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Exchanging a driver's license

Depending upon the country where your driver’s license was 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 was issued by a country in 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.

Exchanging a European driver's license

The whole procedure is done online, on the ANTS’ website. To do so, you will have to create an ANTS account or use your FranceConnect login if you have one.

The following documents will be required, else scanned or in picture.

For the European nationals (EEA country + United Kingdom):
  • Birth certificate with your birth name
  • Certificate of normal residence in France (lease, employment contract, social security registration certificate, tax notice…)
For the Third-Countries’ nationals:
  • Certificate of a legal stay in France (residence permit or VLS-TS validation)
For all:
  • Two-sided color image of the original driving license
  • I.D. (passport, ID card)
  • Proof of residence less than 6 months old
  • Digitalized Picture-Signature (if you don’t have access to this service, you will be proposed to fill and send by mail a paper Picture-Signature form)
  • If your license has been cancelled or suspended : the decision of cancelation or suspension, a mail stating your obligation to an exchange issued by the prefecture and a medical advice
  • If your license has been lost or stolen, the declaration of loss or theft

After your examination the ANST will have processed your application, your original driving license will be requested to check its authenticity (except in case of cancelation or suspension). You will be reached by text and by e-mail. The e-mail will detail the procedure to deliver your driving license.

In exchange to this original driving license, you will receive an “Attestation de dépôt sécurisée – ADS” of your foreign driving license. This certificate will allow you to drive until you will receive your French driving license, in the limit of validity of your foreign driving license.

Depending on the complexity of your case, the whole process might take months.

Driver's licenses obtained outside the EEA

The procedure is different depending on your residence permit.

You have an "Etudiant" visa or residence permit.

PhD students holding an “étudiant" residence permit do not have to exchange their foreign driving 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" visa or residence permit

During the first year of your "Chercheur" residence permit, 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.

For a stay of over 1 year in France, any driving 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 you already know that you will stay more than 1 year, don't wait to initiate this procedure.

If your driver's license is not exchanged for a French license during the first year, 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

To exchange your driver's license for a French license, you must go to your local prefecture in order to submit a request to change your license (dossier d’échange de permis de conduire).

Arrange an appointment at the Rhône Préfecture Arrange an appointment at the Loire Préfecture
Verify the required documents (Rhône) Verify the required documents (Loire)

Before the appointment, remember to download and complete the following CERFA forms:
  • Self-assessment form - Application for the exchange of a driver's license
  • Cerfa form No. 14879*01 "Demande de permis de conduire par échange" completed and signed (do not forget to mention your cell phone number and/or email address)
  • Cerfa form No. 14948*01 Ref 06 “Demande de permis de conduire – Format de l'Union européenne” completed and signed
When you submit your exchange request, you will receive a certificate enabling you to prove that it is impossible to present your driving license in the event of a roadside check. It will be valid until you obtain your new license.

It may take several months to process your request. If your request is approved, the prefecture will send you your new driver's license by post. Your new French license will be valid for a period of 15 years from the date of issuance.