Driving in France / Road Signs To Know

Driving Licences

Driver’s Licenses

French Driver’s Licences New and Old
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European Union and the European Economic Area nationals

EU and EEA Nationals can drive freely in France with their own driving license. You do not have to exchange your national driver’s license provided that :

If you meet all of these requirements and conditions you may drive with the license as long as it valid.

I have read that Canadians from French speaking provinces, South Africans and Australians rights are like those of the EU residents. Since the Australian license does not have a “valid from” date noted on it, a document from the Australian authorities stating when the license was issued may be required.

Here is the list in French of the countries that can exchange.

http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/IMG/pdf/Liste_permis_de_conduire_valables_a_l_echange_01_2014_cle8cc6c4.pdf

 

Here’s how to exchange your national EU driving license for a French one : 

Check the agreement between your specific country and France concerning license exchanges. If the exchange is possible, or if your license has been suspended for a driving offense,

Conditions to exchange a license

  • Must live at least 6 months or 185 consecutive days in France “Résidence Normale en France”.
  • The license is valid
  • You are over 18 years old
  • You respect the medical conditions noted on dl. ie : Wears glasses.
  • You must not have had your dl suspended or cancelled in the country of issue.
  • Or you must not have obtained a permit in another European country for a period of prohibition when soliciting or obtaining a driving license in France ( ie : to accompany a permit cancellation penalty ).
  • Or you must not have lost your license in another EU country by cancellation or suspension.
  • If the European license was obtained in exchange for a license issued by a country outside the EEA, this country must practice mutual exchange of licenses with France. If this is not the case, the permit is not exchangeable and is no longer recognized after the period of one year following the acquisition of the residence of the person in France.

 

 

Required Documents to exchange your driver’s license (dl) if you are a EU – EEA resident Bring originals and photocopies

  1. cerfa n°14879*01 Form completed, dated and signed
  2. 06 cerfa n°14948*01 Form printed in color, completed, dated and signed.
  3. 2 ID photos with a light background (ask specifically at a photographer’s, just like passport photos) glued to the Cerfa forms.
  4. Current ID photocopied ie : Passport + photocopy of Titre de Séjour
  5. Current national driver’s licence (in good shape the French ask) 2 colored photocopies required of both sides.
  6. Proof of address no older than 3 months, electricity or phone bill and a copy of it.
  7. Proof of presence on French soil for longer than 6 months ie : rental agreement with name and address, tax papers, social security form.
  8. A certificate from your country of residency stating that your dl is valid, translated by an official translator recognized by France and found on the site http://www.cetiecap.com.
  9. Also maybe a stamped, addressed envelope.
  10. Cost : it’s called a regional tax and it is between 25 – 33 €. Cash or Card.

 

Once you have collected all of these documents

Make an appointment with this link

http://www.prefecturedepolice.interieur.gouv.fr/Demarches/Particulier/Permis-de-conduire-et-papiers-du-vehicule/Permis-de-conduire/Contacts-et-informations-pratiques/Nous-contacter-Permis-de-conduire#ancre-1

  • at the bottom of the page scroll down one to « rendez-vous échange de permis étranger », then choose 3 different possible times for an appointment.
  • Go to your local « Prefecture» or « Sous-Prefecture » and it’s Permis de Conduire window 10 minutes before your appointment. This can only be done in person. In most cases, your national driver’s license will be taken for further scanning to make sure it is authentic.

4) If everything required is in order you will be contacted in 4 to 5 weeks to  pick up your new driver’s licence at the same place, bring some ID.

 

You can follow the progress of your driver’s licence here site internet de l’Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés

 

Nationals from outside of the EU and EEA

Foreigners from countries outside of the European Union can drive in France with their national driver’s licence (dl) for 1 year starting the date of the « carte de séjour » or visa provided that:

When on vacation

  • It is a valid dl
  • That is accompanied by an official translation in French.

 

If you are moving to France for longer than a year

            1) and 2) from above

  • If it was issued prior to obtaining the first residence permit in France and if you resided in the country for longer than 6 months or 185 consecutive days.
  • Age limit is respected (18 years minimum)
  • You must not have had your dl suspended or cancelled in the country of issue.
  • Or you must not have obtained a permit in another European country for a period of prohibition when soliciting or obtaining a driving license in France ( ie : to accompany a permit cancellation penalty ).
  • Or you must not have lost your license in another EU country or France by cancellation or suspension.
  • If the European license was obtained in exchange for a license issued by a country outside the EEA, this country must practice mutual exchange of licenses with France. If this is not the case, the permit is not exchangeable and is no longer recognized after the period of one year following the acquisition of the residence of the person in France.

