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Is your driving licence valid to drive abroad this summer?

If you are a resident in France and have a French driving licence, you may be planning to drive abroad this summer. If so, it might be a good idea to double check for any restrictions and make sure you are legal to drive abroad. For example if you plan to drive on holiday in another European Economic Area (EEA), that is one thing, but if you plan to drive outside the EEA, other rules could apply.

According to Service-public.fr you are fine to drive within the EEA on holiday with your full French licence (or any other European licence). You must have the actual full licence with you, and not just an examination certificate though.

However, if you want to drive on holiday outside the EEA you may be required in certain countries to also have an international driving permit (IDP), or even apply for another driving licence for that country! Your French licence might be OK for a temporary period, but it might have to be accompanied by an international permit, which is the official translation of your French licence. You must request this before you leave France. Note that in some countries, car rental companies will ONLY accept the International Driving Permit, which is why it is so important to get one before you leave. You can check with the Embassy or Consulate of your destination country of the driving licence requirements.

To get an international driving permit in France is relatively simple and can be obtained from your local Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture. It can be done either by going in person, or in some cases, you can apply online and avoid a trip to the Préfecture. For the contact details and procedure to get one, just type in your postcode here under Démarches. Contact details can also be found on our Local Administration page

Further information on getting this licence can be found in our Driving licence section of the How to Pages.

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