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Rewriting a foreign driver’s license

Click here for the Ukrainian version.

Transcription of a foreign driver’s license –
You have been less than a year in Switzerland and already have a foreign driver’s license?

Very good! Then you can easily apply for a driver’s license for Switzerland. What you need for this:

  • Download the exchange application and fill it out completely. Here you can find that for Zurich and here this for Zug
  • Take a passport photo and stick it on the form
  • Go to an optician and have the eye test confirmed on the application form on the right
  • A translation of the driver’s license if it is not written in Latin letters. You can get this at the embassy or consulate
  • Sign the form on the right under your photo

Now go to the nearest road traffic office in your canton or to the residents’ registration office in your municipality and submit your application. Please take the following with you:

  • Completed form
  • Foreign driver’s license
  • Immigration card (Ausländerausweis)
  • If necessary, the translation of the driver’s license

Now you will find out in the next few days whether the driver’s license can be changed without an examination or whether you have to make a Kontrollfahrt (Test). This is necessary depending on the agreement with Switzerland, as the traffic rules differ greatly.

By the way: With DriveLab you save 20.-/driving lesson if you book with your own car. Just use the coupon code “gotmyowncar”. You can find the available dates here:

Exchange driver’s license
Zürich

From CHF 130 – 75 minutes

AB CHF 135.-

Exchange driver’s license
Zug

From CHF 130 – 75 minutes

AB CHF 135.-

Here are a few more important questions on the subject:

Do I have to take driving lessons before the inspection drive?

No. There is no obligation to take driving lessons. However, we strongly recommend that you prepare yourself with driving lessons in the event of a control drive. Because if the test drive is not passed, the entire driver training with emergency training course, theory test and practical driving test must be done. It often takes 2-6 hours to get used to the special features of Swiss roads.

What is being tested?

The inspection drive takes about 45 minutes. During this time, the behavior in traffic, speed, maneuvers, motorway, etc. is checked. You can see the exact description of the requirements here. Experience has shown that the “Kontrollfahrt” require less preparation than the normal driving exam, because experience has developed a good sense of traffic.

Can I go to the inspection drive with my own vehicle?

Yes, of course. We even recommend it because it’s usually best to drive your own car. Make sure your car is safe to use. Right at the start of the exam, the lights, tires, mirrors, horn, windshield wipers and brakes are checked for obvious defects. If you are not sure whether your car meets the requirements, you can ask us during the driving lesson. You are also welcome to book driving lessons during the exam and go with our car.

Here is the training video on how to behave in Swiss road traffic:

Do you have any other questions about exchanging your foreign driver’s license?
Write in the comments. We will reply as soon as possible.

4 thoughts on “Rewriting a foreign driver’s license”

    • Hi Karina
      This higly depends on your experience. For experienced drivers I suggest to do a 75mins class as early as possible in the process. Then you have a overview, what to practice with your car. Before the exam I would do at least two more classes to prepare the exam.

      I have to say, there is no minimum number of classes tough. Also no maximum. 😃

      Reply
  1. hello. I have failed to pest my test run . although I am experienced driver for 25 years I have to start like applying for the first time. But the official also told me I can take it to the highest court when I receive my paperwork. Is it worthed to try? what is my chances in court?

    Reply
    • Hi Eda
      Firstly, I’m sorry to hear about your test run. Let’s break down the situation a bit:

      Experience vs. Performance on Test Day: Just because you’ve been driving for 25 years doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll automatically pass a driving test. Test environments can be stressful, and everyone can have an off day. The examiner would have assessed your driving based on the criteria for the test (in swiss traffic), not your past experience.

      Taking It to Court: If you believe that there was some form of discrimination, bias, or other irregularity during your test, you have the right to appeal or challenge the decision. However, there are several considerations:

      Cost: Legal battles can be expensive. This includes court fees, potential lawyer fees, and the cost of your time and energy. You’ll need to assess if the potential outcome is worth the financial and emotional investment.

      Evidence: To succeed in court, you’ll need evidence to support your claim. It’s very important to examine prior court decisions. I once checked for someone who claimed the issue was the language. The court has already made decisions stating that the exam must be conducted in German, and candidates must understand at least the commands. Check the provided page to learn what you can expect: https://drivelab.ch/en/english-driving-school/

      Time: Legal processes can be long and draining. It might be faster to simply retake the test than to engage in a lengthy legal battle.

      Your Chances in Court: Without specific details on the nature of the perceived injustice or irregularity during your test, it’s hard to estimate your chances in court. However, if you genuinely believe there was an unfair or biased aspect to your test, you might have a valid claim.

      Seek Legal Advice: Before making a decision, it might be beneficial to consult with a lawyer or legal expert familiar with such cases in your jurisdiction. They can provide a more tailored assessment of your situation than me and advise on the best course of action.

      In my 14 years as a driving instructor, I’ve only had two students who failed the Kontrollfahrt, and one literally ran a red traffic light. I typically conduct 3-4 classes and have found the exam to be well-organized and fair. Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck!

      Reply

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