Swapping licence for a French one

Then saga continues…

Having submitted a postal request to exchange my license last year it was returned six months later informing me that a new online system was coming soon and I should use that.

So, months and months ago I did. I added all the documents required and hit enter. Now I’ve received a text telling me my dossier incomplete. Two areas of my submission are highlighted in red, neither of which I understand.

The first says I must submit proof that I have been living here for more than six months so I submitted one of the documents they specify as proof, a previous years tax assessment. It also says that the document I submitted is valid. Which is I wonder, valid or invalid?

(update, I think I may have twigged it, these cretins have taken so long that they need a tax assessment for 2019, when I submitted the bloody thing it was for 2018. So my Impots document was both valid and invalid when they got around to looking at my application - FFS).

The second is more tricky and seems to me to be a new requirement.

Have just missed this? Are these attestations even available?

That’s a new requirement, zut alors. I will need to swap my Finnish license for a French one before the expiry date (my 70th birthday anniversary).

I checked with the corresponding authority in Finland, and yes, I can order that kind of “attestation” online and receive it as a PDF file (in Finnish, Swedish or English). So translation to French will be needed (extra cost!)

Thanks for the heads-up !

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Is this the so called “paper part” of the licence or am I so out of date on this issue (got our FR DLs yonks ago on getting here…) :slightly_smiling_face:
Some sort of attestation which acknowledges your right to a licence.

I think this is a Certificate of Entitlement which you can get from the DVLA. Best to phone them and explain that you need it to exchange your UK driving licence for a French one. Not sure if you need to get it translated these days, you certainly did back in the day when the Prefectures dealt with this sort of thing.
Bon courage!
Izzy x

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Thanks Irene. Did you actually do it?

I uploaded all the required docs Graham which were validated before I could even submit the application. Personally I think this is total bullshit. Having a licence in your possession is sufficient proof you are not banned or whatever to a cop that stops you. Why should some cretins in ANTS need something else. I don’t often get really pissed off but two years of trying to get this stupid formality done has managed to do it.

BTW the notice says consulate or Embassy. Are they ffing mad? This is swapping one EU licence, in this case an Irish one, for another. (If i was trying it on with my expired US, Dubai or UK licences I could understand it).

I went through the process with a friend and it was very slow and painful. From what I’ve read here I don’t think it’s any less so these days despite the new system.
Izzy x

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I couldn’t agree more Izzy. Given the high death rate (still) on French roads, it is imperative that the licensing system is robust.

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Much as I am a francophile the standard of driving in my neck of the woods is appalling. On the phone, texting, cutting corners and driving over the “white line”. Driving standards are poor at best and that’s why the death rate is high. It’s not because citizens from other countries (who may well have lower RTA deaths) have applied for licences here while banned. This is bullshit. PLUS, they want a translation, of an EU license where all categories are multilingual. It’s double BS.

I’m still hopping mad… the requirements to swap a French licence to an Irish one are…

Your completed application form must be accompanied by the following:

  • Your driving licence. If your driving licence is lost or expired, you need a letter of entitlement from the licensing authority in the state that issued your licence
  • A Driving Licence Medical Report Form may be required (see below)
  • A Driving Licence Eyesight Report Form may be required (see below)
  • The appropriate fee - see Rates above

I know you don’t want to hear this John, but, in 1999 I was told to swap instantly, this because I had been offered a job driving HGVs. It was all done and dusted in one day at the sub-prefecture, along with my CdS.

However, a word of warning. If you are required to surrender your Irish licence in exchange, make sure to check with the Irish version of Swansea later to make sure that they have recieved it. The French are supposed to send them back.

Some 15 years after my swap I was told by Devon and Cornwall police that I didn’t have a valid licence, despite showing them my French one. I was detained at the roadside in the middle of the night for over half an hour before they got their brains into gear and sent me on my way.

The reason was that the French had not sent back my UK licence and, when I passed the age of 70 without a renewal application, Swansea let it lapse. In their eyes I was licenceless.

I don’t know if a similar rule applies in Ireland, but worth knowing nonetheless. I hope your exchange goes well.

Thanks David, good advice. I’d have absolutely no confidence in the Irish National Driving Licence Service. If it can be screwed up then they’ll screw it up. The Irish public sector has a long history of benign incompetence but they tends to be friendly which compensates a bit.

I have to call them today - I wonder what hoops they’ll put me through.

The Irish version?

Don’t tell me about it, I know full well, Back during the Troubles I was driving a load of doors from NE England to Dublin and was stopped at the border and turned back for not having a permit. I spent most of the day tooing and froing between there and Newry (including being allowed through on the 1st visit to park but refused by the guard to re-enter NI ‘because I didn’t have export docs’:astonished:

After a while he relented and the final arrangement was for me to drop the trailer for an Irish haulier to come from Dublin, take it back and unload it while I ‘bounced’ tractor only back via Scotland to Holyhead, then ferry to Dun Loaghaire, into Dublin, collect my now empty trailer reload it and back via the north again.

So, having been told that plan, I arrived back at the border, explained it to the customs who, like me, thought it was the craziest thing they had ever heard of, and let me through without the permit and a warning, ‘don’t let it happen again’.

I arrived at the Dundalk clearing office at 5.10pm to be told by the man I was too late, they closed at 5. I pointed out that he was still here, and he replied ‘ah, I am here for the latecomers’. ‘But I am a latecomer’ I protested’. ‘No’ he said ‘latecomers have to book in advance’. So I said jokingly’ if I go out the door and ring you from that phone box there, can I book in as latecomer?’ ‘To be sure you can’ was the reply, ‘but that would be stupid, just request it now’. Which I did and he promptly stamped my papers.

I thanked him for being so flexible and made for the door. ‘Just a minute sir, you have forgotten to pay’. Oh, here we go, I thought, much used to various European border practices, ‘OK, how much?’ ‘2 shillings sir’ was the reply, and I got a receipt too. :laughing:

Sorry to go on but I have a great store of Irish stories and have such a great regard for the country and its people. I would emigrate there in an instant if it wasn’t for the weather. :slightly_smiling_face:


It’s already started… due to Corona virus… you are 58th in the queue :crazy_face:

Yes, and Bojo feels comfortable with the reintroduction of a border.

After a 43 minute wait on the phone and fifteen quid I now have a bit of paper that says exactly what my licence says. The categories and expiry dates are exactly the same as on the licence but that also want a translation of the letter by a registered translator.

In the words of Reggie Perin’s boss, the great CJ, “I didn’t get where I am today without recognising when somebody’s takin the piss”.


Yes, just as well to check that, I never noticed for years that they had taken away my big bike entitlement but given me a PSV one in exchange.

As motorbiking was only my entry into mechanical transport as a lad and not a destination of choice, I wasn’t too bothered. :laughing:

Right, paper now sent off for a (€39) translation of what is already number coded on licence to accommodate all EU languages.