exchanging driving licence

17 Replies

My husband and I have decided to change our English driving licence for a French one.  We followed the useful information on this site and went to the sous-prefecture this morning.  We are both in our early sixties so have the green paper English licence.  They asked for an attestation to prove that we have no points on our English licence but when we said they would be on the licence if it was not clean they said they would accept that - time will tell if that comes back and bites us.  Is there such a thing as an attestation from the DVLA.  The second thing is they have said we must have a medical by an approved doctor. of which they gave us a list.  Nowhere have we seen that a medical is necessary for a normal licence.  All the other documents we took seem to be accepted. Can anyone who has completed the process clarify whether a medical is the norm as the process can't go further until we return with the medical documents.  We thougth it was if we were applying for a poid lourds licence which is mentioned on this site. Thanks  

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duxfordman-482363 1422471438

I had the same experience - the reason for the medical is that some of the driving groups on the UK licence need a medical before you can qualify in France. I suspect that if you restrict the groups to just a car, you don't need a medical. I had no queries about points on my licence,  so can't comment on that. Incidentally the medical only costs 25 euros, tests eye sight and hearing, - failed on latter, so couldn't drive 7.5 tonne truck with trailer! Good luck




yorkshire rose-495828 1422520773

Thank you for your reply and to the people that replied privately.  We don't envisage problems with eye test or hearing test and we have no points on our english licence so hope all will go smoothly once the dossier is submitted.

yorkshire rose-495828 1426068765

We have had the medicals and the dossier is with the sous prefecture.  We have now been asked to translate our green paper english licence by an agreed translator.  Was anyone else asked to do this as the cost will be enormous, all the categories we have are listed so what else will it tell them if translated?

We can go and collect the attestation that we have made an application but he says the translation is obligatory.



TASKER-497318 1426092759

Hi  -  could you start again by asking the DVLA in UK for new card licences ?    Its years since I changed my licence but I had to get a fresh copy for the prefecture and it only cost around 5pounds.  When you finally get your french licence you may think you have curiously received HGV and PSV qualifications -   they tend to stamp every catagory then remove them on the inside page -  not sure if its as confusing on the new card licences tho.   Unlike my hubby who does have HGV/PSV and other licences -  his catagories are confirmed but still causes alot of confusion during spot checks.    Also you arent automatically allowed to drive larger trailers or caravans here -  they need extra permits.   


yorkshire rose-495828 1426104057

I think you need an English address to be able to have the new type licence and we have no English address so that is not an option for us.  We are collecting the attestation tomorrow and hope to clarify what exactly they want, the person who rang mentioned the annulation of the English licence so Into think it could be a translated document of accompany the English licence when they send it to the Dvla.  I sometimes have difficulty with the language on the telephone, and he spoke very fast, so hopefully do better face to face tomorrow.


duxfordman-482363 1426106914

there is a thread on


which describes the problem of supplying a french tranlation of a UK licence. It may be possible to get an "Attestation” from the DVLA, but unfortunately it all seems to depend on the attitude of the Prefecture in the Departement you residde in.

TASKER-497318 1426112505

Hiya -  hopefully all will be sorted by the prefecture -   but I found the DVLA UK  very helpful and they provided the paperwork to our french address.    Once you explain it is to exchange your UK licence to a french licence they will send everything here.    I vaguely remember I was put through to a department that dealt with all problems for people who had moved abroad.  We exchanged our licences a long time ago so the system could have changed - but Ive not heard of anyone else having the expense of translating the DVLA paperwork.  But if you need a translator I know a good inexpensive one who is fully registered    Good luck  Carol x

yorkshire rose-495828 1426164611

We have collected our attestion which allows us to drive while the card permit is made, we had to hand in our English licence at this stage.

Re the English licence translation, my husband looked up on the DVLA site our licence history, this shows personal details, categories and whether we had penalty points. He took this on a memory stick and they have agreed to accept this in lieu of a translation. He is taking a printed report in tomorrow and  we can ring in 3 weeks to see if our new licences are ready. 

This info may help anybody else who has been asked to do a translation.

We were lucky that today the person spoke good English and was already familiar with our dossier.  Slowly, slowly catchy monkey.





maybug-988366 1426251353


I'm looking for a translater as per your reply. Would be appreciated if you could forward this on to me


Many Thanks

romakayak 1426371980

I have the UK card style licence and now own a house and live in Béziers, am i suposed to change it for a french one or can i keep it?

yorkshire rose-495828 1426413688

You can keep your English licence as England is part of the EU.  I think if you  have any 'infraction' eg speeding fines that attract points you must change to French so that can apply the points to your licence.  We are changing our licence because when you  reach 70 years of age you have to have a medical in England every three years, this is not possible due to us not having an English address.  We are in our sixties and are committed to staying in France so are getting it done now.

There is lots of info on this site about driving licences or you only have to google search for info on the rules of keeping your English licence.

Hope this helps.


TASKER-497318 1426413762

Hiya -   if you are going to be a permanent resident in France - then you are supposed to change your licence for a French one.    It used to be within 6 months but not sure if that has changed and many people dont get around to changing theirs for years.   Can make life easier to change it -  for insurance - spot checks -  etc 

yorkshire rose-495828 1427299883

We have today received our French permis de conduire.  Thankfully it has the information relating to the original issue date of our English licence as well as the issue date of this new permis.  I am a little concerned that it is issued in my maiden name, The application form and the attestation we received while waiting for the permis asked for 'name of usage' which of course I filled in my married name.  I fly to England in May and have hired a car.  My concern is that my passport does not show my maiden name and of course the credit card I have paid with is in my married name also. I am worried they may not hire me the car because my driving licence name does not match up.

Has any other female come across this situation and did it course a problem.


TASKER-497318 1427306814

Hi    Ive had my French licence for quite a few years and it is the old pink paper version -   on that it says   under name  -  EPOUSE TASKER   no mention of a maiden name   


yorkshire rose-495828 1427358826

I think I will have to speak to the person that handled our dossier at the sous prefecture.  The attestation they gave us while the card permis was being printed said 'Posselt ep BOND' so I thought that was what would be on the permis. I am not sure but I seem to remember something about France returning to using maiden names on all documents unless you told them different.  Because the application form for the permis asked 'name of usage' and the attestation saying both names I thought all would be ok. 

LRV24 1427361960

It is quite normal for your licence to be issued in your maiden name.

yorkshire rose-495828 1427533807

I rang the sous prefecture and you are correct, they say all permis are issued in the maiden name.  I think I will take my marriage certificate with me to England and hope that will be enough should there be a problem with the hire car.

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