Each person converting his/her licence is responsible for dealing with this process. The canton does not send out any reminders. If you ignore this deadline, you may be faced with penalties or your current licence may even be seized/rendered invalid. Please note the deadline in your calendar or, even better, convert your licence during the first few weeks or months after your arrival.
Driver's licences are exchanged by the road traffic licencing department in your canton of residence. This is a purely administrative procedure for holders of driver's licences issued by EU/EFTA countries as well as Andorra, Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, Morocco, Monaco, New Zealand, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Tunisia and the USA. You are exempt from having to complete the driver's test that is normally required. Citizens from all other countries are required to complete a driver's test for a fee. If the test is not passed, your driving licence will be revoked or the foreign driving licence invalidated for driving in Switzerland.
Foreign driving licences will only be recognized if issued during an extended stay in the issuing country (at least 12 consecutive months).
You must appear in person at your road traffic licencing department and will need the following documents:
- completed and signed application form, including an eye test (offered in glasses stores and by opticians or ophthalmologists, takes only a few minutes)
- original foreign driving licence
- foreigners: residence permit; Swiss: passport or ID card
- recent color passport photo 35 x 45 mm
You will be issued a temporary piece of documentation as proof that your driving licence will be exchanged. Shortly thereafter, you will receive a payment slip by mail for the CHF 140 fee and your new credit card-sized Swiss driving licence one to three weeks later. Until you have received your new driving licence, we recommend that you avoid driving when traveling in other countries.
For more information, refer to Motor Vehicle Control Office Basel-Stadt and Motor Vehicle Control Office Baselland (in German).