You are here : Version anglaise > Administrative formalities > Exchanging a driver's license

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.

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:
  • 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.