A NEW French driving licence is introduced today which gets rid of the old paper format and brings in the Euro-style card to beat forgeries.
It is thought that 5-10% of the driving licences in France are counterfeit and the new plastic credit-card style is aimed to stop this.
The card licence contains an electronic chip which contains basic identity details of the holder, but not, so far, digital fingerprints or other biometric details. It also contains new categories of licence to match European norms.
People who pass their driving test from today will receive the new-style cards from Monday, as will those who have lost their original documents or had them stolen. The new cards are free and drivers who passed their test this year will be sent it next year.
Others will receive their new licences progressively from 2015 until 2033, the final expiry date for paper-style licences. In all, around 38 million licences will be replaced.
Foreign residents who exchange their own country’s licence for a French one will also receive the new-style card.
However, this is not compulsory and European Union citizens can continue to drive on their own country’s licence while they are in France. The only requirement to exchange for a French licence comes if an offence is committed.