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Exchanging a driver's license

Depending on the country where your driver’s license has been issued and your status in France, you may need to carry out certain administrative procedures in order to legally drive in France.

Driver's license issued in the EEA

If your driver's license has been issued by a country of the European Economic Area (EEA), you may legally drive in France and in Europe without having to carry out any administrative procedures. Your driver's license is valid.

However, in case of a long stay, we strongly advise you to register your driving license at your local Préfecture. Registration allows you to obtain a duplicate in case of loss or theft of your license.

If you commit a road traffic offense resulting in the restriction or suspension of your license or the loss of points, you will be required to exchange your driver's license for a French license at the local prefecture.
 

 

Driver's licenses obtained outside the EEA


The procedure is different depending on your residence permit.

You have an "étudiant" visa or residence permit.

PhD students holding an “étudiant" residence permit do not have to exchange their foreign driver's license. In this case, you can drive in France with your original driver's license translated into French by a sworn translator recognized by a French Appeal Court (cour d'Appel française) without exchanging it.

You have a "Passeport talent-chercheur"/"Scientifique-chercheur" visa or residence permit.

For a stay of over three months in France, any driver's license issued outside the EEA zone must be exchanged to continue driving legally in France. This exchange is mandatory and must be done in the first year of your stay in France at your local Préfecture.
If this procedure is not initiated within the first year of your stay, or one year after you changed your residence permit from student ot passeport talent-chercheur, you will not be allowed to drive in France unless you take the French driver’s test.

Procedure for exchanging a foreign driver's license

The application for an exchange of a driver's license is now enterely done online on the ANTS website.
It is mandatory that your driving license matches the following conditions:
• Be valid,
• Be issued by your country of normal residency before coming to France,
• Be issued by a country bonded by a reciprocity agreement with France,
• Be written in French or officially translated. If the translation is made in France, it must be by a sworn translator. If made abroad it must be legalized or certified with an apostil.

You will find the list of documents to be provide on Service-public.fr.
Here is a translation of the list
• Double-sided color copy of your driver's license
• Translation of your driver's license if not in French
• ID (passport or other)
• Proof of address less than 6 months old
• Proof of legal residence in France (residence permit or validated VLS-TS)
Online photo-signature. If you do not have access to this service, you will have the option to send a picture and your signature by mail during the application process.
• Certificate of your rights to drive, less than three months old. This must be delivered by the country that issued your driver's license to prove it has not been canceled or suspended. If not in French this document must be translated by a sworn translator.
• If you are not a citizen of the country that issued your driver's license, a proof of your normal residence in this country at the time of the issuance of the driver's license.