Driving in Switzerland

Updated 2018-08-17 12:53

Switzerland has excellent road conditions and one of the safest road networks in Europe: it is in fact among the countries with the least accidents in the world. But it's also a small, densely populated country with 7.8 million people moving around in 5 million cars, in usually narrow city streets – so you should be prepared for some traffic jams. Thankfully, obtaining a licence or exchanging your existing one is quite a straightforward process.

Driver's licence exchange in Switzerland

If you have a driver's licence from your home country, you can use it to drive in Switzerland for up to 12 months. Beyond that period, it is necessary to exchange your national driving license for a Swiss driving license. Depending on your origin, you may have to take further driving examinations (practical, road test, or even a vision test) to get a Swiss driving license. You should consult the authorities to find out what applies in your case, but as a general rule, EU/EFTA nationals and citizens of the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and Israel, can simply exchange their national driving license for a Swiss one. Please note that if you drive under a professional license (bus driver, truck driver etc.), it is imperative to get a Swiss license upon arrival.

You should contact the "Service des Automobiles et de la Navigation" of your canton of residence to get complete documents checklist required to exchange your driving license. Generally, the documents checklist includes:

  • the application form completed and signed
  • one photograph
  • your national driver's license accompanied with an official translation if necessary
  • a sight test
  • payment of administrative fees
  • your residence permit

Good to know:

To drive on Swiss highways, your vehicle must have a specific vignette sticker. The sticker costs CHF 40 (â¬34,45) and it is valid for one year. For more information on the sticker and where to purchase it, click here.

Getting a driver's licence in Switzerland

If you need to get a category B licence in Switzerland, you'll be glad to know that the process is not as expensive as in other countries. Of course, prices vary depending on your canton of residence, but this is how much it will cost you on average:

  • CHF 10-15 (â¬8,61-â¬12,92) for an eye test
  • CHF 100-200 (â¬86-â¬172) for a first aid course
  • CHF 30 (â¬26) for the theory handbook and another CHF 30 for the theory test
  • CHF 20-80 (â¬17-â¬69) for a provisional licence
  • CHF 200-280 (â¬172-â¬241) for the compulsory theory course
  • CHF 80-100 (â¬69-â¬86) for driving lessons
  • CHF 120-130 (â¬103-â¬111) for the practical driving test
  • CHF 35-60 (â¬30-â¬51) for the driving licence

Good to know:

If you want to import your car into the country, you can do so by presenting the customs officials at the border with a 'declaration form for clearance of household effects', complete in duplicate. You can procure that on the Federal Customs Administration Website.

Car sharing in Switzerland

Because of the dense population and the traffic congestion ensued by everyone using their cars, car sharing is on the rise in Switzerland. A car-sharing system called Mobility, is particularly popular with over 1,340 stations throughout the country and about 2,600 cars available for pick up.

Useful links:

Swiss motorway sticker
Mobility car sharing
Federal Roads Office
Association of Road Traffic Offices
Federal Customs Administration Website

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.