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I got my Swiss drivers license!!!

Since Ohio only states the date that you renew your drivers license and not the date that you first got a drivers license, I had to prove to the Swiss that I have been driving longer than three years. If I hadn’t I would have been considered a new driver which required me to take 16 hours of driving lessons setting us back about one thousand dollars. I would have only had one year to complete these classes and the first had to be completed within six months of my temporary Swiss license issue date. Basically, I would have had to let the temporary Swiss driving license expire without taking the classes because we do not have the money to spend on it.

However, I was able to get proof from the Ohio BMV to successfully prove that I was a licensed driver before my last Ohio drivers license was issued in 2006. I ordered my drivers license history which was no help. It only showed a speeding ticket. It did not state that I was a licensed driver when I got the speeding ticket in 2002. So, I called the Ohio BMV and explained that I needed solid proof that I was a licensed driver longer than three years.

I was told to order my drivers license application from before the one in 2006. I did that and it was the proof I needed. I got an official copy of my drivers license application from year 2002. The application shows the date of issuance as 2002 which proves I was a licensed driver for longer than three years.

I am no longer considered a new driver!

At first we were told by the vehicle department in the Jura that we may have to translate the Ohio documents. He took the documents along with my temporary Swiss driving license and told us they would examine the documents and make a decision within ten business days.

Today, I got my new Permis de conduire in the mail and it has no expiration date! The Swiss get their license for life with no renewal. In France, it is the same as the Swiss but there has been debate over a new European drivers license which would need to replaced every ten or fifteen years.

The back of my Swiss drivers license

I have a driving category B which means I can only drive a car.

Vilay has a driving category of A1 and B which means he can drive motorcycles that don’t exceed 11Kw as well as a car. He exchanged his French driving license which must give him this extra category that my Ohio drivers license does not.

Two of the Swiss mothers compared my drivers license to theirs to see if they were the same. They are not. Both of the mothers are able to drive cars pulling a small trailer, motorcycles and even larger vehicles such as a bus.

If Vilay and I ever want to pull a small trailer for luggage while we are on vacation we will have to get that added to our permits.

I think we will manage without. :)

I am so happy to FINALLY exchange my Ohio drivers license for one that is good in Europe. I had no such luck in France and caution all those moving country to research this information BEFORE you move. Then, you can make sure you have all the CORRECT information (do not rely on the other country’s authorities) and documents you will need to successfully exchange your current license for one in your new country without going through what I have.

I had decided that it wouldn’t work out and I would not be able to drive until we could afford to send me to driving school in a few years which is unbelievably expensive. Therefore, I was prepared to take the train and bus everywhere I needed to go without Vilay. Now, I don’t HAVE to even if I most likely still will when I work and we buy a car. I like reading on the train and bus and I hate dealing with traffic.

However, I CAN drive!!!

Wait a second that was just NOT loud enough.

I CAN DRIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Believe me when I tell you that I have a HUGE smile on my face.

Things are looking up and it is about time.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Penny May 19, 2008, 2:02 pm

    Congratulations! That’s great news :)

  • Katie May 19, 2008, 2:50 pm

    Congrats! Thats great news! A new drivers licence might seem so little to someone, but trust me, I know how much it can mean to someone who is now in the country and is still adjusting to everything.
    I love your positive attitude!

  • Mom May 19, 2008, 3:42 pm

    Great! I’m so glad you got them. I know you’re happy. Now you need to get a ca. Then you’re good to go . lol great love you mom

  • buzzgirl May 19, 2008, 8:41 pm

    Happy driving!!

  • Alison May 19, 2008, 9:09 pm

    Oh, congrats! I had to go to driving school in France, because PA had no exchange with France (now they do). I passed my driving test 10 days before I gave birth to my son. That was SUCH a relief. It changed my life, too.

    PS: Nice whiskers.

  • expatraveler May 20, 2008, 4:21 am

    Congrats! I was a little scared about getting the Canadian one but it was merely a money exchanging event.

    Although the gov run business is totally corrupt in BC, I still managed to get my license, insurance however is different. I can’t prove that I have more than 7 years of back dates insurance receipts because companies don’t keep that many records. Although I can prove I drove in 1992 and have been driving for 16 years it’s not enough.. talk about odd or I mean I want your money odd…

    I’m happy for your freedom! What a great next step.

