Following persons are exempted from exchanging their foreign driving license for a Swiss driving license (art. 41, al. 3ter, letter c, of the federal Ordinance governing the admission of persons and vehicles to road circulation (OAC) of 27 October 1976):
The exemption is in principle restricted to categories A (motorcycles) and B (automobiles and tricycles with a total weight not exceeding 3500 kg and which seating capacity, without driver’s seat, does not exceed 8).
- Heads of diplomatic missions, members of the diplomatic staff, members of the administrative and technical staff, members of the service staff (holders of “B”, “C”, “D” and “E” legitimation cards).
- Career heads of consular posts, consular officers, consular employees, members of the service staff of consular posts (holders of “K” legitimation cards with pink/black, blue/black and purple/black stripes).
- All family members of the aforementioned persons, as long as they are holders of legitimation cards of the same category as the principal individual, or holders of a Ci permit.
The exemption does not mean that those persons wishing to obtain a Swiss driving license cannot obtain it. However they will be submitted to a driving test by the competent cantonal department of motor vehicles. The test and the issuance of a Swiss driving license are subject to variable fees. Persons who fail the test lose their right to the exemption and are no longer allowed to drive a motor vehicle in Switzerland with their foreign driving license.
Holders of a driving license issued by following countries, with which Switzerland has concluded an agreement on this matter (as of July 2017), will be issued a driving license without having to submit to a test: member states of the European Union or EFTA, Andorra, Australia, Canada, Republic of Korea, Israel, Japan, Morocco, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Singapore, Taiwan, Tunisia, USA. Further information with regard to the procedure can be obtained with the department of motor vehicles in the place of domicile (see links below).
Holders of a driving license in a language other than the official Swiss languages (French, German, Italian) or in English are advised to obtain an international driving license, available upon request and the payment of a fee, from the cantonal authority in their place of domicile (see details below).