Applied for french licence last April - heard nothing yet

I posted my application for exchange of license on March 29 (this year), still no news. I did buy a car in May and my insurance agent (local) provided me temporary insurance which he has now extended 3 times…I suppose he will continue to do this until I get the french license. I was able to register the car at the dealers online (received the carte grise within a week in post.) fingers crossed!

At the moment an EU licence can be used in any other EU country until it expires. Different non EU countries have individual rules, the USA is particularly complicated because while licences issued in some states may be exchanged others are not accepted. A simple search on sites will find the details. The status of U.K. licences in the EU after Brexit is still unknown.

You are right Mary.
An IDP will not be legal once you are living full time in France.
Maybe check on the French and US consulates web site how you can go aboout exchanging your US license for a French one .
Good luck !

A new UK MoT should be ok, but it wasn’t acceptable. It was submitted, but was refused

I’m sure you realise that it should be accepted. Personally I would go for the CT anyway.

Oh yes, but it wasn’t. We had a new CT anyway, but wanted to see if the UK MoT worked.

Evelyn, I don’t think one needs a license to buy or register a car here. I’ve registered four, one from Germany, one from Northern Ireland, one from Southern Ireland and one from London and bought a new one here. No mention of licenses. The issues is being stopped without your licence on you. You should have a receipt from the French licencing authority that will suffice for the police until your new license arrives.

Also, as was stated above, one doesn’t have to change an EU license after two years, only on expiry or having committed a motoring offense (I don’t know of that is any offense or just a serious one.

Mary, An IDP is not a drivers licence, it is an internationlly recognised translation of your driving license. So if your license expires the IDP has no validity either.

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Mary, I know nothing about US licences, or if they are compatible with eu/French, licences, but there was an American living not far from me who couldn’t exchange his licence. Effectively, as far as france was concerned he had no licence and had to drive round in a sans-permis shitbox. He had to take driving lessons here and pass the test. This was probably 7 or 8 years ago, maybe things have changed now…


John, you now need a licence that covers the category of vehicle you are registering. It’s a fairly new requirement.
France does not accept all US licences for exchange, they are taken on a state by state basis. The states where the procedure for getting a licence is not considered rigorous enough, I’m fairly sure that California is one, cannot be exchanged whereas others can. Unlike U.K. licences there is a time limit within which US citizens must get a French licence either by exchange or by taking a driving test.

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It must be David. My most recent registration was in March '17 and the garage didn’t ask for my license. Maybe they just winged it. I found this “Vous n’avez pas à joindre une copie numérique (photo ou scan) du permis de conduire. Par contre, celle-ci pourra vous être demandé dans le cadre de l’instruction de votre dossier” on this

This Link outlines the changes in the Law… which David has highlighted. Seems “before” anyone could have their name on the CGrise whether they held a licence or not… not so nowadays…

I applied for my French licence at the beginning of January this year and despite the Marie checking everything I have only just received the Attestation in letter format with my photo and it is valid until March next year. So 6 and a half months !! I did NOT send my old UK licence but a photo and now I have been asked to send the actual licence ( which ran out in mid June) to Nantes. This is not only me but other friends as well . So you will get it and understand but afraid patience is the virtue !!

March 2019 seems to be a big month, Brexit and all… Do you suppose the validity date has anything to do with perhaps any new procedure one would have to go through, or something?

Hi, I applied in November 2017; rang twice recently and was given 2 different answers (at the printers and then not at the printers.
Then sent an email to with name, date of birth, address and got a reply ! that Nantes were waiting for authentication from Ireland.
When you used to do the exchange at the Prefecture, you had to obtain a letter of entitlement from the country that had issued your driving licence.
I emailed back stating that although not now required, I actually had this letter and if I got it translated and sent it, would it speed things up.
Got a reply that the DL is gone to the printers and was given a phone number and reference number to follow its progress.
Hope this helps, I am a bag of nerves as I have to drive a rental car in Ireland today, not having driven for the last five years. Send me good thoughts !

Really surprised re the time to change licence now, just a very few years ago, it took a half hour in Vannes, then a week or so for the licence to arrive. Good luck driving to day, you’ll be fine 10mins in :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks ! the system has changed since last year, same with cartes grises and so on. It’s just not working.

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UPDATE: Just received a letter from Nantes saying that I must send them my real out-of-date driving license by registered post and they’ll send me a new French one. In the meantime they’ve also sent me a cert stating that I’ve applied for a new driving license.


Well done. I’m still waiting for mine, they received the paperwork on 6th March. I’m not panicking as my UK licence doesn’t expire until 2023.