Petition for UK to French driving licence swap passes 11,000

There is no news yet as to talks starting between the UK and France over a licence swap procedure. The issue has left a growing number of Britons living in France unable to drive

19 March 2021
By Liv Rowland

A petition calling on the UK and France to conclude a reciprocal agreement on driving licence swaps has passed 11,000 signatures.

This means the petition, posted on the official website for petitions to the UK government and parliament, will receive an answer from the British government.

It will be considered for a debate in parliament if it passes 100,000 signatures.

This comes as there is still no news as to the French and British having started talks to solve the problem of how Britons living in France can continue to drive here with UK licences.

The French government agreed that those living in France and driving on UK licences before this year may continue to use them legally in France until the end of 2021 and newcomers since January 1, 2021 may use their licence for 12 months.

However it is currently impossible to swap a UK licence for a French one as there is no reciprocal agreement on this between France and the UK, which is required for a swap of a non-EU licence – as the UK licence now is.

Can an International Driving Permit solve the UK licence swap problem in France?

This has left many people whose UK licences have now expired, or will shortly expire, with no way to legally drive at all.

Usually all those moving to France with non-EU licences must swap within one year, otherwise they face having to take a French driving test. This is possible as long as a bilateral swap agreement is in place.

This is not an issue for those with EU licences, who may continue to drive on them legally in France as long as they are still valid.

The wording of the petition states: “Currently no one holding a UK licence can exchange it for a French licence due to the failure to have the reciprocal agreement in place before 01/01/2021. This is causing genuine hardship to many”.

A senior French official told The Connexion in January they hoped the issue would be negotiated and resolved in the first half of this year but were initially holding internal discussions about the problem, to lay the ground for bilateral talks that they expected to propose to the UK.
A British Embassy spokesman told The Connexion yesterday: “We’re in regular dialogue with the French authorities and when they have concluded their internal discussions (it’s their decision to take) we’ll share as soon as we can because we know there are many UK nationals desperate to get some clarity.”

If you are affected and would like to tell The Connexion about this please email news@connexionfrance.com

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