To Request a Licence Exchange

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

Apply to the Préfecture using the forms Cerfa n°14879*01 Demande de permis de conduire (par échange) and Cerfa n°14948*01, Ref.06 Demande de permis de conduire - Format de l'Union européenne.

The following pieces are always necessary to provide, along with the completed form:

  • proof of identity (two copies): passport, residence permit or carte de séjour (copy both sides)
  • proof of address (two copies): EDF bill or rental contract
    • Note: water bills are not accepted in all Préfectures as proof of address
    • Note: some Préfectures may request a taxe d'habitation or taxe foncier statement. The taxe d'habitation is issued by the local Marie annually in October to the resident of an address)
    • Some may request six concurrent utility invoices (EDF or France Telecom bills)
  • Valid original driving licence, two copies of both sides (this may need to be officially translated by a traducteur expert-juré, contact details of translators are available at the Mairie and Préfecture)
  • a student must show proof of student's status for a period of at least six months
  • proof of no suspensions or limitations on the existing licence
  • 2 (sometimes 4) identity photographs

The original documents must also be presented when the application is made. Contact the prefecture to verify if they need additional documents, before going there.

Some Préfectures may request specific self-addressed envelopes, such as La Poste's Prêt-à-Poster Lettre Max

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.

Note: 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).

Note: 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.

Note: Some prefectures also request a copy of the driver's birth certificate although this is not always required it's advised to take one

The licence will be exchanged for one in the equivalent category. Once the French licence is issued, the original is taken and sent to the issuing country. The exchange of an EU licence for a French one is free in many Préfectures.

The delay to have the French licence delivered varies in different Préfectures, and it can take anything from a few weeks to several months. If documents need to be verified to make sure they are authentic, the process may take six months.

Note: A towing permit issued on some licences may not be included in the new French licence.

Paris residents

Application for an exchange is made at the Préfecture de Police licence issuing office.

  • Prefecture of Police Licence Office
    At: 92, Boulevard Ney, 75018 Paris
    Tel: 01 58 80 80 80
    Metro: Porte de Clignancourt
    Open: Monday to Thursday 08:35-16:45; Friday 08:35-16:15

An application must include:

  • Completed, signed application form (available at the office)
  • 4 recent passport photographs
  • The foreign driving licence to be exchanged, with an official translation (if applicable) and two photocopies in colour
  • Photocopy (both sides) of a residence permit
  • Proof of residence in the country where and when the license was issued

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.