Travel Passport

Why carry an IDP while driving in Switzerland?

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.

It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. Switzerland highly recommends an International Driving Permit.

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Driving Rules in Switzerland

Enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and beautiful mountains. Get in touch with your inner peace in Switzerland. It is a big country so you should drive your own car to maximize your stay! Be reminded of several road rules imposed in Switzerland.

Important Reminders:

  • Drive on the right side of the road.
  • The minimum age to drive a car is 18 years old and 20 years old for car rental.
  • Seat belt is a must.
  • Hands-free is a must. Keep your phones away unless they are hands-free.
  • Drink cautiously. The maximum drink driving limits in Switzerland is 50 mg per 100 ml of blood.
  • The maximum drink driving limits in Switzerland is 0.5 g/l and zero for drivers with less than three years experience.
  • You must have a Swiss motorway vignette on your car, which is required to use the national motorways.
  • Keep your headlights on at all times. 
  • Be sure to have early warning device and reflective vest in your car.

Driving in the Winter

Driving in Switzerland in winter is not difficult. As long as you are prepared, you will be fine. Be sure to have winter tires in all wheels. Keep emergency kits in your car at all times.

Enjoy your stay and have a safe travel!

How to get your IDP

We’ve streamlined the application process down by creating a platform that guides you so you know exactly what you’ll need to successfully complete your application

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1. Apply Online

Start your application for International Driver's License Get the IDP.​​

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2. Upload Photos

Make sure to upload an updated photo and with the correct parameters.​

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3. Get approved

Wait for your confirmation and you are ready to go!​

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Top Destinations of Switzerland

Switzerland Photo by Marco Meyer

Switzerland is a naturally-endowed and rich country in Central Europe that boasts of a scenic natural environment, elegant architecture and rich culture. During the holidays, you can drive with an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) in Switzerland. Although relatively small compared to surrounding tourism powerhouses like France, Germany and Italy, Switzerland has its own arsenal to boast of.

Central Europe Photo by Andreas Fischinger

Central Europe

Switzerland has more than a few UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the capital of the country itself, Bern, which takes you back in time when you explore it. And there’s also what the whole world knows about the country, the Swiss Alps, which gives tourists a breathtaking view, something to remember for a lifetime.

Is International Driving Permit required in Switzerland?

Do you need an International Driver's License in Switzerland? Bringing an International Driving Licence to Switzerland is highly recommendable as its serves as a translation for your original driver’s license. Getting an International Driver’s License in Switzerland is easy. You can get an International Driver’s Permit for Switzerland from the website of International Driver’s Association, which has international shipping.

You can reach it through its contact number, +1-877-533-2804, for your International Driver's License in Switzerland. Your home or office can receive your International Driver's License for Switzerland when the International Driver's Association delivers it.

Bern Photo by Tanner Barrott

Bern

The capital of Switzerland, Bern which is a medieval town which takes you back in time. Deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bern is possibly the most enchanting city you can visit in Central Europe due to its scenery and stunning location on a peninsula of the River Aare. It's cobbled streets will give you ancient Switzerland or Helvetia feels.

Bern has many tourist attractions, including the tallest cathedral in Switzerland, 16th-century fountains, the Zytglogge medieval clock tower that's famous for its moving puppets. You can also visit the Albert Einstein Museum located in his old apartment.

Driving Directions

You can reach Bern easily by car, especially if you're coming from Geneva and Zurich. Provided you have a motorway vignette as mentioned, you can take the motorway links from Geneva and Zurich and travel less than two hours. You can take the Autoroute A1 from both cities. If you're driving to the top destinations in the country, please bear in mind that motorways usually have tolls and prepare enough money for toll fees.

It's best that you park your car in one of Bern's 3,500 multistory parking garages before exploring the city. The old town is car-free like Zermatt. If you're driving from Zurich, you can reach the place more or less an hour and a half. Remember to bring your International Driving Permit in Switzerland.

  • From Zurich, get on A1H in Kreis 9 from Sihlquai, Hardturmstrasse and Route 1.
  • Traverse A1 to Papiermühlestrasse/Route 6 in Breitenrain-Lorraine, Bern then take exit 37-Bern-Wankdorf from A6.
  • Continue driving on Papiermühlestrasse/Route 6, before taking Aargauerstalden to Hotelgasse in Innere Stadt.

