Driving in Switzerland on a foreign licence

Article 42 of the Ordinance on the Licensing of Persons and Vehicles for Road Traffic Purposes (SR 741.51) stipulates that drivers from other countries may drive motorised vehicles in Switzerland provided that they are holders of:

  • a valid national driving licence, or
  • a valid international driving licence (in accordance with the International Convention on Motor Traffic [SR 0.741.11] and the Convention on Road Traffic [SR 0.741.10]), together with the relevant national driving licence.

A foreign, national or international licence entitles the holder to drive all categories of vehicles for which that licence is valid on Swiss roads.

If no international driving permit (which serves as a translation of the original licence) can be presented with the original national driving licence, the driver must carry a translation of his national driving licence. A French, German, Italian or English translation should suffice, but it must be issued by an official service (for example, the national authority in charge of issuing national driving licences, a public notary or a professional translator approved on the spot).

The first name and surname of the holder should appear in Roman script in both the international driving permit and the translated version, as this will allow the police to identify the person from an identity document that is recognised by Switzerland.

The following drivers must hold a Swiss driving licence:

  • foreign drivers of motorised vehicles who have lived in Switzerland for more than 12 months and without interruption of more than three consecutive months;
  • professional drivers of Swiss-registered motorised vehicles that require a category C or D driving licence,  a sub-category C1 or D1 licence, or authorisation as defined by Art. 25 of the Ordinance on the Licensing of Persons for Road Traffic Purposes.

Please contact the relevant road traffic office in your Swiss place of residence for more information. A list of all cantonal agencies can be found on the Association of Road Traffic Offices (ASA) website.