International Driving Licence

Has anybody any experience of applying for an IDL? Do you have to have a French licence , or can you get one with your EU licence? (I have a German licence, so don’t have to get it changed to a French one).

I have a UK licence and was able to get an IDL here via the ANTS site.


Not sure to whom you are addressing this, James. Brits in France do not need to swap to a French licence… just like you don’t need to…

Are you thinking of Brits in Britain ???.. if not, what scenario are you thinking about ??

Thanks Timothy! I’ll try it.
Sorry Stella, wasn’t very clear.
I want to hire a car in Cuba and/or Thailand, and a national driving licence, whether British, German, or French, isn’t enough, apparently. I need an IDL. I know a French person can get one here, but what if you don’t (yet) have a French licence? Can you get one from the French authorities with an EU licence?

Yes, and I got one without problem on the link that Tim provided based on my UK licence, so I imagine a German licence would be accepted as well. Useful for travelling outside France. Took about 2 weeks to arrive.

To get one in the UK you would have to travel back to the UK and go to a post office. They don’t do it online.


Great! Thanks.

In the same situation, and your question is spot on timing wise, as I always thought I might need a FR driving licence to apply for an IDL issued by the French authorities.

Excellent, was wondering about the same thing too.

For how long is this license valid?

French Permis International is valid for 3 years.

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The gendarmes asks me every time I get stopped to change to a French license so you say I don’t have to??

Not at the moment ,unless you get penalty points. However this will change after December 2020. At the moment there is a huge backlog, so no point even applying but they say they will bring something in to make it easier this year.

This is UK gov’t info
Driving licence rules will stay the same until 31 December 2020.

Currently, because of considerable delays in processing requests to exchange overseas driving licences for French ones, we recommend you do not seek to exchange your British driving licence for a French one. However you should proceed with your request if your licence:

  • has been lost or stolen
  • is expiring shortly (within the next 6 months). This includes the expiry of your entitlement or photo card
  • needs to be amended to include a/several new driving categories, such as to be able to drive different vehicles
  • needs to be exchanged because you committed an infraction to the French Highway Code resulting in point deductions, a suspension of your right to drive or a cancellation of your driving licence

Centre d’Expertise et de Ressources des Titres (CERT) is being reorganised to deal with the backlog with delays which is currently at 8 to 12 months.

If you are in the process of exchanging your UK licence via CERT, do not try to renew in parallel with DVLA because this will invalidate your CERT application. Applications in the UK with a French address cannot be processed.

Im not from the uk still a eu citizen a don’t have to?

No, not unless you have penalty points.

Why not check on your own country’s webpages if you cannot see the answer on the French gov sites concerning eu folk … … if the gendarmes have been telling you to change to a French licence there may be a reason we do not know about… :thinking:

I Did check i thought a forums like this was for asking question I can be wrong

Martin… on the forum… we cannot know why the gendarmes have suggested you change your driving licence… :thinking: :roll_eyes:

we can only tell you what we know… and we know what the French have told the Brits…

We can and have suggested where you might look to find out more…if you are still unable to find out what you want to know… I suggest you ask at your local Gendarmerie… :hugs:

Her nobody whant too speak to to the gendarmes if they don’t need to their are not really well liked here it came up this summer when I was at a French party no one there actually understand what they are for now days they don’t actually do anything more then traffic stops and they are not really friendly and can be really racist ore condescending too expats

Good question. I don’t have an answer but I need an answer as well. I have only a US Driver’s license. I suspect I will need to obtain a French license as I will be staying for at least one year. Thank you for any feedback.

Up to a year is ok on US licence, but you might find getting an international driving permit helps smooths discussion if you are stopped. Easy to get and usually free.