12 stages of the driving licence

If you have a scooter/motorcycle license, you do not need to retake the theoretical exam (valid for life), nor to follow, a second time, the first aid course (valid for 6 years) and awareness courses (valid for life) !

If you hold a foreign driving license, consult the information by clicking here.

Driving license in Geneva: the full guide in 12 steps  !

1. Take a first-aid course
Know the gestures that save lives !
  • Duration: 10 hours over 2 days
  • No exam but compulsory attendance and punctuality
  • Issue of a credit card format certificate
  • Validity: 6 years
Prêt-à-conduire helps you find the course that matches your availability ! See here for next dates with our partner Auto-Mote Ecole de Plainpalais (amep.ch)
2. Have your eyesight examined

Ensure optimal vision !
> opticians list: https://www.ge.ch/obtenir-permis-conduire/opticiens-agrees
3. Apply for a student driver's license

Fill out your application and assemble the necessary documents!
Present yourself in person for the first request to the OCV (70 CHF) or download it here, have with you the following documents:
  • Completed student driver’s license application form
  • Certified optician’s attestation (less than 24 months old – list here)
  • Lifeguard / Samaritan course certificate
  • 1 passport-size color photo, full face, bare-headed
  • ID:
    • Swiss: identity card or passport
    • Foreigners:”Livret pour étrangers”
4. Study the theory

Study and understand !
With the current teaching aids, it is tempting to learn the answers “by heart”. More than being successful, you have to understand and integrate the theoretical bases to save time during the practical application!
Prêt-à-conduire advises you on the choice of learning material (books, mobile app…) to study the theory well and also offers private lessons!
At what age can I take the driving test?
You must be over 18 and as of January 1, 2021, it will be possible to obtain a category B student driving license from the age of 17. However, you will need to hold this student’s permit for 1 year before being able to sit for the practical exam (except for people born in 2003 who will get their student driving license in 2021).

pàc offer private theory course !

5. Take the theory test and obtain a student driver's license

Take the exam in French, German, Italian and English (in Geneva) !
  1. Register for the theoretical exam at the OCV (100 CHF)
  2. Arrive on time for the appointment with: the summons (optional), an original identity document (passport, identity card or resident’s permit). If you do not have the identity document due to its renewal, remember to request a certificate from the authorities before the day of the exam (in the case of forgetting or of an invalid identity document, you will not be able to take the theory test and you will be charged for it)
  3. Take the 45-minutes theory test at the OCV; in front of a computer, you have to answer a MCQ (Multiple Choice Questionnaire) of 50 questions / 150 points in total / 15 errors at most
6. Practice driving with an instructor or an accompanying person

Learn to drive and to behave on the road !
Well done! You have your provisional driving license valid for 2 years and you can start driving accompanied by an instructor or a relative over the age of 23 who has had the license for at least 3 years with the regulatory “L” sign on the vehicle.
pac recommends taking driving lessons with an instructor in parallel with your entourage in order to immediately acquire right automatisms andnot to give way to bad habits!
> Prendre rendez-vous pour les cours pratiques
Here is some link related to the topic :
> Driving accompanied by an instructor or a companion
> Practice with an automatic or manual gearbox ?
> Our prices and formulas for driving lessons
7. Take the compulsory "sensibilisation" course

Take the “sensibilisation” course !
It will prepares you for responsible driving; know how to analyze situations that can become dangerous.
  • duration: the course takes place over 4 days (4x2h)
  • validity: 2 years
  • you must attend all sessions, punctually and with your student driver’s license; your certificate is then transmitted to the OCV system.
  • prerequisite for making an appointment for the practical exam !
Prêt-à-conduire peopose next dates for sensibilisation course at our partner: l’Auto-Moto Ecole de Plainpalais (amep.ch) !
Prêt-à-conduire helps you find the right session that suits your availability !
8. Take the practical driving test

