The European Driving Licence

Find out how long your EU-issued licence is valid in France...

If you have an EU-member state driver's licence and you take up residence in France, you are not required to exchange the licence for a French one, as long as it remains valid. However, if you want to exchange your European or Swiss driving licence for a French one, you can do so after six months residency in France. This can only be done by post (details on the page Exchanging a Licence).

EU-licence validity and regulations

An EU-member state driver's licence is valid in France provided the following conditions are respected:
The licence is valid in its issuing country (note that licences issues before 19 January 2013 remain valid until they expire, but must be replaced by 2033.

  • The driver has the right minimum age for the licence category
  • The licence mentions whether a person wears prescription spectacles, or is licensed to drive an adapted vehicle
  • The driver has not been suspended or banned from driving in the country that issued the licence
  • The licence was not issued while the person was banned from being issued a licence in France

EU-issued licences have the characteristics of a person's EU country of residence. For example: if you are resident in France and exchange a licence issued in another EU country for a French one, then you relocate to another EU country, the licence remains valid but the regulations and restrictions (such as the period of validity) of the new country of residence now apply to the licence. 

An exchange becomes compulsory if the licence holder commits a driving offence in France - this is so that points can be deducted.

Replacement of an EU licence in France

When the EU licence of a French resident expires, the licence holder must renew or replace it by applying to the French authorities. This is also the case if the licence is lost or stolen (a certificate from the issuing authority may be required). Note: Obtaining a French licence through exchange can simplify matters in case of loss or theft and when obtaining motor insurance. After the French licence has been issued, the original will be kept by the French authorities and returned to the issuing authority.