As a foreign assignee coming to France you may be confronted to a number of questions related to driving in France during your assignment or expatriation. Is your foreign driving license valid in France during your relocation? As an expatriate living in France, do you need to exchange your foreign driving license or to obtain a French driving license in order to be allowed to drive in France during your expatriation?
The current regulations concerning driving in France
European Union nationals established in France can drive throughout the country with their valid original license; conversion is not mandatory. Note that European and Swiss nationals are allowed to exchange their driving licenses from their 6th month and before the 18th month of residence in France. Fees applicable to the conversion process vary from region to region.
Non-European citizens holding a residence permit have to go through the driver's license conversion process which is a simple administrative one, to be started within one year of expatriation to France. In the event of non-compliance with this deadline, it will be mandatory for the expatriate or foreign assignee to obtain a French driving license. Same rule apply to Non-European nationals holding a long-stay visa and a residence permit. They have less than one year from the start of the validity of their visa issued by the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII).
Conversion of your Foreign Driving License in France
The procedures for converting driving licenses vary according to the country of origin. It is essential to respect the deadlines set by the French authorities.
The conversion request must be made to the Police station nearest to the place of residence. It is advisable to call in advance, as procedures (as well as availability of agents) may vary. Please note that some Prefectures may request that you print and complete an online application form in advance. In other cases, the online application may be enough and finally, some Prefectures only accept forms sent by mail.
Types of Driving Licenses in France
There are different types of permits in France, depending on the size of the vehicle you wish to drive:
- The permit for two-wheeled vehicles,
- The B license for four-wheeled vehicles (which allow driving from 18 years of age and under certain conditions for those under 18 years of age),
- The C and D permit for professionals,
- The permit for vehicles of categories B, C and D coupled to a trailer
Good to Know to Prepare your Relocation to France
Foreign nationals wishing to apply for a French driving license, whatever its type, must first pass driving tests. Adults can enrol in driving schools (usually the easiest way), but it is also possible to rent an instructional car and take courses with a licensed person.
Driving License Exchange Relocation Assistance by Management Mobility Consulting
Your relocation company Management Mobility Consulting assists you with all procedures related to the exchange of your foreign driving license (if exchangeable) and the booking of driving lessons in English or other languages.