Demonstrate your ability to drive!
A. Register
  • register for the practical exam at the OCV or online; even if you manage to finalize the appointment, it may not have been taken into account: disconnect and reconnect to make sure that your request has been taken into account!) http://etat.geneve.ch/examens-public/welcome.html
  • Be careful, make your appointment well in advance! There may be a wait of one month, or even more, before the first available appointment (you can then move your appointment, at least 96 hours, the working days of the OCV) http://etat.geneve.ch/examens-public/welcome.html
B. Take the practical test
Take the test with the driving school vehicle ?
You can take your test in the familiar and safe vehicle of your driving school. prêt-à-conduire practical exam lesson takes a little over 2 hours and includes:
  • preparation for the exam (mock exam / simulation, building confidence and taking over the vehicle);
  • presentation to the OCV expert;
  • feedback from the OCV expert.
Take the test in a private vehicle ? 
If you want to take the test with a private vehicle, check that it is in perfect working order (adequate tires: pressure profile, lighting, clean windows, indicator lights and presence of the regulatory “L”). In addition you must make sure that:
  • The handbrake must be effective, of the “mechanical” type, and easily accessible by the expert (between the two front seats).
  • The speedometer is visible to the expert from the passenger seat
  • The vehicle corresponds to category B, light passenger car, less than 3,500kg
  • The vehicle can reach a speed of 120 km h
What should you take with you to the test ?
  • Original student driving licence
  • Valid identity document (or a certificate if it is being renewed).
  • If foreign: residence permit (“Permis de séjour”)
  • Private vehicle license (“Permis de circulation”)
  • Convocation (optional)
What to do in case of bad weather ?
To find out if the test is maintained in the event of snow or ice, visit the website or call on the day of the exam at 7.15am.
9. Practice driving with a probationary license

Increase your driving ability and maintain good driving behavior !
  • During this period the driver must prove that he is capable of behaving like a responsible driver: it is a probationary period (on trial) which lasts 3 years.
  • The new driver is no longer accompanied while driving, but still subject to the ban on driving under the influence of alcohol.
Why the probationary driving license ?
The probationary driving license exists to reduce the number of accidents that occur in the first 3 years.
If an offense is committed during the 3 probationary years and the license is withdrawn, the “trial” period is extended by one year.
If a second offense is committed resulting in withdrawal, the probationary license is simply canceled …
Any new application for a student’s permit can only be submitted after a probationary period of one year, from the date of the offense. It is only issued on presentation of an aptitude to drive certificate from a traffic psychologist.
Can I drive abroad with the test license ?
Yes, it is a “real” license, recognized in the same way as Swiss licenses of unlimited duration.  See here “Driving abroad”
10. Take a 2nd phase course

One-day course to be completed within 12 months of the issue of probationary driving license!
Why the second phase course ? 
In the past, the permit took place in one phase (final driving license was delivered after passing the practical exam). The statistical study showed that young drivers are prone to more accidents. Consequently, it was decided in 2005 to introduce additional conditions to obtain the final driving license (probationary driving license + additional training) …
The additional “2-phase” training courses aim to improve the ability of new drivers to recognize dangerous situations and therefore to better avoid them.
Do I have to take the second phase course ? 
Yes, unless you already have a definitive A-category license.
Where can I register ?
What is the follow-up period for the additional training day of the 2nd phase ?
You must complete the additional phase 2 training (one day) within twelve months of the issue of the driving license.
For all those who obtained their probationary driving license before 1.1.2020, the period for completing the additional phase 2 training (one day) is extended to the validity of the probationary driving license.
Consequences in the event of not following additional training during the probationary period ? 
It is the responsibility of the license holder to undertake the regularization procedures for obtaining the final driving license.
If the holder has not obtained a final driving license, as soon as the probationary driving license expires he is no longer authorized to drive a vehicle of the designated category. Unauthorized driving is punishable by administrative and criminal penalties.
The holder of the test driving license may apply to the competent Automobile Service for a provisional driving license to follow the compulsory training. It will be limited to the one day of training. Driving before or after this day is subject to administrative and criminal penalties.
11. Change your provisional driving license for an unlimited one !

The same but with no expiry date !
Don’t forget this step! Put a reminder in your diary because the OCV will not contact you to remind you of the deadline!
At the earliest one month before the end of the probationary period, you can apply for your unlimited-term driving license from the OCV if:
  • you present the certificate of the mandatory training (2 phases) carried out within the time limits;
  • you have not committed any traffic offenses leading to permanent withdrawal of your probationary driving license;
  • you do not settle for more than 12 months in another country.
12. Keep your driving license !

Drive mindfully !

Your obstacle course ends there. Remember all those previous, long and expensive steps. All your instructor has taught you is to be maintained !

Driving is not a trivial activity, it requires all your attention.

Disconnect your cell phone! Stay courteous !…

You feel ok with automatic driving but want to improuve with manuel gear box:  contact our driving instructors !
You have already your driving license but you don’t feel enough confortable in some situations:  contact our driving instructors !
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