...

...Though there is this newer thread specifically on Germany: https://www.englishforum.ch/transpor...g-germany.html... that provides this very useful link to a europa.eu site with what appears to be a lot of useful info.

What I've learned:
-- most European countries will honor your CH license but require you to exchange the CH license for one of theirs within the year.
-- some European countries won't recognize an American license
-- the states of the US may have different policies (because there is no national driving license in the US); just go get a new one when you arrive.
-- My experience is that California respects the CH license as valid to drive on a temporary basis (I suppose as a tourist; in any case, it worked for all my visits home, renting a car and all).

My question: Just to be completely clear about this one year business... Can I can continue to rely on my CH license elsewhere in Europe for a month or two after officially leaving CH? I will be leaving CH, then spending 5 weeks or so in Europe with no fixed domicile, before returning to the US to take up residence. Our California licenses long since expired, and there's no way to get a new one without showing up in person, so that's not an option. Loads of driving to do, as we'll be cramming in visits to family and friends before crossing the pond, so I want to be sure we're covered if we do get stopped for some reason.

Last edited by Sunny Boy; 29.05.2017 at 12:49. Reason: add info
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Old 29.05.2017, 12:48
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

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Can I can continue to rely on my CH license elsewhere in Europe for a month or two after officially leaving CH? I will be leaving CH, then spending 5 weeks or so in Europe with no fixed domicile, before returning to the US to take up residence. Our California licenses long since expired, and there's no way to get a new one without showing up in person, so that's not an option. Loads of driving to do, as we'll be cramming in visits to family and friends before crossing the pond, so I want to be sure we're covered if we do get stopped for some reason.
I would say yes. First, you are considered, by your own description, as a tourist. Second, the exchange period in the EU would be between 6 and 12 months anyway, depending on country (There may be countries with shorter periods).

Be aware that you must exchange to a CA license 14 days upon taking up your Californian residence. AFAIK this is one of the shortest mandated exchange periods.

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However, my experience is that California respects the CH license as valid to drive on a temporary basis (I suppose as a tourist; in any case, it worked for all my visits home).
Was this experiences with law officials such as police officers or even more interesting with traffic judges or just rental car providers, which do not really care what you show them?
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Old 29.05.2017, 12:56
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

Fortunately I never had a run-in with the law!

Numerous rentals, however. Seeing as the US is rife with lawyers, wouldn't you think the car companies would want to make sure they were checking the right boxes? But you're right, I really don't know. Likewise, I'm unsuccessfully trying to remember if any of the times I used my CH license as ID while in California involved anything very official. So I guess one should take my experience as merely anecdotal.

Also, here's that useful Europa.eu link I neglected to put in my last post:
http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens...y/index_en.htm
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Old 29.05.2017, 14:58
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

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Was this experiences with law officials such as police officers or even more interesting with traffic judges or just rental car providers, which do not really care what you show them?
I was checked by police about 15 years ago in California, as a tourist with CH drivers license (+ that international translation thingy). No issues.
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Old 31.05.2017, 12:05
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

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Keep it. American licences are not recognised in many EU countries and if you return to Italy or elsewhere with a US driving licence you may have to take your test again. Either keep the Swiss one, or convert it back to an Italian one (using a parents address) but do not get rid of an EU driving licence.

Curious: Say after a couple years of leaving CH, is your CH license still valid? I mean it has no expiry date right? Do they strip you of a Swiss license if you leave the country permanently or can you keep it for life/an extended period of time?
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Old 31.05.2017, 12:13
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

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Curious: Say after a couple years of leaving CH, is your CH license still valid? I mean it has no expiry date right? Do they strip you of a Swiss license if you leave the country permanently or can you keep it for life/an extended period of time?
Interesting question. Your third question was my question with different timing: when you deregister and leave definitively, do they immediately strip your license or can you keep it for some period of time? Based on the answers, and the self-evident logic of the fact that you have 6 to 12 months in most EU countries before you have to exchange it for a license issued in the new country, you can hang onto it for awhile (--unlike bank accounts and other matters!).

If the other country requires you to exchange it, you'll have to cough it up to get the new one, I understand. But if the new country/issuing entity doesn't, how long you can continue to hold on to it? Could be interesting, for example, in cases like mine. I could just sign up for a new California license on the basis of my (very) old one having expired, and possibly avoid an exchange. If so, how long could I continue driving around Europe with a CH license when visiting the continent?
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Old 31.05.2017, 12:51
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

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If the other country requires you to exchange it, you'll have to cough it up to get the new one, I understand. But if the new country/issuing entity doesn't, how long you can continue to hold on to it? Could be interesting, for example, in cases like mine. I could just sign up for a new California license on the basis of my (very) old one having expired, and possibly avoid an exchange. If so, how long could I continue driving around Europe with a CH license when visiting the continent?
You can hold to it forever. Even when you move to an EU country (just means you have to pass regular driving test, instead of a swap). About validity please check law of country you intend to drive as they may request the your driving license is also valid at your place of residence.
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Old 31.05.2017, 12:54
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Re: Leaving Switzerland - Driving License

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You can hold to it forever.
And it never expires!

Tom
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