Reader’s Question: Is my UK driving license still legal in France?

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Reader's Question: Is my UK driving license still legal in France?


Question: I keep reading about these issues with UK driving licenses and now I’m worried – is my UK license invalid or can I still drive in France?
The saga of exchanging British driving licenses for French people has been long and painful, even by Brexit standards. But the current situation is that Brits living in France have to exchange their license for a French license before the end of the year – except that no exchange requests are currently being accepted as the UK and France are not have so far failed to achieve reciprocity. agree on this.

So what does this mean if you are in France and need to drive?

If you are a tourist or visitor this does not apply to you – visitors to France can continue to use their UK license and do not need an international driving license.

If you are a permanent resident in France you will need to exchange for a French license, but the French authorities have agreed to continue to recognize UK licenses until December 31, 2021, so you can continue driving legally for now.

If your UK license has expired or is about to expire then you have a problem. UK licenses expire once the holder turns 70, while people with certain medical conditions have to renew their license regularly and these people are caught in an impossible situation – they cannot renew their license in the UK as they They do not live there and they cannot exchange it for French because applications are not currently accepted. The local spoke to people, mostly elderly, now stranded in rural France without a driver’s license. We have asked the UK authorities what they are advising their nationals in this situation, but have received no indication.

If you have already exchanged your license for a French then all is well, it is not necessary to take other measures. Many UK nationals residing in France before 2018 made the exchange, but from 2018 applications were frequently returned and since 2019 UK license holders have been blocked from exchanging their license for a French license, unless that they do not meet certain criteria.

So what can UK driving license holders do now?

There are really only two options: wait and hope that the UK and French governments come to an agreement (negotiations are apparently underway) or get a French driver’s license.

The French driving test is complicated, involving both theoretical and practical testing and also expensive – a number of lessons are compulsory even for experienced drivers and the total cost of tests and lessons is on average over 1000 €.

If you choose to wait, you can sign this petition in the meantime, it calls on the UK government to break the deadlock and strike a deal.

READ ALSO Four years and € 1,800 – pass the French driving license as a foreigner

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