I wanted to share with you my recent dealings with the above while attempting to exchange my UK driving licence for a French one.
Many months ago I noticed that my driving licence photocard had expired in 2013 so felt it was high time to get a French licence. I asked for, and received, some excellent advice from this site and eventually pitched up at the sous-prefecture in August with all my documents (originals and 2 photocopies of each one) and the 2 forms I needed (each with a terrible photo of me attached to it).
It was only then that I was reminded that it couldn't possibly be that simple!! Despite the website telling me that an avis d'impot was one of the documents they would accept as evidence of residence in France it wasn't good enough for the woman hiding behind a thick glass panel. The necessity of the thick glass panel became more obvious to me the longer I spoke with this lady. Having studied the document she said that it was for 2013 and not 2014 so was not acceptable. She then said that because the photocard had expired (not the licence) I would need to have a medical. I tried explaining that it was the photo not the licence that had expired but she wouldn't have it and insisted on the medical. I eventually gave in and she gave me a third form (also requiring a photo??!!) with a much-photocopied and dog-eared form to explain the medical procedure. I asked her to check all the other documents were OK for when I returned with the medical cert and she said they were.
Had the medical at a total rip-off cost of 33€. It took me longer to write the cheque than he spent on the examination. I was there less than 10 minutes. Then I returned to the sous-prefecture with all the correct documents on 28 August. The same lady checked everything and said someone would phone me to come to collect the new licence. So I had to return once again to Castres - a round trip of an hour and a half!! But at least all the documents were OK ... or so I thought.
We now move to last week when I receive a letter saying that I didn't quite manage to include every document required. The sous-prefecture appear to have invented a new one not mentioned on any websites I have looked at! They now want an attestation from the DVLA confirming that the details on my driving licence are correct and ... wait for it ... a translation. Well, I had to laugh! Actually, I didn't. What I did do was shout and swear and rage for about 20 minutes while hubby tried to work out what I was so upset about. HOW CAN IT POSSIBLY TAKE 3 MONTHS FOR THEM TO ASK FOR THIS & WHY WASN'T I TOLD THIS IN AUGUST!
Anyway, on Thursday I sent an email to DVLA telling them what I needed. They responded on Friday morning saying I needed to phone them to request a Certificate of Entitlement and it would cost me £5. I did just that and spoke to a very happy & helpful Welsh lady who took all my details, took my payment and said the certificate would be sent the same day. It arrived this morning.
I am arranging for a translation, another unnecessary 40€ and will let you know if I ever get my French driving licence.