The Ultimate Guide to Driving in Switzerland for Expats: Tips and Regulations

November 01st, 2023 Buy a Car Share this:

Although public transportation is superb in Switzerland and offers excellent connectivity along with comfort, cars are still the more popular option to explore the country. If you are an expat, the driver’s license of your country is usable and valid in Switzerland for up to 12 months after moving to the country, as long as you are 18 years old. After that, you must exchange your license for a Swiss driver’s license. If you are from the EU/EFTA, you’d be able to exchange your driver’s license with a Swiss equivalent without having to take a test if it is exchanged within 12 months of moving to Switzerland. Others need to take a practical driving test after 12 months to exchange their license.
Besides the driver’s license, you also need to make sure that you have a good understanding of local regulations and that you have the right vehicle. In Switzerland, every vehicle undergoes a mandatory serviceability inspection every four years. The owner will receive a written notification specifying the test date, and it is essential that the car is thoroughly cleaned both inside and out, including underneath. It is advisable that you let your garage check the vehicle before the official test. There are many more things that you need to know for hassle-free driving.

Here is an ultimate guide to driving in Switzerland for expats.


Key Considerations If Expats Want to Drive in Switzerland

Drive on the right side while overtaking from the left side.

  • Give way to traffic from the right on secondary roads unless a priority sign is present.
  • Always yield to emergency service vehicles (police, ambulance, or fire services).
  • Carry a mandatory warning triangle for breakdowns or accidents and a fluorescent jacket when crossing borders.
  • Keep the warning triangle and jacket in the car cabin, not the trunk.
  • Turn off your engine at traffic lights and road crossings to reduce pollution.
  • Strict penalties for distractions include cell phone use, eating while driving, and using earphones.
  • Driving speeds are much slower in Switzerland in comparison to other parts of Europe. So, observe lower speed limits and be vigilant for speed warning signs.
  • Display a special vignette on vehicles traveling on motorways to avoid fines.
  • The blood alcohol limit for drivers is 0.05%, with heavy fines or jail sentences for violations.
  • Passengers may also lose their licenses if traveling with a drunk driver.


Why Do Expats Choose Switzerland?

If you had always dreamt of starting your new life in lush green lands, Switzerland could be a perfect destination for you to move and settle down. However, it’s important to acknowledge the relatively high cost of living and the somewhat reserved behavior of the Swiss people as potential challenges. Nevertheless, expats who choose to settle in this country can enjoy an exceptional quality of life, primarily due to a well-maintained work-life balance, an outstanding healthcare and educational system, and a secure living environment.

Switzerland boasts an excellent public transportation system, but having a car also offers its advantages. With your own vehicle, you can save time while traveling to smaller villages and relish the excitement of navigating the winding roads of an Alpine pass. You can stop at your convenience for photo opportunities or picnics.


Autociel: The leading Car Leasing and Rental Service in Switzerland

Car leasing and renting in Switzerland is a complicated process for most expats that involves hefty down payments and excessive credit rates. However, at Autociel, we are well aware of the challenges that expats face. Thus, we make every possible effort to make sure you get to lease a car at the best price and reasonable contract terms. We offer expats a hassle-free car leasing and renting service. All you need is a legal work permit. At Autociel, we sit with our clients to understand their unique situations and requirements and subsequently offer them personalized services in the best manner possible.


Advantages of Choosing Autociel

  • The Best Possible Deal for You
  • Import Your Car in a Hassle-Free Manner
  • Multilingual Staff
  • Dedicated After-Sale Service
  • Turnkey Service
  • We Buy Your Car at Best Price


Autociel: The Perfect Choice for Expats

Autociel, a Swiss automotive authority, provides tailored assistance to expats. Whether you are already a resident in Switzerland or considering a move to the country, Autociel is your go-to source for securing the ideal vehicle at the most competitive price. Reach out to Autociel for professional guidance and personalized assistance in the process of importing vehicles into Switzerland from any part of the globe.
As the sole national dealership in Switzerland with a specialization in serving expats, we are uniquely positioned to connect you with the finest vehicles at the most favorable prices, thanks to our independent and extensive network.
We look forward to giving you our best possible service.