International Driving Permit Switzerland
What is the difference between an International Driving Permit (IDP) and an International Driver’s License (IDL)?
An International Driving Permit is a small grey booklet marginally larger than a passport containing a translation of your original driving license in 10 languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Spanish. It is recognized by 141 countries worldwide and is valid for one year.
In comparison, an International Driving License is not a legal document and cannot be used to drive in foreign countries or instead of an IDP.
How does an International Driving Permit work in Switzerland?
If your original driver’s license is written in English, French, Italian, or German, you do not need to carry an International Driver’s Permit. Otherwise, you will need to carry this document with you at all times when you are driving in Switzerland. If you are planning on driving through Switzerland’s borders and neighboring countries during your trip, check these countries’ regulations, as they may require you to hold an International Driving Permit.
Where can you get an International Driver’s Permit?
You can apply for an International Driving Permit through our website.
How long will an International Driver’s Permit take to arrive?
A digital copy of your International Driver’s Permit will be available 2 hours after approval.
A postal copy of your International Driver’s Permit will arrive at your postal address between 2 and 30 days after it has been approved.
Who approves International Driver’s Permits?
International Driver’s Permits are approved by designated institutions that a country’s central government has appointed.
Benefits of carrying an International Driving Permit
In addition to allowing you to drive motor vehicles in Switzerland, an International Driver’s Permit will also help you to make interactions with members of Swiss authorities as quick and easy as possible. This is because this document contains ten translations of your original driver’s license, including translations into the three most spoken languages in Switzerland – French, German, and Italian.
When should you get a Swiss Driver’s License?
If you are looking to stay in Switzerland for more than three years, it is worth looking into obtaining a Swiss Driver’s license.
Requirements for driving in Switzerland
• If your native driving license is not written in French, English, German, or Italian, you must possess a valid International Driving Permit when driving.
• V5 – A V5 document is a logbook that documents the previous and current owners of the car
• Proof of car insurance
- You must be over the age of 18 to drive a motor vehicle in Switzerland.
- You must be over the age of 21 to rent a car in Switzerland
Rules for driving in Switzerland
Overtaking and passing
In Switzerland, you drive on the right and overtake on the left. Overtaking is permitted; however, you must indicate when moving between lanes. Always take caution when overtaking.
All passengers over 12 must wear a seatbelt while in a moving vehicle. A fine of 60CHF (£50/$60) is applicable if you are caught breaking this law. Infants under 18 months should be fastened into child safety seats.
In Switzerland, the metric system is used to convey speed limits. The speed limits are as follows:
• Built-up areas – 50km/h
• Outside of built-up areas – 80km/h – 100km/h (local signs indicate specific speed limits)
• Motorways – 120km/h
Breaking the speed limit will result in a fine or a fine and a ban depending on the severity of the misdemeanor.
Holding at least third-party car insurance on any vehicle you drive in Switzerland is mandatory. Always carry proof of your insurance in your vehicle at all times. The punishment for not having car insurance is a fine of around £300 and 6 penalty points on your license.
Drink driving is illegal in Switzerland. If a traffic enforcement officer suspects you are committing this offense, you will be obliged to take a breathalyzer test. The limit for safe consumption in Switzerland is 0.1 grams of alcohol per 1 kilogram of blood, equivalent to around one pint of beer or two glasses of wine. However, this differentiates depending on the person, so it is wise to avoid drinking any amount of alcohol before driving. The consequences for drink-driving depend on how far over the limit you are. A minor breach of the limit will land you with caution and a considerable fine, while a substantial violation of the limit may land you with a hefty fine and a driving ban that could span from a month to a few years.
Using your mobile phone while driving is not permitted in Switzerland, and a fine is typically of CHF100 ($100/£82) for being on a phone call while driving. However, texting while driving is considered a more severe offense, which can result in larger fines, confiscation of your driving license, and, in some instances, prison time.
Tips for driving in Switzerland
It is wise to equip your vehicle with heavy-duty tires during the winter season, as the roads can get dangerously slippy when they are covered with ice and snow. Most car garages will stock these tires.
Cyclists are much more prevalent on the roads in Switzerland than in the UK and the US, so be mindful of this when driving so that you can be as safe as possible.
The following lines indicate the following parking arrangements:
Yellow lines – you can’t park on these lines without permission.
White lines – you can park on these lines by paying for a ticket on a nearby parking meter and displaying it on your windscreen.
Blue lines – you can park on these lines free of charge from 8 am to 6 pm, Monday to Saturday.
Driving at night
Driving in the dark in Switzerland can be particularly hazardous as many roads wind around the mountains, leaving high drops to the edges of the roads.
It is recommended that when driving in the evening, you drive substantially slower. Additionally, you should ensure that the road ahead is well lit, so you do not lose visibility around bends.
Car rental in Switzerland
Although you can legally drive motor vehicles in Switzerland from 18, you must be over the age of 21 to rent a car.
