Latest news on driving licences from British Embassy

Below is the Q&A session and press release by the British Embassy about the reciprocal agreement on the mutual recognition of British and French driving licences.

Q&A

Do I need to exchange my UK driving licence if I live in France?

If your licence was issued before 1 January 2021, you can use it in France until it expires. Paper licences are usually valid until you are 70. For plastic photocard licences, the expiry date is on the front. Check the expiry date.

When your licence has less than six months’ validity remaining or if it has already expired, you can exchange it for a French one from Monday 28 June by applying to the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS) via their online platform: https://permisdeconduire.ants.gouv.fr/

If your licence was issued on or after 1 January 2021, it will be recognised for 12 months from the date of issue of your residency permit (carte de séjour).If you intend to stay in France for longer, you must exchange your UK licence for a French one during this 12-month period by applying to the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS) via their online platform: https://permisdeconduire.ants.gouv.fr/

Can I drive in France if my UK licence has expired?

No. Expired licences are not recognised by the French authorities. Paper licences are usually valid until you are 70.  For plastic photocard licences, the expiry date is on the front. Check the expiry date.

If you are resident in France and your UK licence has expired or has less than six months’ validity remaining you can exchange it for a French one from Monday 28 June by applying to the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS) via their online platform: https://permisdeconduire.ants.gouv.fr/

When your application is registered, you will receive a document confirming your right to drive (une Attestation de Dépôt Sécurisée), which you can use to drive in France until your new licence arrives.

Can I renew my UK licence with the DVLA if I am resident in France?

No. You may not renew your licence with the DVLA if you are not resident in the UK.

If I am resident in France, can I use my UK licence in other EU countries?

Rules vary between countries so you should check the relevant country page on gov.uk before travelling.

If I am resident in France can I get an International Driving Permit (IDP) if I need one to accompany my UK licence in another country?

Yes. As long as your UK licence is recognised in France, you can apply for an IDP viathe Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS). This applies to paper and photocard licences.

Can I use my UK licence if I am visiting France?

Yes, if you are visiting France and have a valid UK  licence, you do not need to carry an additional International Driving Permit (IDP).

I applied to ANTS last year, will my application be processed?

If your licence has expired or has less than six months’ validity remaining, your exchange will be processed. If your licence is not due to expire, your application will not be processed.

Can I exchange my UK licence if it is not due to expire?

If your UK licence was issued before 1 January 2021, you do not need to apply to exchange it before it is due to expire. If you do not have a valid reason to request an exchange, your application will be rejected.

PRESS RELEASE

RECIPROCAL AGREEMENT ON THE MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF BRITISH AND FRENCH DRIVING LICENCES

Following the implementation of the United Kingdom’s Withdrawal Agreement from the European Union, the French and British authorities have reached an agreement on the continued mutual recognition of driving licences, which will come into effect from Monday 28 June 2021.

The principle of full licence recognition applies to holders of UK driving licences issued before 1 January 2021. These licence holders do not need to exchange their licence for a French one, whatever their nationality. This principle also applies to French licence holders resident in the UK.

In practical terms, UK licence holders living in France and French licence holders living in the UK can continue to drive with their original valid licence. They do not need to apply to exchange for a local licence, except when their original licence expires or in the case of loss or theft.

However, exchange is compulsory for holders of a UK driving licence issued after 1 January 2021 who wish to live in France for more than one year. In this case, the holder has a period of one year from the issue date of their residency permit to exchange their UK licence for a French one.

Exchange requests should be submitted to theAgence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS): https://permisdeconduire.ants.gouv.fr/

Any UK licence holder travelling to France for a short tourist stay will be able to drive with their licence, under the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of 8 November 1968 to which France and the UK are signatories. This also applies to French licence holders visiting the UK.

British Ambassador Ed Llewellyn said:

I’m delighted to be able to reassure those with valid UK licences that they can continue to drive in France without taking a French driving test.

I know this will be welcome news for so many people throughout France who rely on being able to drive to get to work, attend medical appointments and see friends and family.

