Exchanging your foreign driving licence for a Swiss driving licence
Importing a vehicle
Third-party motor vehicle insurance
78 % of Swiss households have one or more cars, 65 % also have bicycles and 57 % have a public transport travel pass. Public transport is very highly valued in Switzerland. For example, Switzerland has, with Schweizerische Bundesbahnen (SBB) [Swiss Federal Railways], the densest railway network in the world, which is also extremely reliable. Localities without a rail connection are connected by a bus service or by postbuses. There is hardly any place in Switzerland that is not accessible by public transport.
The most popular travel passes for public transport are the half-fare travel pass and the general travel pass. A SwissPass card is needed for purchasing a half-fare or general travel pass. This customer card serves not only as a ticket and customer retention, but also offers access to numerous partner companies. The SwissPass can be ordered at any SBB outlet.
With the half-fare travel pass, you receive a 50 % discount on single tickets with SBB and on most other railways as well as on ships and postbuses. Additionally, you benefit from price reductions on municipal public transport, attractive extra services and many other offers. The general travel pass, on the other hand, grants you free travel at any time throughout the whole of Switzerland, whether you are travelling by train, bus, tram or ship, and many mountain railways also offer price reductions. Furthermore, general travel pass holders receive direct access to Swiss skiing areas or to mobility vehicles and likewise enjoy select benefits from various providers such as Switzerland Travel Center, Mobility Car Sharing or myClubs, the biggest network of sports providers.
A relatively new concept on the Swiss market is an innovative subscription system for vehicles. Under this concept, vehicles do not have to be purchased or leased, but merely subscribed to. Various companies have meanwhile made it their goal to offer straightforward and inexpensive car rental.
The most important points in brief: All-inclusive packages can be obtained from the providers listed below. On the one hand, these include the three-month, six-month or twelve-month vehicle subscription. On the other hand, the price includes all benefits for which an extra charge is normally paid. Specifically, the following costs are covered: insurance, vehicle registration, taxes, service and maintenance, tyre change when required and seasonal tyre change, as well as a charging card in many cases. The legally stipulated Swiss motorway tax sticker is likewise included.
The various providers can be compared on Autoabocheck. The biggest providers are:
You must exchange your foreign driving licence within twelve months of your entry date. To do so, you fill in the form «Application to exchange a foreign driving licence» and submit it to the road traffic licensing department in the canton where you live, and undergo an eye test by a Swiss optician or eye specialist (point 4). You also have to provide a coloured passport photo, a copy of your passport or some other confirmation of your identity as well as your current driving licence of course. The new Swiss driving licence is sent by post approximately two weeks later.
A test drive is also required when exchanging a driving licence from certain countries.
In order to import a vehicle into Switzerland as part of your household effects, clear it through customs and obtain a Swiss registration, the following criteria must be met:
If the aforementioned criteria are met, the vehicle must also be presented at the duty-free warehouse. The following documents are needed for this:
The following documents are needed for the motor vehicle inspection:
The motor vehicle inspection at the road traffic licensing department normally takes place one month after an appointment has been arranged. The inspection report 13.20A is issued after the vehicle has been successfully presented. Please bear in mind that you are only permitted to register your vehicle in Switzerland and use it on public roads if you have also taken out third-party motor vehicle insurance. You can request a certificate of insurance from your insurer. Your insurer will send the document to the road traffic licensing department automatically, directly and electronically.
You can find out more here: https://www.ch.ch/de/fahren-und-versicherung/
If your vehicle passes the inspection, a Swiss number plate will be handed over to you on the spot or over the counter.