 

 

 

After one year, the driving license exchange is mandatory.

You must start the process of exchange before the expiration date of one year of your « titre de séjour » or visa. Your exchange request will be refused if it is after that date. Your driver’s license will no longer be valid. And you will have to start the process of obtaining a French license.

During Studies/For Students

If you have a « titre de séjour étudiant » you can drive with your national license for the duration of your studies in France provided that :

  • It is a valid dl
  • That is accompanied by an official translation in French.
  • It is issued by your country of residency « votre résidence normale ».
  • You are over 18 years old
  • You respect the medical conditions noted on dl. ie : Wears glasses.
  • Again no suspension of license before coming to France.
  • Your country of residency excepts all of the same conditions as above.

 

You can not exchange an International Driver’s licence.

For Americans

These States have exchange agreements with France. But reminder if you exchange directly the two licences you will loose your American licence. You must have your social security number.

South Caroline, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Floride, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvanie, Virginia, West Virginia.

There might be others so check but I think this is the newest list.

Required Documents to exchange your driver’s licence for residents out of EU – EEA if all of the requirements are met Bring originals and photocopies

  1. cerfa n°14879*01 Form completed, dated and signed
  2. 06 cerfa n°14948*01 Form printed in color, completed, dated and signed.
  3. 2 ID photos with a light background (ask specifically at a photographer’s, just like passport photos) glued to the Cerfa forms.
  4. Current ID photocopied ie : Passport + photocopy of Titre de Séjour
  5. Current national driver’s licence (in good shape the French ask) 2 colored photocopies required of both sides.
  6. Proof of address no older than 3 months, electricity or phone bill and a copy of it.
  7. A certificate from your country of residency stating that your dl is valid, translated by an official translator recognized by France and found on the site http://www.cetiecap.com.
  8. Also maybe a stamped, addressed envelope.
  9. Cost : it’s called a regional tax and it is between 25 – 33 €. Cash or Card.

 

You can follow the progress of your driver’s licence here site internet de l’Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés

It can 4 to 5 weeks depending on the « Préfectures ».

Once you have collected all of these documents

  • Make an appointment with this link

http://www.prefecturedepolice.interieur.gouv.fr/Demarches/Particulier/Permis-de-conduire-et-papiers-du-vehicule/Permis-de-conduire/Contacts-et-informations-pratiques/Nous-contacter-Permis-de-conduire#ancre-1

  • at the bottom of the page scroll down one to « rendez-vous échange de permis étranger », then choose 3 different possible times for an appointment.
  • Go to your local « Prefecture» or « Sous-Prefecture » and it’s Permis de Conduire window 10 minutes before your appointment. This can only be done in person. In most cases, your national driver’s licence will be taken for further scanning to make sure it is authentic.

4) If everything required is in order you will be contacted in 4 to 5 weeks to pick up your new driver’s licence at the same place, bring some ID.

If exchange is impossible

If the exchange is impossible, then you will have to sign up with a driving school and take the written and driving tests. It is possible to have someone translate both tests, if you wish.

Some driving schools

In Albertville : http://www.ecf-albertville-savoie.fr

In Annecy : http://www.savoie-formation.com

In Annemasse : http://www.ecjf.fr

In Aix-les-Bains :     http://www.auto-ecole.info/info-auto-ecole–cer-battentier–a–aix-les-bains–73100–579.html

In Chambery : http://www.automotoecoledesalpes.fr/contact.php

In Bourg St Maurice : http://www.permisecole.com/annuaire-auto-ecoles/07829/auto-moto-ecole-les-5-lacs.html

 

For more information, visit the website of the police prefecture in Paris at http://www.prefecture-police-paris.interieur.gouv.fr/ or refer to the PDF manual on how to get a French driving license at http://www.prefecture-police-paris.interieur.gouv.fr/.

The International driving license:

The International driving license is valid in France for one year. For more information in French … http://vosdroits.service-public.fr/.

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