Does Switzerland require an International Driver's License? Do you need an International Driver's license in Switzerland? Tourists often bring an International Driving Licence to Switzerland, along with their original licence, so they can drive in the country at their own convenience. Always bring your original driving license, along with your International Driving Permit in Switzerland.

The Matterhorn Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel

The Matterhorn

Maybe you've seen this mountain before, like that famous chocolate, Toblerone?

This is every tourist’s top place to visit in Switzerland, and mountaineers in Europe. And there are definitely good reasons for that. Located near Zermatt, the majestic Matterhorn peak is one of the highest mountains in the Swiss Alps, and one of the most impressive in Europe. Due to its astonishing height at 4,478 meters, thrill-seeking hikers and mountaineers worldwide visit Switzerland attempting to reach the mountain's summit.

If you just want to look and capture photos of Matterhorn, a wide range of attractions can be found around the mountain. You may view the peak from Gornergrat, which has a survey stage at 3,000 meters, giving a genuinely remarkable view of the Matterhorn. You can also observe the mountain from the Rothorn, which is the highest summer ski resort in Europe that's open daily.

Do you want to know more about the mountain? There's the Matterhorn Museum which chronicles the first ascent at the peak and the development of the town of Zermatt, located at the foot of the mountain.

Driving Directions

Zermatt is car-free, but you can drive to Täsch in the Visp district and take a train from there. Drivers park their private and rental cars in a convenient parking garage in Täsch. There are shuttle trains every 20 minutes in each direction between Täsch and Zermatt.

If you're driving from Montreux, you'll be able to reach Zermatt in less than 2 hours.

  • Get on A9 in Rennaz. Head southeast on Avenue du Casino/Route 9 toward Rue du Quai, then use the right lane to take the ramp to Simplon/Gd-St-Bernard. Merge onto A9.
  • Follow Route 9 to A9 in Leuk.
  • Then Follow A9 to Kantonsstrasse/Route 9 in Turtmann. Take exit 31-Gampel-Steg from A9.
  • Continue on Kantonsstrasse/Route 9. Take Kantonstrasse, Talstrasse and Breitmatten to Neue Kantonsstrasse in Täsch.

Tourists, especially from countries outside of Europe, often ask, ‘Is International Driving Permit required in Switzerland? Does Switzerland require an International Driver's License? Do US citizens need an International Driver's License in Switzerland? If your original valid license is not in German, French, Italian or Romansh, you may need to procure an International Driving Licence in Switzerland.

Château de Chillon Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle

Château de Chillon

You've got yourself a treat in Château de Chillon if you're a history buff. Nestled on an island in Lake Geneva, near the town of Montreux, Château de Chillon is a 10th-century stronghold that housed wealthy nobles. Castle rooms are filled with all kinds of art and treasures. Poets like Lord Byron, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Victor Hugo wrote about Château de Chillon.

The medieval castle has 25 buildings with three courtyards. Inside, visitors can explore great halls, underground and weapons rooms, and a chapel with 14th-century paintings. Outside the castle buildings, you'll be mesmerized with the magnificent view of Lake Geneva.

Driving Directions

Getting to Château de Chillon is easy by car. The castle is in the south of Montreux and north of Villeneuve, making these towns the center points for arriving at Chillon from other parts of Switzerland. The medieval fort is right next to the lakeside road linking Montreux and Villeneuve. You can park freely on either side of the road.

The Autoroute A9 passes above Château de Chillon, so you can use the Montreux or Villeneuve exit when you're driving from Geneva. You can reach the castle from Geneva in under an hour and a half.

  • Get on A1a in Pregny-Chambésy from Route 1 and Route de Lausanne.
  • Follow A1 and A9/E62 to Route du Simplon/Route 9 in Rennaz. Take exit 16-Villeneuve from A9/E62.
  • Merge onto Route du Simplon/Route 9.

Is an International Driver’s License required in Switzerland? It definitely helps, especially tourists from China, Japan, Saudi Arabia and other countries whose driving licenses are not in any of Switzerland’s languages. Always remember to bring your International Driving Licence in Switzerland, especially if your original license is not in any of the country’s languages. It will help you coordinate with authorities if needed.

Jungfaujoch Photo by Gabriel Garcia Marengo

Jungfaujoch

Jungfraujoch is one of the best and highest tourist destinations in Switzerland, deserving the label "the Top of Europe". With a height of 3,454 meters, it's a beautiful viewing point in the Bernese Alps. You can also see the scenery of Jungfraujoch through the air on its popular zip-line.

