UK-France driving licence swap deal has been agreed

Some details of the deal have been revealed and show that many drivers will not in fact need to exchange their licences. There are also measures for people whose UK licences have expired

24 June 2021
By Liv Rowland

A UK-France deal on the recognition and exchange of driving licences has been agreed, the British and French governments confirm.

The UK government has listed the following key points for those living in France with UK licences:

  • If you have been driving on a UK licence that was issued before January 1, 2021 it will be recognised in France as long as it is within its validity date.
          
  • If your licence has already expired or is due to expire you will, when the new online systems go live, be able to exchange it for a French licence. Once you have applied you will receive an attestation de dépôt sécurisée which you can use to drive in France until the new licence arrives.
          
  • If your UK licence was issued on or after January 1, 2021 you will be able to continue using your licence for up to one year from the date of issue of your residency permit. If you wish to stay longer you must exchange it for a French one, but you will not be obliged to take a French driving test.

You can read more about the details here: Q&A: What does the UK-France driving licence deal mean for you?

A spokesman for the French Interior Ministry's road safety section said the deal will be in force from Monday July 28. Driving licence swaps will be possible from that date.

It is expected that exchanges will be made, as usual, at ants.gouv.fr. Users have to sign in with FranceConnect or create an account on the site.

The deal has been negotiated since March and many readers have told The Connexion this year of their difficulties due to being unable to drive legally because their UK licences have expired, for example after 10 years from issue for standard licences, after reaching age 70 or three years after issue for those with certain health conditions. 

Under French rules since January 1, residents could drive on valid UK licences until the end of 2021 or for one year from arrival if they came to France since that date.

Nothing specific on driving licence recognition or exchange was agreed in the Brexit Trade and Cooperation Agreement, meaning the UK has had to negotiate with each EU state individually.

UK government data shows that agreements have been made now with all states other than Italy and Spain, where UK licence holders may need to take national driving tests.

Read more

UK-France driving licences: 2020 swap applications on hold 

Driving licence issue may force me to move, says diabetic

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