French driving licence

Has anyone swapped their UK licence for a French one I am just filling out the forms and am a little confused as to do I need a medical? And what else do I need to take with me to exchange the UK one

Yes i've seen it. Others have already suggested that so hope it will be implemented.

Absolutely Mandy! A 'like' button, there's a thread by James Higginson to ask us if/how we might like the site to change :D

LOL Steve! :D

Not sure if your reply was for me or not Gerald. I was saying wow to Erics answer! If someone asks a question on SFN , not knowing the french system, Joseph, who I noticed was wearing glasses, may not have known there would be several different answers relevant to changing his Licence.

If not for me, just answering what docs we had to take plus additional info. Having been involved with 4 different depts., over the years since 2001, 3 of them in last 2 yrs, I’m certainly aware they do things differently in France in general. but not specific detail till made aware of it, which can be frustrating.

my final word is…Suggestion!

If members looking for specific answers re beaurocratic requirements, said what department they were in or moving to, it would cut down the number of replies, then there’d be no problem for anyone would there and no ‘removed replies’ when i clicked on link in my email!

So you have seen me on the roads around Sornac then…

Wow, we had to take our birth certificate copies, passports and supply exact, not passport size Photos, which are marginally different size, plus official, translated and attested copy of the British licenses wording. we chose to change to french so that at age 70 we would not have to return to UK and take another test to get licences renewed.

As for the medical aspect, my husband had had a triple bypass here a couple of years before before we changed the licences, so for licence, no medical, no need to mention the op, but you are supposed to declare if you wear glasses, presumably for driving! we did all this at a herault sous-prefecture and it took about 1 month to be told our licences were ready for collection, we had to take Uk ones with us which they kept.

Also if you have points put on your licence here (rather taken off, they start from 20 I think and deduct for an infraction of code de la route in some cases) if your licence is a UK one, they will insist you change it for a French one, so they can refer to points, if you lose any)

Yes ive learnt alot about french driving licences since Ive been here. I dont even know and cant make out if any will have been marked on my licence, if I retrieve it, Because I have to now from end June within 6 months, take a 2 day Code de la Route course (160-200€) at an approved centre, and not just a driving school’s room for learner drivers, to satisfy the court as part of my penalty. I have till end of December but my knowledge or ability to demonstrate the whole or much of the Code ‘in french’ may be beyond me! If I was doing it in UK, not a problem! When i have the certificate to show ive done the course, i just have to send it to the court and hey presto ill be able to have my licence back, anyone can collect it with a letter of authorisation from me! Fortunately my taxi driver goes to Laval in the Mayenne dept., on business, we both live in the Sarthe and the court gave me a dispensation to take the course here in Le mans, So the court procurators are not all bad!

I’d love nothing more than to get my confidence and independence back! Sorry to be wet blanket, just relating my experiences here, whether I’m a good or bad driver, which is all relevant to French license and penalty repercussions in my personal experience. Forewarned is forearmed!

Just carry on as you always have, I’m sure you will fit in fine!

Thanks Mike, never thought of that, I do have a hgv 7:1/2 ton. licence so will I be ok without the medical?

Ditto for cycling where I've hardly ever been threatened by a car or had my space taken away (it's actually law, a better law than in the uk).

You're quite right John and I was aware as I was typing, I just couldn't work it into the joke

Yep, that is France, it is where you live and they do things differently to the way they do things in the UK. What is the problem ?

Never trust a french driver who says in his statement to police, from a distance of 30-40 metres, he didnt see the other vehicle till he swerved to avoid it, but then hit it. Lots on here know all circumstances from before, which ultimately I accepted were my fault, I was stationary (emergency stop) which police and court took to mean parked, i was later informed, and was penalised, but if I saw him from same distance and he admits he did NOT see me, why not penalised? No I certainly dont trust him or french drivers in supermarket car parks here. In UK look how many foreign lorry drivers cause motorway accidents also!

Give me French drivers any day. When motorcycling it’s great to be on a road where car drivers are aware that you exist.


In answer to your question I am pretty sure that you only need a medical if you need to tow ( either a trailer or caravan ) hope this helps


Well the deed is done I have been informed if they need anything else they will email me , and it takes about 1month for the licence to arrive, no money has parted, and don’t know how much it will cost but hey that’s France for you, I must start practicing the bad driving from now on in,

Also reversing around roundabouts

Ha ha! We need a like button on this site!

Well worth doing though as you earn the right to park on roundabouts, stop in the middle of a narrow street for a chat, nudge other cars along to make the parking space bigger. (tailgating, text and drive is optional)

My wife changed her licence a couple of years ago in Dept 59 (Nord), at the Sous prefecture de Cambrai. It was simplicity itself, with a very helpful lady. My wife produced her Passport and a Utility Bill. They issued to her on the spot a "Temporary" Licence, and within 14 days they sent a text to say that her new licence was ready for collection.

Hello Joseph

I went through this nightmare process last year and used this forum to vent my frustration. I suggest you only attempt to change your licence if you absolutely have to! Here is the link to the discussion I started. It's not very long and may help you.

Also, have you read the information on the Service Public website? I attach the link below. It's in French but it's very precise about what documents you need.

However, as I discovered, each Prefecture seems to have their own rules and I would suggest you either phone, or go, to ask them exactly what they require otherwise you could have a wasted journey or two.

Good luck.