Exchanging UK Driving Licence for a French PdC

(Alan Cameron) #1

Has anyone done this recently?

I'm just gathering all the various bits of paperwork together before making an appointment with the Prefecture.

My query pertains to the part where it says a translation of the driving licence by a certified translator must be provided. Now upon examining my paper licence there doesn't appear to be a great deal that would need translating but I suppose that's part of the fun when it comes to bureaucracy. And perhaps the necessity of the translation depends on where in France you are.

My questions are....

1. How much should I expect to pay for this translation?

2. Can anyone recommend someone in Montpellier?

3. I'd heard elsewhere that the Hotel de Ville can stamp the paperwork which negates the need for a translation although I've got my doubts about this.

4. And once at the Prefecture how quick are they at issuing the French driving licence?


(Alan Cameron) #2

I thought I'd give an update for this driving licence subject.

I finally got an appointment for mid-February and went to the Préfecture armed with copious amounts of paperwork but not a translation of the UK licence. In the event the fellow must've had a good day as he glanced through the paperwork I gave him; did a bit of photocopying and stapling, and said 'thanks very much. You'll get your Permit de Conduire within 6 months'. Ten minutes in and out.

(Alan Cameron) #3

Thanks for the replies. Fortunately I'm not in a pressing need to get this done so I think I'll probably try a first attempt without translation, but carrying along a copy of 2013/0119(COD) as backup in anticipation of coming head-to-head with the local jobsworth.

The tricky part will be getting the appointment as it involves applying online first thing on a Monday on a first come first served basis. The joys.

(Brian Milne) #4

We did it all on line and by post, no trip to the prefecture. Once what was required was sent in we were informed the licences (we did it together) were ready and then had to send in the original European card and UK paper version, after which our new licences reached us a few days later. There were no hitches or anything else needed, we just followed instructions on the prefecture's site. I know it did not cost a lot, probably registering the letters cost as much, but have forgotten. We did not need any kind of translations and under European licence regulations they are NOT required although a few jobsworths at some prefectures clearly insist.

(Steve Hayes) #5

My OH did it a couple of years ago and in Montpellier to boot. email pref-permis-de-conduire@herault.gouv.fr

They were nice.

There was about a 6 week delay between submitting documents and getting it. No translation required. They said so in writing If it's not too much hassle I suggest going to the prefecture with everything (Your O level results, photo of driving instructor, grandmother's stool sample), including photocopies of everything, both sides. You only want category B unless you really do want to drive big things in which case you need a medical cert (I seem to remember the standard UK license is more generous than the French one)

It's good though, once you've got it you can park on islands and pavements and drive up someone's backside, (but in fairness you will have to give cyclists more room than the UK license demands)

(Anthony Murphy) #6


Please see the above link which suggests that some incredibly common public documents no longer require certified translations, driving licences being the 2nd one identified (after ID docs).

see para 7:

Traductions certifiées : les traductions certifiées représentent un coût considérable pour les citoyens. Les traductions certifiées ne devraient donc être exigées qu'à titre exceptionnel. Les citoyens ne devraient supporter les coûts de traduction que lorsque les doutes exprimés par les autorités s'avèrent fondés, sauf pour certains documents complexes. D’une manière générale, les autorités devraient accepter les traductions certifiées établies dans d'autres États membres.

Certified translations: certified translations representing a considerable cost for citizens. Certified translations should only be required in exceptional circumstances. Citizens should not bear the cost of translations unless doubts raised by the authorities turn out to have some foundation, except for complex documents. In general, the authorities should accpet certified translations done in other member states.

In the circumstances (that there is no need real need for a translation at all), I would provide a well laid out home-made one and claim that there is no need for such an elementary translation and that the cost is not justifiable as per 1st reading of draft EU legislation.

Good luck, hope this might help. Regards, Anthony.

(Mandy Davies) #7

You're probably going to need a few visits to the Prefecture to sort this out. I had a nightmare with this about 18 months ago.

Check first if you need translation. Some Prefectures ask for one and some don't. If you need a translation then you will first need to get a Certificate of Entitlement from the DVLA in the UK, cost me £5 when I did it but they are quick and helpful. Just give them a call. Then you need a translation. I used these people http://www.afa82.com/ and did everything by post, email etc. No need to visit anyone. It cost 40 euros.

As for the timescale, for me it was FIVE MONTHS from start to finish.

If you have 10 minutes to spare I wrote about my experiences on here during the process. Here's the link. http://www.survivefrance.com/forum/topics/sous-prefecture-de-castres-v-dvla

(Whitney Blankenship) #8

I just did this a few months ago, albeit with an American (Delaware) license. It's actually one of the simpler procedures- you should even have less to do than I did because you're European.

The translation is mandatory. Or at least, it was for the Prefecture de Caen, I can't promise anything for Montpellier. That being said, for a traduction assermentée, I paid 20 euro for it.

I think it's also important to note that when you do this, you will wait months for your permis B (if you have a general license in the UK, I'm not sure how it works chez vous). The lady at the prefecture gave me a paper that says I can drive in France until I get my permis. I asked her how long that would be and she said "Euhhh...bon, le récipissé est bon pour 9 mois...donc....6, 7, 8 mois?"