French Driving Licences
Find out about getting a French driving licence and the different categories of driving licence in France...
The minimum driving age is 18 for most categories of vehicles. You can take the practical driving test for cars at 17 and a half, but may not drive alone on the roads until you are 18. Note that you must be resident in France in order to pass a driving test, whether it is for cars or motorbikes.
For information on licences for motorbikes and scooters, see the article on Motorbikes and scooters in France.
The licence B French driving permit allows you to drive a vehicle with a maximum weight of 3,5 tons, which seats no more than nine people. This includes standard passenger cars, people carriers and minibuses. Holders of licence B may tow a trailer with a maximum weight of 750 Kg (or at least not heavier than the towing car) with a total weight of 3,5 tons.
A new French driving licence starts off with a capital of six points. After the first, second and third year of driving without any incidents, two additional points are added to the licence, leaving a total of 12 points at the end of the third year.
How to get a driver's licence in France
To learn to drive in France you must be at least 17 years old, or 15 if certain criteria are met. Foreigners must have been living in France for at least six months before they can apply. If you are applying for your first driving licence, or need to pass the French driving test if your foreign licence can’t be exchanged for a French one, here are the steps you will need to follow:
If you were born after 1988, you need a certificate proving that you have passed the ASSR 2 or ASR, before starting any of the process described below. These are road safety tests that are generally passed at high school in France. If you don’t have either of these test certificates, then you can enrol to take them at the local GRETA or Town Hall.
Service Public explains in detail what you need to do to get the ASSR 2 or ASR; however, if you have lost these certificates, you can make a ‘declaration d’honneur’, a letter stating that you successfully passed these, with a date and address of where the tests were taken.
How to get a French provisional driving permit
The next step is to apply for a provisional driving permit through the official website ANTS - Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés. Alternatively, you can enrol in a local driving school, who will do this for you, probably an easier option. In both cases you will need the following documents
- Proof of identity and that of a parent if you are under 18
- Proof of address, for example a recent utility bill
- Two recent identity photos
- A medical certificate may be requested if you have a disability (cerfa form n°14880*02 will need to be filled in)
- Foreigners will need to provide proof that they have been resident in France for at least 6 months, and a valid residence permit, for non-EU citizens
The Service Public website also has details on how to apply for a learners permit.
A category AM licence, available for persons over 14 years old, is necessary, and is available after participating in a seven-hour training course. A moped or scooter up to 50cc must be registered and must display the proof of insurance certificate.
Voitures sans permis
Microcars (also known as voiturettes or quadricycles) require an AM category licence. This is available after a seven-hour training course to drivers over 14 years old. Microcars have:
- a maximum of two seats, an engine size up to 50cc (petrol engines)
- a maximum power of 1 KW (electric cars) or 4 KW (other forms of propulsion, including diesel)
- a maximum speed of 45 Km/h, a maximum unladen kerb weight of 350 Kg
- a maximum load capacity of 200 Kg
Note that holders of driving licences from any category can drive vehicles falling under the AM category.
Motorbikes of 50cc to 125cc require an A1 licence, obtainable from the age of 16. All B licence holders must complete a seven-hour course before being allowed to drive a motorbike of 50cc to 125cc, or a three wheeled motor tricycle over 50cc. The driver must have held the B licence for two years before being allowed to participate in the training course. If the driver can prove that in the previous five years they have a history of driving light motorcycles or motor tricycles, these rules do not apply.
- Further information on the A1 licence (in French)
Licence validity period
Standard driving permits from group A and B, delivered since 2013, are valid for 15 years, after which they must be renewed. Licences from groups C, CE, D and DE (those permitting driving heavy vehicles or passenger transport vehicles) must be renewed every five years; a medical certificate must accompany the renewal application. Licences issued before 2013 are valid until 19 January 2033. If the old type of licence is exchanged for the new type it will be valid for 15 years from the date the new licence is issued.
Change of Name and Address
The name on your French driving licence is your name at birth. Your married name may be registered in the driving licence database but this does not change the name on the driving licence itself.
It is not necessary to change the address on a French driving licence when moving house in France, however, the vehicle registration document must be updated with the new address. This has to be done online via the official Agence nationale des Titres Sécurisées – ANTS website. Note: French driving licences issued after September 2013 do not have the address of the driving licence holder on them.
See the next page on the French Driving Test for details of what the test involves and how to get your new driving licence when you have successfully passed.
- More information on driving licences from Service Public (in French)