French Driving Licences

Find out about getting a French driving licence and driving scooters or mopeds in France...

The minimum driving age is 18 for most categories of vehicles. Learner drivers must be 17,5 before they can pass the practical driving test for cars, and 18 before starting to drive.

The licence B permits a driver to drive a vehicle with a maximum weight of 3,5 tons, which seats no more than nine passengers including the driver. 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.

The 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.

The name on a French driving licence is the name at birth. The married name may be registered in the driving licence database but this does not change the name on the driving licence itself. The change of the name can be carried out at a local Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture. The change is free.

Licence validity period

Standard driving permits from group A and B, delivered since 2013, have a validity of 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

Two Wheels and Microcars

Holders of driving licences from any category can drive vehicles falling under the AM category.

Mopeds

A moped or scooter up to 50cc must be registered and have certain certificates displayed:

  • A certificate of insurance stating: the name of the insurance company, the identification number of the insurance holder and the engine number of the vehicle
  • The proof of insurance certificate

A category AM licence, available for persons over 14 years old, is necessary, and is available after participating in a seven-hours training course.

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

Motorcycles

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.

Change of Address

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. A request can be made by post, or in person at the préfecture or the sous-préfecture.

Note: French driving licences issued after September 2013 do not have the address of the driving licence holder on them.

Further Information