When applying to rent a car, you must ensure that you bring your native driver’s license or Swiss license if you hold this document. Unless you hold a Swiss license or your native license is written in English, Italian, French or German, you must bring a valid International Driver’s Permit to accompany it. Without the relevant documents, you are likely to be denied access to a rental vehicle.
It is a legal requirement that all drivers hold third-party insurance on their rental cars in Switzerland. Depending on the car rental company, third-party insurance may be included in the price. Suppose you already have a car insurance provider for a vehicle at home. In that case, you may want to opt for a car rental company that doesn’t provide car insurance, as your current provider may be able to provide this to you at a discounted rate. It is recommended that you secure your rental car a month in advance to optimize your range of choices and to avoid increased prices when demand rises.
Top 6 Places to Visit in Switzerland
The Matterhorn is one of the highest mountains in The Alps, rising to a staggering 4,487 meters at its peak. This iconic natural wonder is the perfect destination for travelers looking to enjoy the natural beauty of Switzerland.
Travelers can begin their visits to The Matterhorn at the charming village of Zermatt, which sits at the foot of the mountain. The village offers a range of hotels and restaurants accessed by foot or horse-drawn carriage. Motor vehicles are prohibited in Zermatt to maintain the purity of the air surrounding the mountain, making this village a peaceful escape from the modern world.
In the winter, visitors can ski down the slopes of the mountain, and swimming and tennis are perfect pastimes in the summer.
The capital of Switzerland, Bern, is a beautiful medieval city situated on the crook of the river Aare. Its picturesque view of the freshwater is complimented by exquisite Swiss architecture. See the clock tower with its traditional Swiss puppets, The Zytglogge, and The Bundesplatz, the beautiful renaissance building that houses the Swiss parliament.
There is an incredible art museum (the Kunstmuseum) for culture lovers, and for wildlife enthusiasts, there is a bear park on the outskirts of the city.
The Rhine Falls
The Rhine Falls of Schaffhausen is a staple destination for visitors to Switzerland. Spanning 150 meters, these waterfalls are the largest in Central Europe.
You should visit these falls in the summertime while the snow is melted and the falls swell with water.
You can view the waterfalls from the viewing platforms on either side of the falls or take a boat ride across the waters preceding the drop to immerse yourself in this natural wonder.
The Swiss National Park
Located in the Engadine Valley, the Swiss National Park sits on the border with Italy, stretching 170 square kilometers.
The park encompasses blossoming woods, freshwater rivers, and limestone crags, all home to 5,000 species of wildlife. Ibex, red deer, chamois, and fox roam this national park. Wildlife enthusiasts can catch a glimpse of these creatures by walking the extensive network of forest trails that have guided walkers since the national park was founded in 1914
Although Zurich is not the capital of Switzerland, it is the largest. This incredible city packs in endless options for its visitors.
A range of 50 museums and 100 art galleries make this city ideal for culture lovers. A staple museum to visit is the Swiss National Museum, housed in an incredible gothic chateau.
The city is also home to the Zurich Zoo, which hosts a menagerie of animals from across the globe.
If you want to enjoy Swiss cuisine, the old town is the perfect place to visit some traditional restaurants and cafes, most of which neighbor quaint Swiss shops.
This city is the main transport link to other destinations in Switzerland, making it a perfect place to begin your country tour.
Situated on the Swiss/Italian border in Ticino, Lake Lugano is a beautiful Italian escape. This destination offers a taste of Italy with a range of Italian villages bordering the lake, each offering traditional Italian architecture and cuisine. Fresh fruit grows on the trees, with citrus, figs, and pomegranates being picked daily and blended into exquisite concoctions.
For incredible views of the landscape, ascend Monte San Salvatore. From this viewpoint, you can see the astonishing scenery of snow-capped mountains and blue waters.
What is the purpose of an International Driver’s Permit for Switzerland?
The purpose of an International Driver’s Permit is to allow its holder free passage to drive in a foreign country.
Where can you obtain an International Driver’s Permit for Switzerland?
You can obtain an International Driver’s Permit through our website.
How long is an International Driver’s Permit valid in Switzerland?
An International Driver’s Permit is valid for one year in Switzerland.
What is the minimum age for driving in Switzerland?
The minimum age for driving in Switzerland is 18 years old. However, if you are looking to rent a car, the minimum age for car rental is 21 years of age in Switzerland.
What is the spoken language in Switzerland?
The three most spoken languages in Switzerland are French, German and Italian. A translation of your original driver’s license into each of these languages can be found inside your International Driver’s Permit.
Do I need an International Driver’s Permit to rent a car in Switzerland?
If your native Driver’s license is not written in English, French, German or Italian, you will need to bring an International Driver’s Permit to your consultation to rent a car. You will also need to make sure you have it on your person at all times while driving.
What kind of car insurance do you need in Switzerland?
You need at least third-party car insurance on your vehicle in Switzerland. The fine for not possessing car insurance on an active vehicle is equivalent to £300 and 6 penalty points on your license.