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Relocation News France

Yet another Procedure for the exchange of foreign driving licenses in France.

Back in 2017, France decided to simplify the treatment of foreign driver's license exchanges by centralizing all requests for the exchange of foreign licenses and international driving licenses (except for users domiciled in Paris).

The Center of Expertise and Resources of Titles of Nantes (or CERT) receives each month more than 24,000 files, more than 40,000 emails and up to 90,000 phone calls. For foreign permit exchange applications, the processing time varies from 6 to 10 months, depending on the number of applications and the country where the driving license was obtained.

Although some difficulties appeared in the implementation of the new procedure, causing a delay in the processing of files, the government tried to stop the obstacles by increasing the staff, training new staff or opening a dedicated line. For the exchange of foreign permits, users can now inquire by phone on the status of the processing of the file at 02 55 58 49 00.

A simple mailing for driving licenses obtained in the European Economic Area.

Since September 2017, people who have obtained their driving license within the European Economic Area can send their application directly to CERT Nantes by post. For the user, more simplicity because it is enough to send the file directly by the post instead of waiting several hours before being able to deposit the file in prefecture.

The exchange of European driving licenses against a French license is mandatory in the following two cases:

-          Application for a new category of license (extension)

-          A traffic offense committed in France, resulting in loss of points, restriction, suspension or cancellation of your license

Back to the Prefecture for permits issued outside the European Economic Area.

Previously identical to the European license change procedure, it is now necessary for people who have obtained their driving license outside the European Economic Area to move to one of the 100 prefectures or 232 sub-prefectures of their residence department in order to pre-register their driving license exchange file.

Once the recording is done, the prefecture is responsible for routing the file directly to the CERT for processing. Upon submission of the file to the counter, a certificate of deposit of file is transmitted to the user, it allows them to drive in France for a maximum of 1 year pending the issuance of their French license.

As a reminder, the exchange of a driving license obtained outside the European Economic Area against a French license is mandatory if you move to France. A permit issued outside Europe is recognized only for one year from the acquisition of normal residence in France.


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(MMC, 28 of March 2019)

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