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Reader question: Can expired UK driving licences be swapped for French ones?

Reader question: Can expired UK driving licences be swapped for French ones?
Photo: AFP
Good news! A post-Brexit deal was finally agreed in June 2021 that permits Britons living permanently in France to swap their driving licences for a French one.

After several years during which the exchange of driving licences was effectively suspended, a deal has finally been announced between French and British authorities.

We say finally because the impasse over this issue dragged on so long that many people’s UK licences expired while they were waiting – leaving people stranded in rural areas with no transport.

But there is at last some good news for them – people whose licences expired while they waited can now swap them for French ones without having to take the (complicated and expensive) French driving test.

You can read full details of the new deal and who it applies to HERE.

If you had already applied under the old system – if you had previously applied and have an application number, the advice is simply to wait.

No application from UK licence holders were being processed until the deal was agreed. Processing has now begun again, but there is a big baklog to get through.

If you fit the new criteria, your licence will be exchanged and you should be contacted to ask for extra documents or to send in your expired licence. Once you have sent in your old licence, you will receive an attestation that allows you to drive until your new licence arrives.

If you have not applied – if your licence expired while the system was not accepting applications from UK licence holders, you can now apply. 

Yu do this via an online portal, which you can find HERE.

If you haven’t used it before you will need to create an online account, or if you already have online accounts for French government services such as Ameli or tax declarations you can login by clicking on the France Connect button.

Once logged in, select Je demande l’échange ou l’enregistrement de mon permis de conduire étranger (I request the exchange or registration of a foreign driving licence) and fill in the details requested on the form such as name, address etc.

Once you have completed the form, you get to the section where you can supply supporting documents as requested. These vary slightly depending on your circumstances but will include: 

  • Proof of ID;
  • Proof of address such as a recent utility bill;
  • If your driver’s licence is in a different name to your passport, you will need to supply your full birth certificate;
  • Photos – these must be taken in a government-approved photo booth or via the app;
  • The documents need to be scanned and uploaded to the website, not sent by post, although photos can be sent in the mail. 

You can find a full guide to each step of the process of filling out the form at the Facebook page Applying for a French Driving Licence.

UK nationals do not need to supply a post-Brexit carte de séjour with their application – so if your licence has expired but you have not yet received your carte de séjour, you can go ahead and apply and there is no need to provide translations of the documents you supply, unless asked.

For more information on exchanging your UK driving licence for a French, one click here


Member comments

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  1. Although the advice is that those who submitted their applications prior to Brexit to sit back & wait I have a different result. I submitted mine in December 2020 and received an online acknowledgment. My application was simply rejected by SMS message two days ago. My licence expires on 24 January 2022 so that maybe the reason for rejection ? My ANTS site , however, indicates my application is still pending ! Confused de Nerac !
    On another point relating to UK Driving licences it used to be the law that on arriving at 70 years of age one was required to swap your licence for a French one. According to a lady at ANTS this regulation appears to have been quietly dropped .

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