Getting Around

Registering Your Car in Switzerland

Whether you bring your car from abroad or buy one in Switzerland, in either case it has to be presented to the regional or local so-called Motorfahrzeugkontrolle (automobile service). In the Bernese Oberland it is situated in Thun.

Driving Licenses

In the first 12 months of your stay you may continue driving with your national driver’s license. Afterwards you have to have your foreign license converted into a Swiss driver’s license. In order to do so you are required to submit the pertinent application, an ID card or a passport, your residence permit, your original foreign license, two current passport-sized photos as well as a certificate from a registered optician that you have passed the eye test. On the website of the Bernese cantonal police and military HQ (Polizei- und Militärdirektion des Kantons Bern) you will find all the information on the topics of motor vehicles and driver’s licenses.

The Toll Sticker for Swiss Motorways

If you want to use Swiss motorways you need to buy the motorway tax sticker. At 40 Swiss Francs per year (Jan 1 till Dec 31) it is available at the customs offices at the border, at all post offices, at gas stations and garages as well as at the offices of Touring Club Suisse (TCS) and the cantonal road traffic offices. The sticker has to be firmly attached to the inside of the wind shield and well visible.

Busses and Trains in Switzerland

Switzerland boasts an excellent public traffic network, in which even the most remote village can be reached by „Postauto“ (= bus) or boat. If you like going places, getting yourself a so-called GA (“Generalabonnement”) might well be worth it, as it enables you to use the trains and busses almost everywhere in Switzerland without having to buy a ticket. If you are not planning on travelling quite as much, you might want to think about buying the “Halbtax” (= Halbpreis-Abonnement), which entitles you to a 50% discount on the respective fares. GA and Halbtax are also valid on the great majority of bus routes in Switzerland. A full overview of all the options offered by the Swiss Railroad Company can be found here.

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