It’s a fast changing world that is totally unhelpful to anyone who can’t keep up.
Renewing a UK passport has become virtually impossible for anyone who doesn’t have a computer and credit card. But having said that, it is a reasonably uncomplicated online procedure. Renewing a French Permis de Conduire is not so simple as I recently discovered. So here is a quick guide. If you can read to the bottom without your head exploding, you are in with a chance!
Renewing a Permis de Conduire.
If you are fortunate enough to have an old style pink Permis de Conduire, treasure it. It will still be valid until 2033.
However, if you lose your licence or have it taken away because of driving offences, you may have no choice but to go plastic.
The new plastic, credit card style Permis have different rules and at most are only valid for 15 years, but in some cases only 5 years. Not quite sure why some need renewing so frequently, but the shorter validity may have something to do with the age or medical history of the driver.
An English neighbour asked us for help in renewing hers. You can still download the paper application form cerfa No. 14882, which is fairly easy to complete and post. But as I am supposed to be “good with computers” I thought I would have a go at doing it online. The place to go is Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS) - htpps://permisdeconduire.ants.gouv.fr
Before doing anything else you must create an ANTS account, a fairly straightforward process. You need to fill in a few personal details and choose a sufficiently secure password. The usual rules about capitals, numerals and special characters apply, so make sure you make a note of it. They will then send you a confirmatory email that includes your “identifiant” that you will need to log in.
Next you are going to need some documentation. The most interesting part of the process is creating a photo and signature. The way to do this is to visit a specially equipped photobooth that will not only take your picture, but also has a large tablet for you to sign your name with your fingertip. The ANTS site has a helpful engine that will locate nearby places that have this facility based on your postcode. Following the instructions in the photobooth, you will get back a card with four mug shots that might come in handy if you are applying for any other documents, but the only thing you need for the present application is a 22 character code that is printed on the top right of the card. When you enter this in your online application it will give ANTS access to your picture and signature in digital form. The photo booth is a bit intimidating, because it doesn’t give you much help until you insert your 4€, but if you then tell it you want photos for a driving licence, it will guide you through the process step by step and you can choose your preferred language for the instructions. You then have to wait at least 24 hours to allow time for your picture to be uploaded to the datebase. The code consists of letters and numbers and as the letters are all upper case, I hit “Caps Lock” before entering it, though that may not actually be necessary.
The other things you will need are copies of an identity document (Passport if you are English) proof of your address of residence (we used Avis d’Impots but I guess any utilities bill would do) and both sides of your old permis. Those you will need to upload as .jpeg files from your computer. I guess it is assumed that everyone had a scanner, but you might get away with good quality photos. As you go through the seven steps of completing and submitting the form, buttons at the top of the page turn pink as each stage is successfully completed. Make sure to check the box to confirm that you understand the penalties for making a false declaration before you finally submit the application.
If you get disconnected at any stage you won’t lose everything you have already entered so don’t try to start the application over again, it won’t let you. But you can log back in and click on Mon Permis de Conduire and continue from where you left off.
Well that’s it. I suppose it makes it easier for them because the applicant does most of the work. The main advantage for the user is that it checks you through every stage, so you are less likely to get something wrong or fail to send some vital document.
If you want to try it, think of it as a bit of fun, a computer game where, having completed all the stages successfully, you get a shiny new Permis as a reward.
Oh, I almost forgot, you are probably going to need a box of tissues when you see your new identy photo!