Typically, nobody working in the department which issues driver's licenses to foreigners spoke English. And my case ended up being a bit complicated for me to understand in German.
So I asked a Swiss person I know to please make the call for me. He kindly translated for me and this is what I found out...
My driving privileges have been revoked!
Yes, you read that correctly.
Switzerland has confiscated my US driver's license and refuses to issue me a Swiss driver's license!
Why would they do this?
See, two years ago I got married, moved 10 miles across a state line from Missouri to Kansas, changed my name and got a new driver's license in the State of Kansas.
Which means that my Kansas State driver's license is valid from January 2006 onwards.
Switzerland looked at that and decided I am an "inexperienced driver."
In Switzerland, if an individual moves from another country with less than 3 years of experience driving, the government will not issue them a Swiss license. (Due to a new law implemented in 2005.) Instead, I am required to pay around 1000 CHF for driving lessons and pass the Swiss driving test. Then I would be required to drive around with an "L" sticker in the back window, declaring me a new driver, and drive 10 kilometers slower on the highway than the posted speed limit. For three years!
My only hope is to get a letter from the State of Minnesota (my home state) verifying that I passed my original driving test in May 1986.
The parents have been called. They are going down to the Minnesota License Bureau as soon as it opens.
In the meantime, until I get this mess straightened out, it is not legal for me to drive in Switzerland. And because they have confiscated my US driver's license, it is also not legal for me to drive ANYWHERE ELSE!
I am having a really, really bad Switzerland week.
UPDATE: 5:00 pm
Dad just called. The State of Minnesota has the record of my original driving test (written test and road test), taken 21 years ago. The office in my hometown is working on getting a copy sent from St. Paul.
On a related topic: we discovered that Swiss insurance companies base your car insurance rates upon your years of driving experience. New drivers get charged a much higher rate. It is possible we are being charged more than we ought to be based upon the fact that my license was issued 2 years ago and GLH's license was issued 3 1/2 years ago. Since we both have more than 20 years of driving experience, perhaps our rates should be a lot less? We need to call our insurance company!