The different Swiss driving licence categories
Depending on the vehicle you wish to drive, you have to pass an exam based on a specific driving licence category. To make this subject clearer, we have written an article presenting all the different categories of the Swiss driving licence.
Motorcycles (New rules from April 1st 2016)
If you would like the possibility to ride a large engine capacity motorcycle legally, it is necessary to ask for a category A provisional licence. This provisional driving licence will allow you to ride motorcycles with a power of at least 40KW and a power / curb weight of more then 0,20KW / kg. To be able to ride this type of vehicle, you are required to be at least 25 years old. If you do not fit this requirement, you will be limited to vehicles with a maximum power of 35KW and a power / curb weight of no more than 0.16KW/kg.
Finally if you wish to ride a motorcycle at the ages of 16 years old, you will need to ask for a sub-category A1 provisional licence. The vehicle however cannot exceed 50cm3 and a power of 4KW.
From the age of 18 years old you will no longer be limited to 50cm3 vehicles and can start riding vehicles no bigger than 125cm3 with a maximum power of 11KW
The second category of the Swiss driving licence is B and is composed of three sub-categories; B, BE and B1. The B Swiss driving licence allows you to drive a motor vehicle and a motor tricycle whose total weight does not exceed 3’500kg and whose seating capacity does not exceed eight (excluding the driver’s seat).
If you want to tow a trailer behind your vehicle, the trailer must not surpass the total of 750kg or 3’500kg including the weight of the vehicle. In case of the latter, the weight of the trailer must not exceed the unloaded weight of the towing vehicle. If you wish to tow a trailer and you do not meet these conditions, you must obtain the BE Swiss driving licence. Finally, in order to drive a four wheeled motorcycle or tricycle motorcycle whose weight does not exceed 550 kilograms, you will need to obtain the B1 Swiss driving licence.
For all B category licences, you must be at least 18 years old to register for the exam.
If you wish to drive a car whose gross weight exceeds 3’500kg, the Swiss driving licence you would need to get would be the C category licence. For that, the category B licence must be obtained beforehand.
The C Swiss driving licence also permits your to tow a trailer of a gross total weight no more than 750kg. In case you wish to tow a load higher than 750kg, you must obtain the CE licence having first obtained the C licence.
The driving licence category C1, allows you to drive an automobile whose gross total weight exceeds 3’500kg but not exceeding 7’500kg. You could also tow a trailer whose total weight does not surpass 750kg. Finally, the C1E category licence will give the possibility of driving a C1 category vehicle and a trailer whose total weight can surpass 750kg. However be careful that the total weight of both the vehicle and the trailer do not exceed 12’000kg.
For all the C category driving licences, the minimum required age for the exam is 18 years old.
The second to last category of the Swiss driving license relates to motor vehicles used for transporting people and having more than eight seats (excluding the driver’s seat). This category, D, allows you to tow a trailer whose total weight does not exceed 750kg. The B Swiss driving licence is required to obtain this licence.
If you wish to tow a trailer whose total weight exceeds 750kg, you will need to obtain the DE licence, which you can do so after you’ve obtained the D one. In the particular case where you want to drive a vehicle of category D but the vehicle has no more than sixteen seats (excluding the driver’s seat), you can obtain the D1 license. In order to be able to obtain this licence you must already possess the B licence. With the Swiss licence you can tow a trailer whose total weight does not exceed 750kg.
If you wish to tow a load heavier than 750kg without surpassing 12’000kg for the entire convoy, you need to obtain the D1E licence.
The minimum age required to obtain these licences is 21 years old.
However, from the age of 14 years old, it is possible to obtain a certain category of the Swiss driving licence: the G and/or M category. The G permit allows you to drive an agricultural automatic vehicle or a work vehicle with a maximum speed of 30 km/h.
If the maximum speed of the vehicle exceeds this limit but remains below 45 km/h, you will have to wait until your 16th birthday to obtain the category F licence. Other vehicles in this category require a minimum age of 18 years old.
Finally, the M Swiss driving licence allows you to drive mopeds.
To obtain all these categories of driving licences, it is obligatory to do the First Aid course, except if you have already obtained a Swiss driving licence in another category less than 6 years ago.
If you wish to have more specific information on the Swiss driving licence, don’t hesitate to come into one of our schools, My driving School.