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So long, blue driver’s license: What you need to know about switching

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An important change is around the corner for drivers – the old blue driver’s license is being completely replaced by its updated counterpart in credit card format. While this may seem like a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy and effort, it will actually make life easier in lots of ways.

Blue driver’s license will cease to be valid

The driver’s license in credit card format (abbreviated to “FAK” In German) officially replaced the traditional driver’s license back in 2003. However, the blue driver’s license has remained valid, meaning it hasn’t been mandatory to switch. Almost two decades later, we’ve reached the end of the road and the blue driver’s license will cease to be valid after October 31, 2024 . Anyone who is on the road without an FAK after the official switchover date on  November 1, 2024  risks a fine of CHF 20. 

Speaking of money: Unfortunately, it’s not free to switch. The cost of an FAK varies from canton to canton. In the canton of Zurich, for example, you’ll pay CHF 35 for the new driver’s license. It’s possible your responsible administrative authority may also chargeadditional fees.

Here’s how you can switch out your blue driver’s license

Do you still have an old blue driver’s license? Then you need to get moving and replace it with an FAK. Thankfully, the switch is relatively straightforward in most cantons and can be done quickly and easily online using E-Service. Go to the website for your canton or your local authority and fill out the form for switching the blue driver’s license. In the canton of Zurich, for example, you enter your personal details online and print out the form. Then you attach a passport photo to the printed form and take it to your local authority. 

You can also submit a paper copy of the form by mail. If you choose this option, then you will also have to enclose the original of your blue driver’s license (among other things), so remember to make a copy to keep with you while your new license is being processed. It’s also important to note that you can’t drive abroad during this time. Also enclose the following: 

  • Copy of a form of ID
  • Current passport photo (not digital)
  • Certificate of residence (if you have moved to another canton)

Advantages of the FAK versus the blue driver’s license

The FAK has its price. But apart from the fact that you are legally required to switch, replacing your blue driver’s license with a driver’s license in credit card format also has its advantages. First off, its handy size makes it a lot more convenient to carry with you. What’s more, it will last longer since it’s made of durable plastic instead of flimsy paper. There’s another important benefit: The new plastic format means muchbetter protection against counterfeiting. Last but not least, the new driver’s license doesn’t contain an address, meaning you don’t have to get it updated if you move.

The blue driver’s license is not valid abroad

The new FAK will really come in handy if you intend to travel with your car outside of Switzerland. In the past, the blue driver’s license couldn’t even get you across the border because in most countries you needed an international driver’s license as well. This is no longer the case with the FAK because it is valid throughout Europe.

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