Hi all, just need to pick a few brains out there …
You say "But there's a risk: in theory your driver's license is invalid and..." Are you suggesting that Sandra's UK licence is not valid here?
Moving to another country
If you move to another country, you should check with the driving licence authorities there for information about driving and exchange of licences. You don't need to notify DVLA of a change of address when moving to live abroad.
French law states
Le permis de conduire français est reconnu par convention dans tous les Etats membres de l'Union européenne (UE) ou de l'Espace économique européen (EEE). Par conséquent, vous pourrez circuler dans ces pays avec votre seul permis de conduire français et ce, quelle que soit la durée de votre séjour. Depuis le 1er juillet 1996, l'échange du permis français en permis local n'est plus obligatoire.
So an EU issued licence is valid in France but you should exchange it if told to. (I have not yet been advised to despite the points!)
As it is I had UK, then German and then back to UK, so went from London when we had the old book things to Bonn with their equivalent and then to Cardiff and the card version with paper document. What I learned at the DVLA is that all of the EU's offices are linked with a central base in Brussels. By going to Cardiff with all my photographs signed on the back and so on I was able to go there at 1030 and go back to collect my new licence before 1500. In the process, they told me as part of the exchange, my German licence was annulled in Bonn electronically and Brussels updated. If that is the case then claims of having two licences, multiple licences and so on are what are known in vernacular as 'porkies'.
that's what I presumed too Shirley and so haven't tried to get a UK one even though I've lost a few points from my French one...!
Zut alors Miles! Who would do such a thing?! :)
I believe there is a 6 week limit in the UK, I got a fine last month for an offence in October... that sucked.
On a slightly different tack, I have heard of people ordering a new UK license as theirs had been 'lost'. Then using the 'lost' one to apply for a French one, and end up with both. Very naughty.
I have a spanish license where points get taken away instead of being added, I hope they don't mix that system up if I should exchange it :P
This morning (20 March) I received an Amende Forfaitaire Majoree. This is a fine of 375 Euros, or 300 Euros if I pay promptly.
It relates to a speeding offence committed on 9 December 2011, which would have cost me only 90 Euros - had I known anything about it.
The document I received today says that the higher fine applies because I failed to pay anything when sent an Avis de contravention back in December. BUT HONESTLY, I NEVER RECEIVED ANY SUCH AVIS DE CONTRAVENTION.
I have paid the full 375 Euros and am sending a letter begging them to reconsider. But my position is not strong because it is never possible to prove that something did NOT happen!
It feels very kafkaesque.
I don't dispute the speeding offence. Had I been informed of it, I would have paid instantly. My problem is that I was never informed of it; and now I am being fined for ignoring an avis that I have never received.
Has anyone found themselves in this crazy situation? If so, what happened??
I'm saying what I said because the "it's because I'm foreign" card gets played just as much as the gay card, and the black card. Chances are, if you are stopped for an infraction, it is more than likely because you have committed an offence, not because you are foreign.
As for taking offence, I'm sure there are French people, police, especially, that might just be ticked off with your comment "Does anyone think though, that they are this zealous with the french - or do they just like persecuting 'foreigners'?"
I suppose if you want to be sure beyond doubt that you were below the limit.... then never break the limit. Proving that to someone who was holding a speed camera that says otherwise might be more difficult.
I know what you're saying Finn and I agree, the couple of times I got caught at 96 I was driving home after a very long day thinking about 101 things apart from the radar that I drive past all the time...! Other traps have been notoriously devious here : a section where there are two lanes so you can overtake but it's still 90kmh, a gendarme in the hedge and his mates 3 km further down the road stopping almost every car!
Yes there's not a lot being done about the real problems, they're just out to collect the money now :-(
ah Finn - you're obviuosly a lot more controlled than most of us here in the aveyron! ;-)
stories like this are legion. we moved here from merely minutes drive from dvla's hq. we could pop in when, for instance, using the nearby tesco superstore in llansamet, so no big deal for us. my wife was 'compelled' to turn in her swiss licence for a uk one for some spurious reason or other. they created the need to do so then furthermore created the complications the issue of the replacement then entailed!
that office is consistently full of people who have travelled the length of the uk and perhaps beyond with grievances that are not dealt with in writing or on the phone, so what chance does one have from here in all reality? my pink card is valid until the end-ish of 2018 but to be honest I care neither way. the small eu card is convenient, but since one is obliged to also carry the paper licence at the end of the day it is no end to all and be all people imagine it to be. when i have had the odd few spot checks the look of potential glee when the real licence is demanded goes cold when i immediately produce it with all else. too many people fail to do that but, as i have also heard, plenty of people also leave the french licence at home in case it is lost or stolen!