There's plenty of activities in Jungfraujoch, like mountain climbing and sledding. You also don't want to miss the Sphinx Observatory, which is an observation terrace and astronomical observatory. If you really like ice, visit the Ice Palace.

Driving Directions

If you decide to travel by car from Bern, you can park close to the rail station at Interlaken Ost or Lauterbrunnen and take the train from there to Jungfraujoch.

  • Get on A6 in Kirchenfeld-Schosshalde from Grosser Muristalden, Muristrasse and Ostring/Route 6.
  • Traverse A6 until Spiez.
  • A8 will turn slightly right, and before you ride on Route 11Route 6. After that, continue onto A8.
  • Follow Route 11/Route 6 to Untere Bönigstrasse in Interlaken.

Is an International Driver’s License required in Switzerland to drive to rail stations for Jungfraujoch? Applying for an International Driver’s License for Switzerland will ease your worries about driving anywhere in the country, especially if you’re from a country outside of Europe.

Apply for an International Driver’s Permit for Switzerland from the website of International Driver’s Association, which has express shipping worldwide. You can also reach it through its contact number, +1-877-533-2804, for your International Driver's License in Switzerland.

Lake Geneva Photo by Uwe Conrad

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva is one of the most relaxing and beautiful places in Switzerland. Europe's largest Alpine lake, it stretches from Geneva in the west to Lausanne in the east. The lake laps at some shores of Switzerland's famous cities and towns.

The lake offers plenty of activities, such as windsurfing and water skiing. You can also drop by the nearby Opera House and the Grand Théâtre and watch international plays.

If you just want to chill, you can just sit by the shoreline and wonder at the beauty of Lake Geneva. Parks, gardens and boardwalks encompass the lake.

Driving Directions

If you're driving from Bern, it'll take you just a little over an hour to reach the Lake Geneva region.

  • Take Schüttestrasse, Hodlerstrasse and Route 1/Route 12 to Tiefenaustrasse in Länggasse-Felsenau.
  • Follow A1/E25 to Avenue des Figuiers in Lausanne.
  • Continue on Avenue des Figuiers. Take Avenue du Mont-d'Or, Avenue Marc-Dufour and Avenue Jules Gonin to Rue du Grand-Chêne. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Avenue des Figuiers heading to Lausanne-Ouchy/Lausanne-Maladière/Vevey.

Maybe you’re wondering, “Do I need an International Driver’s License in Switzerland to drive to Lake Geneva?” Applying for an International Driver’s License for Switzerland is practicable and reasonable, especially now that authorities ask for more documents due to the pandemic. It's easy to apply for an International Driver’s License for Switzerland from the website of International Driver’s Association, which has global express shipping.

Lucerne Photo by Antonio Sessa

Lucerne

When you visit Switzerland, you definitely need to stop by Lucerne. Exploring the medieval city will make you think you've stepped magically inside a painting. The city is seemingly guarded by three large mountains while it sits on the shores of Lake Lucerne, which has the greatest scenery among lakes in Switzerland.

Ancient churches, bustling squares and boutiques festoon the city, while it lures musicians from across the globe. Lucerne has its annual International Music Festival, in which renowned soloists, conductors, and orchestras play. One of the city's most famous landmarks is the 14th century Chapel Bridge. Capturing the covered wooden bridge will make a highlight if you're into photography. If you're also into history, you'll appreciate the Swiss Transport Museum which features all types of transport, and even a Planetarium.

Driving Directions

Like Bern and Zermatt, Lucerne is a car-free town but if you're driving in Switzerland, don't worry since the city has parking garages around town like the others. Street parking is meager in the center of the city.

If you're driving from Zurich, you can reach Lucerne in more or less 45 minutes. The fastest route is taking A4.

  • Take Bahnhofpl., Gessnerallee and Sihlhölzlistrasse to A3W in Wiedikon.
  • Then take A4/E41 and A14 to Route 2 in Luzern, then take exit 26-Luzern from A2.
  • Continue onto Route 2.

Lucerne is one of the best cities to go to. If you’re mulling to drive there, you may be thinking, ‘Do I need an International Driver’s License in Switzerland to drive to Lucerne?’ It’s good to have one, especially you may have to submit proper documents to park your car in the city’s garages, Lucerne being a car-free town. Driving in Switzerland with an International Driver’s License has proved to be practicable, among others.

