How To Exchange a Driving Licence

Find out the exact steps to follow if you have to (or would like to) exchange your foreign driving licence...

In September 2017 changes were made to the application procedure for exchanging Foreign Driver’s Licences obtained in an EU /EEA country. Although it is not a requirement for EU/EEA licence holders to exchange their licence for a French one, applications for the exchange of an EU/EEA driving licence can now only be made by post.

Changes have also been made for International Driving Permits; applications are also only made by post.

However, applications to exchange non-EU licences must still be made in person at the foreign service desk of the prefecture.

The deadline for exchanging a licence depends on nationality and meeting certain conditions set out by the French Authorities.

Service Public has details on:

Applications to exchange an EU /EEA driving licence should be sent by post to:

  • The National Permit Exchange and Permits Department Prefecture of the Loire-Atlantique CERT PCI
    6 quay Ceineray
    BP 33515 44035 Nantes Cedex 1

Paris residents

Paris residents should contact the Resource Center for Foreign Driving Permit Exchange and International Driving Permits: Prefecture of Police of Paris DPG / SDCLP Resource Center for Foreign Driving Permit Exchange and International Driving Permits (Crepic) 1 bis rue de Lutèce 75 195 Paris Cedex 04.

When submitting an application to exchange a driving licence the following documents are required:

  • Cerfa Form 14879 * 01 Completed, dated and signed
  • Cerfa Form n° 14948 * 01 reference 06 must be printed in colour, completed, dated and signed
  • 1 double-sided colour copy of the driver's license to be exchanged (and, if necessary, an official translation)
  • proof of identity (1 copy)
  • proof of residence (1 copy)
  • 1 double-sided copy:
    • Side 1: proof of your residence in France for at least 6 months (for example: rental contract, employment contract, proof of social security, tax notice ...) if you are European (unless you are French), Swiss or Monegasque
    • Sides 2: a copy of your residence permit or the Ofii stamp affixed to your passport if you are not European
  • 3 photos (2 on the 2 cerfa forms)
  • if you live in the departments Corse du Sud, Haute-Corse, Réunion, Guyana, Martinique, Mayotte, the amount of the regional tax by check payable to the regisseur des recettes
  • 1 self addressed envelope (50 g "ready to mail" format)
Non-EU licence holders should contact the prefecture to verify if they need additional documents before sending the application. Certain licence categories in France require a medical visit. When this is the case, it is also required in the exchange of a foreign licence for a French one.

  • If the licence was issued in the licence holder's maiden name, proof of married name is required (supply birth and marriage certificates and passport).
  • For UK licence holders, some prefectures may request a certificate of entitlement from the DVLA if the driver is lacking either part of their UK licence (the photocard or the paper counterpart), if the licence has expired, or if it has been lost or stolen. It can be obtained by calling DVLA on +44 (0)1792 782 341.
  • Some prefectures also request a copy of the driver's birth certificate

Your driving licence will be exchanged for one in the equivalent category. The exchange of an EU licence for a French one is free in most parts of France. 

  • Be aware that it can many weeks for the French licence to be issued.
  • A towing permit issued on some licences may not be included in the new French licence.

Once you get your new French driving licence it is valid for 15 years.

Exchanging professional licences

Professional drivers of busses,  taxis, light and heavy goods vehicles and haulage vehicles (LGV and HGV - those other than standard A and B category) with licences issued by an EU member state are entitled to exchange the licence for the equivalent French one. However, be aware that the Préfecture may require a letter specifying the qualifying category. A home-country consulate or French employer can be consulted and should be able to provide the appropriate information for the Préfecture if necessary. A medical certificate is also required when applying for the exchange. In some cases there are age restrictions for professional licences: a minimum age of 21 years and maximum of 60 years.