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OSA advice


Shortly after my 70th birthday, I received a demand from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office regarding a mandatory medical examination for my Swiss driving licence. This was sent to me via federal government’s RIPOL police search system. What does this mean?

Anyone who emigrates from Switzerland must exchange their Swiss driving licence for one of their country of residence within a certain period of time. For example, the deadline in EU states is six months. The competent authority in the country of residence can provide you with binding information on the deadlines and procedure. Failure to exchange the Swiss driving licence for one of the country of residence may result in fines or penalties.

If you are moving abroad, you must notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office in Switzerland; then, when you are abroad, you must replace your driving licence with one issued by the country of residence. If you subsequently move back to Switzerland, you may drive with your foreign licence for a year during which time you must apply for this to be exchanged for a Swiss driving licence. An eye test may be required for a Swiss driving licence depending on the canton.

If your move abroad is not reported to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office, a search may be initiated at the age of 70 when the medical examination to assess fitness to drive becomes due, for example, via RIPOL, federal government’s police search system. This happens because the person concerned is no longer registered in Switzerland but is still in possession of a Swiss driving licence.

Swiss citizens whose definitive place of residence is abroad but who still hold a Swiss driving licence can contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office that issued it so that it can be suspended. There is generally no charge for fees or costs.

Addresses of the cantonal Driver and Vehicle Licensing Offices:

OSA’s Legal Department provides general legal information on Swiss law and specifically in areas that concern the Swiss abroad. It does not provide information on foreign law and does not intervene in disputes between private parties.