Lugano Photo by Janis Wolf

Lugano

If you're in a mood for a summer breeze in Switzerland, driving to Lugano suits you. Located in the Ticino district, it's the country's only official Italian-speaking canton. You might think you're in Italy when exploring the city. Flowing with Mediterranean breeze, Lugano is a beloved summer resort. It's flanked by the beautiful Lake Lugano, which tourists can tour by riding steamboats or boat rentals.

Besides being a popular summer destination, Lugano is also Switzerland's third most important financial center.

Driving Directions

If you're driving from Lucerne, you can reach the area in more or less than 2 hours.

  • Get on A2 in Kriens from Route 4 and Route 2a.
  • Continue driving on A2 to Via Sonvico in Canobbio.
  • After getting onto Via Sonvico, take Via Giacomo e Filippo Ciani, Viale Cassarate and Corso Elvezia to Piazza Riziero Rezzonico in Lugano.

An International Driver’s License in Switzerland will give you a worry-free drive to Lugano. Since it’s an Italian speaking region, your International Driver’s License in Switzerland will serve as translation for your original license. Apply now for an International Driver’s License for Switzerland from the website of International Driver’s Association, which has global express shipping. You should know your address' zip code for the shipping of your international driver's license for Switzerland.

Swiss National Park Photo by Sven Masuhr

Swiss National Park

If you're a nature enthusiast, you may struggle where to go in Switzerland due to the country's manifold scenery. You can however start the Swiss National Park, and you won't regret it when you do. It's Switzerland's only national park and oldest reserve in the Alps.

Founded in 1914, the Swiss National Park sits directly on the fringe with Italy, covering 170 square kilometers filled with trees, blossoms, fast-flowing rivers and limestone banks. If you're looking to explore the park, you have to follow marked trails as thousands of animals live in the reserve.

Driving Directions

If you're driving from Davos, you can reach the Swiss National Park more or less an hour. Due to strict park rules to preserve the natural park, you have to leave your car in official parking areas.

  • From Davos, take Talstrasse and Bahnhofstrasse to Route 28.
  • Follow Route 28 to Klosters-Serneus, then exit from Route 28.
  • Continue onto Vereina-Tunnel, before turning left to take Route 27.
  • Drive to Route 28 in Zernez.

Is an International Driver’s License needed in Switzerland to drive to the Swiss National Park? Driving in Switzerland with an International Driver’s License will be handy when you drive to any tourist destinations, among places in the country. Presenting it along with your original license at checkpoints will spur coordination with local authorities if needed. Regardless of location, an International Driver’s License in Switzerland will always be appreciated.

The Rhine Falls Photo by Henrique Ferreira

The Rhine Falls

The Rheinfall, or Rhine Falls, is the largest in central Europe and also the continent's most powerful waterfall. Flowing near the northern town of Schaffhausen, the waterfalls cover 150 meters, spilling the river water over a limestone ledge at 21 meters.

You can rent a canoe, join a tour or even bike along the banks to explore the waterfall's beauty. There's a range of great biking routes in the area where you can just stop and admire the Rhine Falls from the banks. If you’re in Switzerland in the month of August, a spectacular firework display, which is part of the country's National Day celebrations, awaits you.

Driving Directions

It's an easy drive to the Rhine Falls if you're driving in Switzerland. You can park on each side of the river since there are car parks on both sides. If you're driving from Zurich, you only need more or less 30 minutes to arrive at the vicinity.

  • From Zurich, take Neumühlequai and Wasserwerkstrasse to A1L in Kreis 6.
  • Take A4/E41 onto Dorfstrasse in Laufen-Uhwiesen, then take exit 7-Uhwiesen from A4/E41.
  • Continue onto Lauferstrasse to your destination.

You may ask, “If my original license is in English, is an International Driver’s License required in Switzerland?” English is not one of the commonly-used languages in Switzerland, and don’t expect local authorities to speak with you in English, even if some of them do. It’s good courtesy to have an international permit that will serve as translation for your original license.

Zurich

Always mistaken for the capital of Switzerland, Zurich is the country's largest city. Usually chosen as a starting point for tourists in Switzerland, Zurich is also the country's financial capital, as well its economic and cultural hub. But besides its status as industrial capital, Zurich is a top destination for tourists due to its attractions including museums, archaic and Renaissance structures, and other works of art that will leave you dumbfounded.

