Foreign driving license

Exemption from the obligation to exchange a foreign driving license for a Swiss driving license applicable to members of the permanent missions (PM) and international organisations (IO)

Persons who are exempted

The following categories are exempt from the obligation to exchange their foreign driving license for a Swiss driving license :

  • Heads of mission (PM) - members of the senior management (IO) (holders of a "B" legitimation card),
  • Diplomatic agents (PM) - high ranking officials (IO) (holders of a "C" legitimation card),
  • Administrative and technical staff members (PM) - officials in professional category (IO) (holders of a "D" legitimation card),
  • Service staff members (PM) - officials in general services (IO) (holders of an "E" legitimation card),
  • Civil servants on short-term contracts (holders of a "G" legitimation card), 
  • Non-Swiss members of personnel of the ICRC (holders of an "I" legitimation card),
  • Non-Swiss members of personnel of the IFRCS (holders of a "L" legitimation card),
  • Members of the scientific personnel of the CERN (holders of a "P" legitimation card),
  • Family members who enjoy the same status (holders of a legitimation card or Ci permit)

Holders of driving licenses 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).

Those persons wishing to obtain a Swiss driving licence in exchange for a foreign license must pass a test. However citizens of countries with which Switzerland has concluded an agreement on this matter (member states of the European Union, the United States, Japan, etc.) will be issued a driving license without having to submit to a test. The persons required to take a test should contact the cantonal authority in their place of domicile (see details below) with regard to the procedure.

Persons who are not exempt

The following categories are not exempt from this obligation and must exchange their foreign driving license for a Swiss driving license :

  • Members of personnel with permanent residence in Switzerland (PM) (holders of an authorisation for residence or establishment – B or C permit),
  • Private servants (PM/IO) (holders of a "F" legitimation card),
  • Persons without privileges or immunities (PM/IO) and non-civil servants staff (IO) (holders of a "H" legitimation card).

Before a Swiss license will be issued in exchange for their license, these persons must pass a test, unless they are citizens of a country with which Switzerland has concluded an agreement on this matter (member states of the European Union, the United States, Japan, etc.). These persons should contact the cantonal authority in their place of domicile (see details below) with regard to the procedure.

Specialist Contact

Permanent Mission of Switzerland to UNOG  
Office of Security and General Affairs
Rue de Varembé 9-11, P.O. Box 194
CH - 1211 Geneva 20
Tel. +41 (0)58 482 24 24
Fax +41 (0)58 482 24 37