Never has there been so much interest in information around exchanging a British driving licence for a French one.
That's down to the UK government issuing a warning notice to Brits in France and around Europe about the possibility that their British driving licences will no longer be valid in France, if there is no Brexit agreement between London and the EU.
One way around this of course is to simply take the step of exchanging a British licence for a French one, which shouldn't in theory be too much of a problem, although for some there are snags. (Scroll down to read about the problems The Local France's editor had exchanging his licence)
The government's warning notice also alerted Brits to the fact that if they want to change their licence then they should really do it right now because after March 2019 they may no longer be able to and may have to undergo a driving test in France in order to get a new licence. All this is if there is no deal of course.
But exchanging your driving licence is not just worth doing because of Brexit fears. Some people may have to do it if their UK photocard licence expires and they cannot renew because they are resident in France (scroll down for more info)
We've gathered together some info on how to exchange your licence for a French one, but your first port of call should be this French government website.
To be able to change your driving license to a French one, you must
- have been resident in France for over 6 months and for at least 185 days per year (or normally resident in France but temporarily abroad for studying, training, an internship or a fixed-term project.)
- hold a valid driving licence. If your photocard licence has expired you should request a Certificate of Entitlement to Drive from the DVLA to present in its place. NOTE: This will have to be translated into French by a certified translator.
- follow any relevant medical specifications when you drive, such as wearing glasses, making sure your car is adapted to accommodate disabilities, etc.
- be of legal driving age, which is 18 to drive a car unaccompanied in France.
- not have obtained your licence abroad while you were banned from obtaining a licence in France.
What to include in your application
- The form cerfa n°14879*01 (download here) fully completed, dated and signed with a valid email address or telephone number
- The form cerfa n°14948*01 (download here) printed in colour, fully completed, dated and signed
- A double-sided, colour copy of the licence you wish to exchange
- A copy of proof of identity such as a valid passport or identity card
- A copy of proof of address such as a bill from the past 6 months, a receipt for rent paid (quittance de loyer) tax bill or proof of residence from your landlord known as an attestation d'hébergement
- A copy of proof of residence in France for the past 6 months if you are European (such as a housing contract, work contract, social security documents or tax returns) or, if you are not European, a double-sided copy of your carte de séjour
- 3 photos (two of which are to be attached to the cerfa forms)
- 1 50g stamped “prêt à poster” envelope (available from the post office) completed with your name and address.
Where to send your application
- All applications must be submitted by post.
- Applications from Paris must be sent to:
Préfecture de Police de Paris
DPG / SDCLP
Centre de ressources des échanges de permis de conduire étrangers et des permis internationaux de conduite (Crepic)
1 bis rue de Lutèce
75 195 Paris Cedex 04
Applications from outside Paris must be sent to authorities in Nantes at the following address:
44035 NANTES CEDEX 01
- If your application is accepted you will then be asked to send in your original driving licence. In this instance, you will be provided with proof that you are in the process of exchanging your licence. This proof can be used as a temporary licence for up to 8 months while you are waiting for your French licence to arrive.
- Waiting times for licences vary according to demand.
- Your French permit will be delivered to your home address.
- You will not be sent a probationary licence unless your original licence is less than 3 years old.
- Your French permit will be valid for 15 years from the date of issue, or 5 years for heavy or large vehicle licences.
Things to note:
- If your photocard licence has expired you will need to apply for a Certificate of Entitlement from the British driving authority the DVLA, which will then need to be translated into French by a certified translator.
- You may also need to get a doctor's certificate to prove you are fit to drive that only certain doctors can provide. You will normally be sent a list of those doctors in your area.
- Waiting times are pretty long and can be six to eight months.
Below The Local's Editor Ben McPartland tells of the process and problems he had in exchanging his British driving licence for a French one.