Driving Directions

If you're driving from Lucerne, you can reach Zurich under 50 minutes. Since it's a big city, you can drive through its streets to see for yourself the grand attractions it offers.

  • Take Route 4, Moosstrasse, Obergrundstrasse and Route 2 to A2.
  • Then take A14 and A4 to Manessestrasse/Route 4 in Kreis 2, Zürich.
  • Continue on Manessestrasse then take Stauffacherquai and Kasernenstrasse to Bahnhofpl. in Kreis 1.

Driving in Switzerland with an International Driver’s License will aid you when you’re in Zurich, even before you rent a car. Some car rental companies ask for an international permit for additional identification purposes.

If you still don’t have one, you can go to our website, International Driver’s Association, and provide your name, address, city or region, country, and zip code to receive an International Driver’s Permit for Switzerland. Your home or office can receive your International Driver's License for Switzerland when the International Driver's Association delivers it.

Most Important Driving Rules

You want to drive around Switzerland in a rental car? Then you have to know the road traffic rules and regulations while in the country. A few guidelines might be new to you but you have to remember the driving rules in the country to avoid problems with local authorities. If you're at least 18 years old and have a driver's license and IDP, then you can explore Switzerland at your behest.

Bring your driving license and IDP with you always

Is an International Driver's License needed in Switzerland? If you're keen on driving in Switzerland, it's highly recommendable you have a valid International Driving Permit along with your official driving license from your country. With an IDP, you'll have a peace of mind while making the most of your driving trip in Switzerland without limitation. An International Driving License is an important document you need to carry around in Switzerland, especially if your original license is not in German, French, Italian or Romansh.

Do US citizens need an International Driver's License in Switzerland or if your original license is in English, is an International Driver’s License required in Switzerland? Yes, it’ll be in your favor to have one. English is not of Switzerland’s common languages, it’s a whole different world there. Regardless of your location in the country, an International Driver’s License in Switzerland will come in handy.

Getting an International Driver’s License in Switzerland is easy. You can get an IDP from the International Driver’s Association under two hours. Provide your name, address, city or region, country, and zip code to receive an International Driver’s Permit for Switzerland. You should know your address' zip code for the shipping of your international driver's license for Switzerland.

Driving while intoxicated is strictly prohibited

Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Switzerland. All drivers are subject to this rule. For your sake and other motorists and pedestrians, it's highly recommended to not drink at all when you intend to drive.

Switzerland has the most strict drunk driving laws in Europe. If you get caught driving while drunk in the country, be ready to face some heavy penalties. Fines vary depending on the violator's income and wealth.

Even as a passenger, you may also face fines if you knew your driver was drunk but you still let him/her drive.

Obey speed limits

Avoid going crazy on the road with the gas pedal, and always observe speed limits while driving in Switzerland. Speed limits in the country vary, depending on the location. For residential areas, the speed limit is 30 kph max. Towns and cities require drivers to drive 60 kph and slower. Country roads’ speed limits are 80 kph max. You can speed up to 100 kph on expressways, and 120 kph in Switzerland. But it's for your benefit to drive slowly as you're allowed to on all roads since you'll enjoy the scenery of Switzerland more.

Always wear your seat belt

Seat belts are strictly required for all passengers, especially for children. Strict implementation of seatbelt usage is one of the reasons Switzerland is one of the safest countries when it comes to traffic. Kids under 12 years old need a special seat if they're under 150 cm (4'9 feet) tall.

Don’t use your phone while driving

Don’t entertain text messages or phone calls as it's illegal to use a mobile phone while driving, except for hands-free units. Answering calls or texting while driving is strictly prohibited in Switzerland. It’s arguably one of the worst causes of road accidents and really unnecessary. If you really have to answer an important call, use a hands-free system or pull to the side of the road where it’s allowed.

Follow the Minimum Age for Driving

If you're a foreign driver who is below the legal driving age who intends to go Swiss driving via a car rental, you are not allowed to. It doesn't matter if you have a driving licence and have a national driving experience of three years and more, your driving license will still be deemed invalid as per road traffic office. Every foreign driver, regardless of them having a legal driving licence, must pass the Swiss driving age requirement.

Furthermore, as a foreign driver, having an IDP does not guarantee that you are exempted to the road traffic rules. If you still want more clarification about IDP benefits and uses, you may contact our customer service.

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