Click the link here to access the Facebook group - Applying for a French Driving Licence
DRIVING LICENCE EXCHANGE UK TO FRENCH
There are no plans to make a UK licence invalid on 01 January 2021.
Please read the Service-Public directive for the current exchange criteria.
You can drive in France with your European licence as long as it is valid. The exchange of a driver's licence obtained in a European Licence is not necessary to drive in France. This is only mandatory if you apply for a new category of the licence or if you commit certain traffic offences in France. It also applies if your card 4b on the front or column 11 on the back is expiring or you have an old UK paper licence is expiring.
All licence categories are transferable. Any C or D category will require a medical to retain them on your licence.
Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Gibraltar Licences are classified as Non-EU licences, your passport determines the time frame you must exchange by.
You must exchange your licence when you obtain 185 days (normal residence) evidence in France with one of the following examples: Impôt Statement, Ameli Attestation de Droits, job contract, ME (self employed documentation), then you have 12 months to start the exchange of your licence.
You have 12 months from arrival in France to start the exchange of your licence.
If you hold both a UK licence and another Non-EU licence, you must exchange your UK licence as you cannot currently hold a UK and a French licence at the same time.
Extensions to Photocard Validity
Europe 7 Month Extension to Photocard Licence
If you have a photocard licence that expires (4b) between 01/02/2020 and 31/08/2020 your card validity has been extended for 7 months from the date of expiry of your card (4b) providing your licence, column 11 on the back, has at least 7 months validity remaining, otherwise your photocard is only extended for as long as column 11 remains in date. Only the card validity has been extended, it does not apply to your licence expiry date.
UK Licence 11 Month Extension (not applicable in France)
The 11 month extension announced by the UK is not relevant to a UK licence in France, the UK requested the extension to allow the DVLA to process the outstanding applications and renewals in the UK. If you are a resident in France this does not apply to you as you cannot renew your UK licence.
International Driving Permit
Currently there is no requirement for one but should you be travelling to a country who requires this then you can apply for an IDP issued by France for your UK licence (01/11/20 - awaiting official confirmation of this)
If you live near the border and cross frequently then it’s possible you will need an IDP after 31/12/2020 if you haven’t managed to exchange your licence.
CURRENT EXCHANGE CRITERIA
Original Paper Licence or Photocard Licence
Licence soon to expire either column 11 on the back of your photocard, old original UK paper licence and 4b date on the front of your photocard (anyone who still has the paper counterpart that came with your card should be destroyed, it was discontinued in 2015 and is no longer a legal document.
To exchange a licence you must be domiciled in France and be able to provide official evidence of 185 days (normal residence) evidence in France with one of the following examples: Impôt Statement, Ameli Attestation de Droits, job contract, ME (self employed documentation),
New driving category added to your licence.
NB: You cannot exchange a provisional licence, nor can you drive in France with one.
ARRIVING IN FRANCE FROM 01.01.2021
The outcome of the trade deal is not known yet and won’t be until later in the year. Driving licences may well be included within any deal negotiated. If they are not then the following will likely apply to new arrivals.
Only if you arrive 01.01.2021, then you will apply as a TCN and you will have 12 months to start the application (not complete it). However, you must be aware that you can ONLY drive for 12 months on your UK licence from 01.01.2021. (I will update instructions relevant to this situation nearer the time when I know).
Should you fail to start the exchange process within 12 months, you will be required to take the two part driving test to continue driving in France.
It is illegal to renew your licence in the UK if you are resident in France, which can have further implications on your residency in France and HMRC in the UK. But also be aware the licence you wish to exchange must have obtained the licence before you arrived in France.
This is the statement from the DVLA, with regard to renewing a licence in the UK if you are no longer a resident.
This is written on all GB driving licence applications, as part of the legal declaration that has to be made when the application is submitted or signed.
It states the following:
"I declare that I am a resident in the UK (*) and understand that it is criminal offence to make a false declaration to get a driving licence and that to do so can lead to prosecution and a maximum penalty of up to two years imprisonment. I also understand that failing to provide correct information is an offence that could lead to prosecution and a fine or up to £1000."
If you agreed to this declaration when not a resident in the UK, this would be considered as a breach of the declaration and would be a criminal offence.
This is also on the hard copy Form D1
Should you wish further information or help and advice on how to exchange your licence, please join the Facebook group Applying for a French Driving Licences (and don’t forget to answer the 3 joining questions).
Click the link here Applying for a French Driving Licence