There is not yet a Franco-British agreement on the exchange of diving licenses and the exchange of driving licenses has not been covered at EU level in the new future relations agreement .
A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry’s road traffic section said The connection: “Negotiations must be started quickly with the British authorities; we have no information on the schedule. ”
Under EU rules, immigrants can continue to drive in France with licenses issued by the EU if these remain within their period of validity and as long as they do not commit driving offenses that would require generally the removal of points from a French license. They are asked to make a request for an exchange, especially if the license expires or if they commit a speeding offense or similar.
The right to exchange an EU license is automatic, but for those arriving with licenses from “third country” (non-EU), this only remains valid for one year, during which the person must apply for the exchange – but only if the country that issued the license has a reciprocal trade agreement with France. If this is not the case, the holder must pass a driving test in French to continue driving in France.
Many countries, from Bhutan to Vanuatu, have such an agreement (in the case of the United States, however, some states have and others do not).
Since last year, all license exchange requests have been made via the site of the National Agency for Secured Titles (ANTS), attached to the Ministry of the Interior, however the processing of files is still ensured by the center. CERT based at the prefecture of Nantes.
The British Embassy in Paris says on a Facebook post that it is aware of the situation. “We are in close contact with the French authorities to confirm the arrangements regarding the exchange of driving licenses and will share the updates as soon as we have them,” he said.
The official information site of the French government service-public.fr specifies on its driving license exchange page that: “The rules for driving in France with a British license are being modified or under negotiation” and the page “is being updated”.
At present, therefore, it does not seem possible to apply to exchange a UK license, even if, for example, you have committed a driving offense when this is normally required for UK residents in France.
Assuming the issue is quickly resolved, it is possible – that unless negotiated otherwise – additional red tape might be required for trade, as is usually the case with third country national driving licenses as opposed to those from the EU.
This includes a sworn translation of the driving license and a driving license certificate obtained from the country that issued the license and not older than three months.
The connection asked the Nantes CERT and the Ministry of the Interior if they could confirm that applications filed on the ANTS site by the end of 2020 under the rules of the transition period are still being processed as before.
These changes are in addition to the problems associated with the backlog of license swaps which now last for several years. The reorganization of the CERT at the end of 2019 and the transfer of the initial application process to the ANT website in early 2020 were first reported to be effectively speeding up this operation, but the Covid-19 crisis then followed. seemed to cause new problems last year.
Was there a warning that trades would not be possible in January 2021?
Not explicitly, but the French government’s Brexit news site Brexit.gouv.fr has said since at least November last year that “if you have not exchanged your UK license at the end of the Brexit transition [December 31, 2020 – during which EU rules continued to apply to UK nationals] your British driving license will be recognized in France for one year but you will have to request to exchange it during this period if a reciprocity agreement is concluded between France and the United Kingdom ”.
The road safety section said The connection in December, it was necessary to rely on the wording of the Brexit site, adding: “the British who already live in France on December 31, 2020 will become on January 1, 2021, citizens of third countries and common law will be applied to them, this is to say. recognition of their license for one year from January 1, 2021 and possible exchange thereafter.
At this point, the service has not been able to say whether a section on driving license swaps could be included in the overall Brexit deal, stating that “negotiations are ongoing”. As we reported before Christmas in the January edition of The connection, no Franco-British bilateral agreement on the exchange was in place at the end of last year.
UK driving licenses still valid for Brits in 2021
UK license exchange rules are still unclear – there is no France / UK agreement on driving license exchange