French driving licence expired

Hello all, has anyone had recent experience of this please ? I have read various threads here and have spoken to ANTS, but there’s a lot of contradictory information.
My husband realised his French licence had expired 5 years after the date of issue. This is the date at 4b on the front of the pink card. Apparently it was valid for only 5 years because his original UK licence entitled him to drive various categories of vehicle besides a car, requiring a medical every 5 years for renewal. This was news to him as he has never driven any of these other categories, and bizarrely the verso of the French licence shows that this entitlement expired 3 months after the licence was issued in any case.
So is he entitled to keep driving a car while waiting for the renewal? According to ANTS he is legally entitled but administratively he is not allowed to do so without an in-date licence. He has an attestation to say he has applied for renewal, which ANTS say the gendarmes may or may not accept if he is stopped. So it’s a sort of bureaucratic limbo.
On his application he ticked the ‘no’ box to say he does not require a medical, but ANTS say he also needs to attach a letter saying he abandons his right to drive the other category vehicles. However there is no info about this on their website or on the online form. He has to wait until his application is passed on to the département, which will not be until the end of November, and then they will contact him and he sends this letter to them. He has waited over a month already. Our neighbour spoke to the préfecture for us, but they said the medical is obligatory, which I’m sure is wrong.
Does anyone who has been in this position have any advice? If he can drive a car, is there any evidence he could show to gendarmes to prove that he is entitled to do so? We’re in a small village and have medical appointments etc which can’t wait.

Kim Cranstoun runs a facebook group - ‘Applying for a French Driving License’ - She is the god of UK/French license rules and processes.
She is also on here (quite how Kim finds the time I am not sure) :slight_smile:
@kim – Hopefully she may well be along soon to assist.


There was an earlier topic on this very subject:

IIRC the date at 4b concerns the requirement for a medical for certain types of vehicle/trailer combination. If eg you are towing a “heavy” trailer (unless the law has changed) up to the age of 60 in class E/B a medical will be required every 5 years (up to the age of 60) every 2 years over the age of 60 and annually over 70. If you do not drive that class of vehicle (even though your licence covers you for it) you will not need to action the medical requirement.

The old style permis (3 fold) only expires when you do :wink:

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When he applied to exchange at the Prefecture C/D categories were automatically transferred therefore a photocard is only valid for 5 years.

However column 11 in category B has no end date so yes he can continue to drive as he has an application in the system.

There is no letter on ANTS if you would like to message me I will give you a copy of the letter I give my members to use when renouncing the lourdes categories.

Without his C1/D1 he will get a photocard that is valid for 15 years.

Hope this helps.


Thank you Kim that’s very vlear and helpful. What we’re still concerned about though is the conseilleur at ANTS said today he is not allowed to drive until he has the new licence, although if he is stopped he may be lucky if the gendarme is sympathetic. Is there any official clarification about this anywhere ?

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There’s no actual legislation as yes you should have a valid card.

However, column 11 is his driving rights and these never actually expire only his photo or medicals expire, his right to drive doesn’t.

You can go into your nearest Gendarmerie and ask, this is what many people have done, saying my card has expired, I have an application to renew, can I continue to drive, they will probably look at the back of the card and then say yes.

ANTS are not the definitive, the Gendarmerie is.


Great, thank you Kim

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Actually the French paper licence is being discontinued but you have until Jan 2031 to change it.

Edit: My error 2033

Ah well… I’ve got plenty of time to choose a good photo… :wink: :rofl:

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can you provide the link to the official notification about that please?



Doit-on remplacer son permis de conduire rose cartonné par un nouveau modèle ? |

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Says 2033 in article.

Correct, my typing error it should be 2033.

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You’ve got a bit longer, I made a typing error, it should be 2033 … lol

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Of particular note:

You do not have to ask for its replacement, except in case of damage, loss or theft.

I didn’t say you had to replace it now, I said it was being discontinued in 2031 but typing error should be 2033.

Where did I say otherwise?
I was merely pointing out (from the reference you kindly provided) that you don’t have to take the action yourself…

cheers @kim
I suspect that information will be updated nearer 2033… advising all us “rose-holders”… what we need to do… and how…

meanwhile, I’ll keep slapping on the anti-wrinkle cream… ready for my moment of glory in front of the cameras… :rofl: :rofl:

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@Dory_Dickson I fell exactly into the same trap, because of HGV entitlements having expired and I think it might have been me that @graham quoted above, but I was assured by my insurance company that I was entitled to drive but it might be a good thing to renew because as it was it was not valid for ID purposes.

While hesitating what to do I discovered a ‘fully legal’ licence. I had forgotten that I had renewed some years before and then forgotten to destroy the old one, the one which now appeared to be in/out of date. :roll_eyes:

Good point to renew for ID purposes, but not just that, we were refused car hire with the expired licence. The hire company didn’t buy the explanation that the ‘b’ category shows no expiry date.

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