  • Pumpkin May 21, 2008, 10:00 am

    Penny, Katie, Mom, Buzzgirl…Thanks, everyone!

    Alison, I can’t imagine going through that and being pregnant! That is way too much stress.


    Our insurance guy told us it would be ok and we wouldn’t have new driver premiums even without providing him with proof. All we have to do is give him a call when we get a car.

    I think that the Swiss are very fair and extremely organized.

  • Pardon My French May 22, 2008, 9:03 pm

    Woo hoo! I know this will make a huge difference. Congratulations!

  • Pumpkin May 23, 2008, 3:16 pm

    Pardon my French,
    I still can not believe I got it!!! It is a little piece of plastic that means so much more when I take it out and look at it.

  • might i add ... ? May 24, 2008, 3:52 am

    Hooray! Congratulations!

  • Evolving May 30, 2008, 2:26 am

    This is friggin awesome!!!! You know, I have all of these jobs requiring that I have a drivers license and I did not EVEN THINK that they may be talking about a French one!! Thanks for the advice, I will be sure to get that in order before I jump the pond!

    Hooray for Pumpkin!!

  • Pumpkin May 30, 2008, 10:04 am


    Most French companies do require a driving license. Check the state that you have your US license in to see if they have an agreement with France. Not all states do. If your state does then you can easily switch your states license for a French license without taking any tests whatsoever. It is a good idea to have a driving record as well something from your US insurance company to give to the French insurance company so you are not considered a new driver. It is much more expensive and will save you a ton of money if you can prove this.

  • Leila Abraham August 9, 2008, 2:51 pm

    So, what happend to your USA license? Have they given it back to u, or when leaving the country? I just put in for mines and they collected my USA license and told me that I will get my Swiss License in the mail. I am worried cause someone said that they are going to write on my usa license..How true is that?

  • Simon August 29, 2008, 10:54 pm

    Funny ;) I’m looking for information cause here in Canada they asked my girlfriend for a driver abstract wich doesnt exist in switzerland neither in any european country… It’s just a different system, like the issue date of the driver licence! They finally gave up on that qnd gave it anyway…
    I’m frenc and had to go through the swiss system too which is pain inthe ass sometimes, but admînistration is the same everywere it seems, and people who travel a lot usualy know more about the system than clerks…
    Have fun in Switzerland, we lived in Swiss Jura for 9 mounths, in Sceut 10 km away from Delemont ;)

  • Pumpkin August 30, 2008, 11:03 pm

    You are right about administration being a pain in every country. We had our share dealing with the US administration for my husband and then the French for me and now the Swiss for both of us. However, I am happy that I have had the opportunity to live in those countries and that kinda makes up for it. :)

    I am happy your girlfriend got it worked out!

    I don’t know Sceut. I do like Delemont and wish we had a bigger city like Delemont closer to us.

  • Pumpkin August 30, 2008, 11:06 pm

    I wanted to add that I emailed Leila rather than answering her here since that made more sense. However, I thought it would be important to note that the Swiss authorities did take my Ohio license and will not allow anyone to have two at once. My French husband had to give up his French license for a Swiss one which he wasn’t thrilled about.

  • lianne October 8, 2008, 3:26 pm

    please can somebody help me
    i need to no if i can legally drive in spain with my swiss driving licence or is it possible to change it over someone please help

  • Pumpkin October 8, 2008, 3:39 pm

    Hello Lianne,
    I found a link for you using Google however I would strongly advise you to ask the Spanish department in charge of exchanging license from other countries.


  • Alex February 2, 2009, 5:01 pm

    o.k. great for those that already their licence, but I have a problem, I just moved to Zurich and don’t have a licence yet from any country i have lived. Before Zurich I lives in NYC and never have my licence but now I want to get one. Can I get a new one from Zurich? and do you know if classes and rules are writen in English? or my best bet is to go back to NYC and get mine there?


  • Pumpkin February 3, 2009, 12:52 pm

    Hi, Alex! I would advice you to call your commune and find out who you need to talk to regarding what you would need to do to get a drivers license in Switzerland. If you are going back to the States in the next few years you may want to compare if it would be in your best interest financially to wait until you are back in the States or go ahead and do it here. However, you are the only one that can make that decision.

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