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Swamped French officials beg Britons to stop sending driving licences to be exchanged

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Swamped French officials beg Britons to stop sending driving licences to be exchanged
British people have been asked not to send their licences in to be exchanged. Photo: AFP
13:57 CEST+02:00
The swamped Nantes préfecture that deals with driving licences has begged British people to stop sending in their licences to be exchanged for French ones.

British people living in France had initially been told to exchange their driving licence for a French one in order to be able to legally drive after Brexit.

However in March the Centre d'Expertises et des Ressources des Titres – Echange des Permis Etrangers (CERT - EPA) based at the prefecture in the French city of Nantes, announced it would no longer be processing British licences until there was more certainty over Brexit.

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In April, the French government announced that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, British driving licences would still be recognised in France.

But hundreds of British people had already sent their driving licences and documents, and many people have reported waiting for months.

Now the préfecture in Nantes, which processes licences for the whole of France apart from Paris, has asked The Local to spread the word that British licences should not be sent in, saying the system is overloaded.

Serge Boulanger, secretary general of the préfecture, said: "The conditions for the exchange of British driving licences remain unchanged. 

"There is therefore no need to send mass requests for the exchange of licences, except in mandatory cases (lost, stolen or expired driving licences)."
 
He then asked The Local to "please relay this information widely, as the sending of several hundred Brexit-related exchange requests overloads the national service in Nantes."
 
He had previously told The Local that 5,000 British driving licences had been sent in the first two months of 2019.
 
The French government's decree says that anyone who has their "normal residence" in France can continue to use a British licence in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
 
This means that British people living here do not need to exchange their licences until either the photocard or the licence expires.
 
If your licence is lost or stolen, you will also need to get new one from the Nantes préfecture.
 
If you live in Paris, your application will be handled by the Préfecture de Police.
 
People who have already sent in their licences and are waiting for them to be processed are advised to "have patience".
 

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