Exchange to French driving licence

Advice required please on the necessity of official translation of DVLA driving licence information during request to exchange it to French licence and European Licence. Some people I know achieved this at the prefecture and were not asked for any translation - I was. The foncionaire also was unwilling to tell me exactly what was required as an officially approved translation. I had two completed forms (one for exchange application and the second for European application with boxes’ outlines respected); original DVLA card licence and paper counterpart with photo copies; passport and photocopies; and six month bills as specified proving current address. I have not found anyone who needed to provide an official legally authorised translation and if I do, what am I translating? Many thanks.

Did this in Isère many years ago, no translation required. The certificate of entitlement can be used later to recover classes of vehicles that may not have been transferred automatically, such as caravans. When our licences were done we lost that class, and I didn't realise until later. Apparently the reason is that a medical is needed every five years in order to retain it, so the bog standard vehicles were transferred.

It is however possible to get the certificate from the DVLA, get a medical, then fill in the form and have caravans added to your licence. A friend did this for his horsebox, as the alternative if you need to get the permission here is to take a training course that's going to cost you several days off work and the best part of 1000€. Or something. Anyway, it's far cheaper to have it reinstated (plus medical) than re-qualify here.

Just in case anyone needs this...


Even the official website says that you may have to provide translations. This appears to depend on the policy of the head honcho at the préfecture.

Here in the Ain (01), I was told that I had to provide sworn translations of both licence (photocard) and the DVLA certificate of entitlement, and, for my wife, our marriage certificate as well! All the same, the only one I paid for (at €40 per person) was the licence itself. I provided my amateur translation of the marriage certificate and another for the DVLA certificate, though I did get that checked by the translators where I used to work & got a big official stamp on it. No problems ensued. This is, of course, ridiculous, especially where the UK Photocard is in the standardised EU format, but bureaucrats lust love to wield power. Personally, I'd give them the 220volt variety, similar to the chair a friend said that he'd bought for his mother-in-law & was just waiting to get the chance to plug in!

No problem and no translation required in Quimper Bretagne. I think even my wife's Philippine one was just accepted and those are rather debateable!

Thanks - very helpful…so it’s a Certificate of Entitlement from DVLA that I need, and then get it translated. Will do and then try that!

I suppose it’s the inconsistency of rule enforcement that’s perplexing coupled with the attutude that’s disheartening. But that’s nothing compared with the trouble I am having trying to pay my taxe d’habitation 2014 - too long a story, but in a nutshell…the tresor public said (after nine years) that I shouldn’t pay; I insisted I should and much to their hilarity I insisted; eventually they found their mistake and said OH YES you must pay…Now I’m being chased for late payment fees! Ah well…

Wow Jane, incredible! I asked last year at my prefecture (Foix 09) what did I need, and she gave me everything and marked all the bits I had to supply, just as you described. No mention of a translation whatsoever.
I have everything ready to go for next week. I can’t believe your situation. Try the site to find the official requirements, print it out and take it in to her, as if to help her out, not point out she is wrong.
I understand if you must get a translation, it just seems incredulous to me that each Dept can be so different, and they can make demands like that!
Find the legal requirements before you go paying out for translations. And apparently it’s free of charge too. Just make sure your licence doesn’t run out of date. That’s a new can of worms.
Best of luck

I went through this last year. It took FIVE MONTHS from the first visit to the sous prefecture (Castres, in the Tarn) to receiving the new licence. I also had to provide a translation of my driving licence. You need to call the DVLA and ask for a certificate of entitlement. They will send this to you really quickly and it will cost £5. Then you need to get it translated by a certified translator. I used these people and they were fantastic. Fast and efficient and everything done by email and post. It cost 40 euros.

I remember how frustrating and infuriating the whole process was. If you look back at my discussions on this forum you will see it all described.

I wish you the best of luck and if you need any more advice let me know.

I know of people who have been asked for translations and to jump through hoops and others who have just handed over their UK licence and had nothing else to do but fill in a form. It depends on the policy of your local pen-pusher, it seems to me.