For those with an expired UK licence, there is now a clear route to exchanging it for a French licence, which will allow these people to get back on the road.”

Comments


  1. In the absence of any exchange process being available earlier this year I took the (slightly dodgy) decision to renew my UK driving licence in the UK, despite the fact that I’ve lived in France for some time now. I didn’t renew it before now as at the time there was some chance that I might return to live in the UK. So finally this summer I applied to exchange my licence for a French one and after many months of inactivity I have just received notice that it my request has been rejected. The statement (as others above have received) was …
    “Holders of a British Driving Licence and residing in France, whose driving rights were acquired before 1st January 2021, may continue to drive with their valid original DL.\nOnly expired, lost, stolen, deteriorated, suspended, canceled or with an infraction leading to point withdrawal in France, or with a class extension can be exchanged.”
    My UK licence (plastic card) clearly shows that it was renewed after 1st January 2021 so I am rather confused. I also do not fully understand the reference to ‘”driving rights” in the above statement. Does this refer to the date that a UK plastic card licence was renewed or the date of passing a driving test in the UK. I assume from this ANTs reply that I should just keep driving on this UK licence ….all very confusing. Is anyone in a similar position?

  2. I applied to exchange my UK licence on the 3rd of July. It expires on the 12th of December 2021 so less than 6 months left right?? Well in the usual French custom I got a big fat NON! My application was rejected with the following statement:
    “Holders of a British Driving Licence and residing in France, whose driving rights were acquired before 1st January 2021, may continue to drive with their valid original DL.\nOnly expired, lost, stolen, deteriorated, suspended, cancelled or with an infraction leading to point withdrawal in France, or with a class extension can be exchanged.”
    I of course phoned them and they just read out this statement to me word for word and in English?? I speak french fluently and started the conversation in French… Anyway when the agent kept repeating the same answer to my questions I asked to speak to a manager, NON she replied zis is against zee law?!? I laughed for quite a while before I hung up on her as obviously I wasn’t going to get anywhere! I did call back to see if I could speak to a more coherent human but I got the same again except I found out that I need to apply only once my licence has actually expired!! Where has logic gone? I did ask so if I take my vehicle now and go over the speed limit to set off a camera according to your rules you’ll exchange my licence?? Yes she replied??????????????? WTAF Might have to start looking at moving to a country that hasn’t lost the plot… Cheers for reading hope this helps someone!

    1. Thanks Loic, your post does provide an answer to the madness, my partner’s licence also expires on 12 Dec 21 and who also has an application “stagnating” with ANTS – the situ is crazy and utter madness and must be making many trapped in this cycle of bureaucracy mentally ill. – I hope you’ve made some progress and received your French licence by now. UK DVLA is no better and are running months behind!

  3. My UK driving license expired on 4/03/2021 (for some administrative reason my license didn’t expire on my 70th birthday) and I renewed it until I was required to renew it again at my 70th Birthday on 29/07/2021.
    I applied for a French license and received a Justificatif de dépôt de demande dated 21/11/2020 acknowledging my application and giving me 2 months to drive on my UK license until my French one arrived.
    In the absence of any communication I renewed my UK license from my UK address which is dated 29/07/2021 for 3 years.
    I have now received an email from ANTS saying that I need to get a D737.
    My application for the French license is obviously very much still active but I can only print off a license summary from the DVLA site which states my license details which are different (date) to the license I gave on my application. All other proofs have been accepted. What should I do? If I send this license summary are they likely to question why the license details are different. I will surrender the latest license when my French licenser is issued but how can I tell ANTS this?
    I am resident in France and have a post Brexit Carte de Séjour although we have a UK address. I am very concerned that I might have to start the application process over again.

  4. I have tried to start the process of exchanging my licence which runs out of date soon many times since it came online on the Ants site. Today we rang the site and were told it’s not possible to do so and no good to keep trying, it’s a political thing and they still have not reached an agreement .

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