Exchanging UK licence for a French one

I am a French resident who currently has a UK driving licence. My UK licence was renewed in 2023, because the UK requires it when you are aged 70 or over. My new UK licence does not have the EU flag on it as to mark the UK’s exit from the EU, the EU flag was removed from all UK driving licences from 1 January 2021.
I was recently informed that is not legal to drive under my UK licence that was issued after Jan 2021 and that I needed a French driving licence. I have recently applied through the ANTS system for a new French driving licence. I immediately received a Justificatif de depot de demande with a reference number and stating that I had demanded a new driving licence. Does anyone know if this receipt makes me legal to drive in conjunction with my UK driving licence or will I get some sort of attestation in a few days to say I am allowed to drive or is the worst case scenario that I am not legally allowed to drive in France until I get my new licence in however many months time.

That’s not strictly true. As explained here, your licence is valid for 1 year from the date upon which you settled in France. How long ago did you become a French resident?

Edit: Forgot to say, I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to you question… just in case you’ve been here over a year already.

and I’m wondering who “recently informed…” @Giscard ???
as there is an important exception for British Licence Holders…

(à l’exception d’un permis britannique délivré avant 2021)

"except for the UK Driving Licence obtained before 2021
ie one passed one’s Test before 2021 :wink:

Of course, we don’t have all the facts… so perhaps it’s not straight forward after all… but I’d have placed a bet that his UK licence is still valid… :wink:

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Ah, I interpreted the délivré avant 2021 part to mean when the licence was issued (or reissued in this case), not when the holder first passed their test.

No, that was cleared up for us a while ago (and can be found somewhere on the forum) … phew… we can breathe a sigh of relief…

I stand corrected in that case. Thanks for clarifying, @Stella :pray:

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Thanks to you both for replying. Clearly I have made a mistake here as I thought I would need to exchange my licence when my current one expired in another two years, obviously I should not have renewed my UK one. We still have a house in the UK but spend more of the year in France, hence we are residents and tax payers here. To try to answer some of your questions we gained French residency in December 2021. I was informed by the French Insurance company that insures my wifes car that they would not include me on the policy because my licence was issued after Jan 2021 and no longer has the EU flag on it. Mine just has the GB flag. As I said I have applied for a French licence but wonder when I will be “legal” to drive as my application trundles through the system.

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@kim can you please confirm this is correct … as it is just possible I’ve gone completely barmy :wink:

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@kim will know the answer… ( :crossed_fingers: )

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Thanks for that, I have tried to email the relevant section on the ANTS website but fell foul when it asked for the driving licence number. It did not accept the UK licence number. In frustration I sent an email to a general ANTS contact address. I don’t hold out a great deal of hope that it will find the right person to answer it.

Hello Giscard, licences are issued residence based and if you hold a CdS then you are resident here and should have exchanged your licence when it came up for renewal.

However, your insurance company is so wrong it’s worrying, who are they ? There are a few suspects that insist that a UK licence issued after 01/02/2021 is no longer legal, well they’re very very wrong.

Your licence is and continues to be legal in France, you may or may not be processed but if you’re lucky because your licence is only valid for 3 years, if I understand you are 70, you may be issued a French licence.

UK licences are split into two fundemental categories test passed before 01/01/2021 and test passed from 01/01/2021 which roughly means those that took their test in an EU country get to continue as an EU licence and those that passed their test from 21 took their test in a non-EU country and those rules apply.

The MOI released a statement on the UK agreement with regard to the validity of licence and the Prefecture de la Loire-Atlantic, who are the French Official Authority on exchanges of foreign licences, have issued a statement to say categorically it is the date of right to drive that is taken into account, which is the date that you passed your test and NOT the date of issue of the card.


You called :grin:


Thanks for clarifying, @kim. Much appreciated!


Thanks Kim and I take the slap on the wrist for not exchanging it at the time. Life would have been simpler if I had.

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It would have but it’s done now. Just to confirm your licence is valid and legal to drive, application or no application.

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HURRAH :rofl: :rofl:

Hurrah indeed :+1: :+1: :+1:

A quick update on my difficulty in getting added to my wifes insurance policy. I contacted the insurer with a lengthy letter which included the Echange d’un permis de conduire document and the Ministere de l’interiure statement regarding the validity of British driving licences. I pointed out that the reference to delivre of the driving licence was the date of passing the driving test. I had a very short answer stating that they have been informed that the delivre date is given as 4a on a UK driving licence. My licence has on section 4a when it was due for renewal as 12 01 23 and the date in 4b is 16 03 26 when it would be next due for renewal if I was still in the UK. On the reverse side the date of passing the driving test is 15 02 74. Has anyone any suggestions as how to how I can get insured or do the dates on my licence go against this. Does anyone know an insurer who is more flexible and will accept a UK driving licence like mine.

We are talking about the Car being Insured… aren’t we… ???

It’s not you being insured surely… just asking to be added as a named driver ???

Yes the car is already insured in my wifes name. I just wish to be added as a named driver.