To learn to drive, you need a provisional licence. You can start the steps necessary to get one before your 17th birthday.
You have to complete a first aid course before you can apply for your provisional licence. The first aid certificate is valid for six years.
Normally, you cannot submit your application for a provisional licence until one month before your 17th birthday at the earliest.
You can download the application form from the website of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office in your canton of residence.
Submit the completed application form to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office or to your residents' registration office. To do so, you must go to the counter and also provide a colour passport photo, your first aid certificate and present your Swiss ID card or foreign national ID card.
Once the authorities have acknowledged your application for a provisional licence, you can register for the theory test. In most cantons, you have to register online.
The cost of the theory test varies from canton to canton. Find out more at Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office in your canton of residence.
You can repeat the theory test as often as you like.
Once you have passed the theory test, you will receive your provisional licence.
If you have a provisional licence, you can drive with an accompanying person. When doing so, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
The provisional licence is valid for 24 months for cars (category B) and for 4 months for motorcycles (category A).
Your provisional licence is only valid in Switzerland. Driving as a learner when abroad is also not advisable for insurance reasons.
The accompanying person must be at least 23 years old, have passed their driving test at least three years previously and must no longer have a probationary driving licence.
On the road, they must ensure that safety is guaranteed and that traffic regulations are respected.
They must be able to reach and operate the handbrake easily.
An accompanying person who fails to fulfil their duties commits an offence. The learner driver is responsible for traffic violations that they should be able to avoid based on their ability to drive.
A blue plate with a white ‹L› must be clearly displayed on the rear of the vehicle. The plate must be removed when the learner is not driving.
Learner drivers may only use motor vehicles that are covered by third-party liability insurance.
Neither the learner driver nor the accompanying person may drink any alcohol before going for a drive. (A blood alcohol level of over 0.01% is over the legal limit.)
Other people are allowed in a car while a learner is driving.
The traffic skills course is compulsory. It lasts eight hours, spread over two to four days, and is run by driving schools and driving instructors.
You will need a valid provisional licence to attend the traffic skills course.
You can only register for the practical driving test once you have attended the traffic skills course. However, you do not need to attend the traffic skills course if you already have a category A, A1 or B1 driving licence.
You must be at least 18 years old to take the practical driving test. An examiner will assess whether you can drive safely and follow the traffic rules. Your driving instructor is best placed to assess whether you are capable of passing the test. Without professional instruction, the driving test is almost impossible to pass.
You can register to sit your driving test at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office in your canton of residence.
You must take the practical driving test in a vehicle in the correct test category.
You must take the following documents with you to the test:
a valid identity document (passport, ID card or foreign national's ID card)
your provisional licence
your driving licence, if you are already allowed to drive another category of vehicle
the vehicle registration document for the test vehicle.
If you pass the driving test, you will receive your probationary driving licence by post.
If you fail the driving test the first time, then you can usually take it again after a month has passed.
If you fail the driving test a second time, you must present a certificate from a qualified driving instructor in order to register for the test a third time. The certificate must state that you have completed your driving training.
Failing three times
If you fail the practical driving test three times, you have to take a driving aptitude test if you wish to take the test again. If you fail the test again, your provisional licence becomes invalid. You will then have to pass a driving psychology test before you can take the test again.
Failing four times
If you fail the driving test for a fourth time, you can only take the test again if you pass a driving psychology test.
When you acquire a category A (motorcycle) or category B (car) driving licence for the first time, you will initially be issued with a probationary driving licence.
The probationary period lasts three years. If you commit a road traffic offence during this period and are disqualified from driving, the probationary period will be extended by one year.
You must attend a one-day refresher course within twelve months of receiving your probationary driving licence.
Exactly how much it costs to get your driving licence depends on which canton you live in, how many lessons you take and how many attempts you need to pass the test. You can expect the following costs:
Eye test: 10 to 15 francs
First-aid course: 100 to 200 francs
Theory book (not compulsory): approx. 30 francs
Theory test: 30 to 40 francs
Provisional licence: 20 to 80 francs
Traffic skills course: 200 to 280 francs
Driving lessons (not compulsory, 45–50 min.): 80 to 110 francs per lesson
Practical driving test: 120 to 140 francs
Refresher course: 340 to 510 francs
Probationary driving licence: 30 to 60 francs
For more information on the exact costs, contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office in your canton of residence.