I had to surrender my UK driving licence for a French licence because I had one of the small, pink, identity cards which the DVLA introduced several years ago as an addition to the familiar, green document that is the UK driving licence, which has no id photo.
They have never required everyone to apply for one of the new identity cards. Obviously,they are rolling them out with new drivers. However, you are only required to apply for an identity card when you submit your licence to the DVLA to register a change in details or circumstances e.g. address etc. So, many people still do not have an identity card as part of their UK driving licence. However, unlike the old green part of the licence, which lasts until you are seventy, the identity card is only valid for ten years. My identity card was due to expire and because I am now resident in France and do not have an English address, the DVLA would not renew it. Although, the French authorities were perfectly happy with me driving on the old green part of my driving licence (my Sous-Prefecture confirmed this for me), technically I think I would be breaking UK Traffic Laws driving with an out of date identity card in the UK.
I went down to Arras, my Departmental office, with the correct documentation, surrendered my UK licence and was issued with my French licence in ten minutes with no charge. The DVLA wanted twenty-five pounds plus a photo to renew my identity card, if I remember correctly. About a year later, I got a letter forwarded to me from the DVLA reminding me that I had not renewed my identity card and also warned me of the penalties for not doing so, even though they had refused to renew it a year before!
I can't see the downside of having a French driving licence since the full UK licence has to be renewed at seventy at a cost and then onwards every three years at further cost and, anyway, the DVLA aren't going to renew my licence, pink, green or sky blue, when that time comes because I don't have a UK address!
There is a margine of error that they take off too - basically it's just part of life here, everyone I know has been caught at least once (apart from father in law who only ever drives his tractor) and I'm not talking about boy racers! The French state costs a lot and this is just one more way of funding it. Some of mine have been for 91 (reduced from 96 kmh) in a 90 - too busy with a young family and us both working full time to try and contest and I wouldn't anyway because I haven't got a leg to stand on! and I think foreigners get off far more than the french do as no one I know (french friends and family) has ever got off the way many people here have! as you say, when in Rome...
Yup, my PV's were also in French car, French licence, don't think the speed camera is at all racist. To be honest, it's the foreigners who tend to be more likely to get away with it as they are harder to find. I'm just annoyed that both my speeding fines were since I changd to a French licence (I won't bore folks with why I changed to a French one) as after about 25 years without any points I have managed to collect 2 in less than 6months!
I blame my lovely new car that goes too fast without me noticing - mind you it is a Peugeot, perhaps it doesn't like being English owned :-)
Shirley, if you walk through life in France with the "they persecute me because I'm foreign" attitude, life must be a complete misery. Truth be told, life is a struggle of paperwork, bureaucracy, and time spent waiting for replies for French and expats alike.
As far as errors with the system goes, I know people who will fight tooth and nail to disprove the radar, yet sneer because they "were only 5kph over" on another day. Either you broke the limit, or didn't, if you regurlarly speed, pay the fine. If you honestly never break the speed limit, and think there is some mistake, contest. If only people could live life with simple logic.
Shirley, not at all, all my pv have been whilst driving LHD french cars and my OH, who is french, has had as many tickets as me. As for the rest of the family and friends (all french) we're all in the same boat - all been fined and no one bothers contesting it. I've been caught in well set-up traps where there are a queue of cars being fined (well hidden off the main road of course) and not a single foreign car in sight.
...all my experiences of fines and speeding tickets have been whilst driving a French registered car - so no...I don't think that they are targeting foreigners...why would you think that? There aren't many French people I know who contest knowing what a nightmare situation that can cause. The only one I know said he wasn't driving and put the name of an English mate instead so that he didn't lose any points!
Sorry to hear that Tracy, I managed to avoid many fines for a number of years as they were either speed cameras or mobile ones where the gendarmes just took the money, told me I had to change my licence but didn't follow it up, until I got an official letter with a time and date for an "interview" at the local gendarmerie - suffice to say was nicely persuaded to change and now have my french permis minus a few points :-(
Regrettably I have just received another speeding fine in the post this morning and on the reverse side, paragraphe 4 says that if the mention "le permis de conduire doit etre échangé" appears on the front page then you must change your EU licence. Ergo, if the avis doesn't mention it, then you don't have to change. The word of the Gendarme while caught on the spot, I'm sure, is another matter altogether.
I'm absolutely steaming though, apparently I was doing 58km in a 50km zone and the fine is 90€, ouch! and that's if I pay it immediately.