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British Ambassador to France: If you have not applied, apply now!

Every month the British Ambassador to France, Ed Llewellyn, shares an insight into his role. Here, read his column for July 2021

'Good news about driving licences this month', says British Ambassador to France, Ed Llewellyn. 'Find more information about this in our Living in France guide' Pic: Flystock / Shutterstock

I’d like to open this month’s column by speaking directly to any Britons in France who arrived before January 1, 2021, and who have not yet applied for their Withdrawal Agreement Residency Permit.

Please apply today, even if you are reading this in July and have missed the June 30 deadline.

The portal remains open for now and you should apply as soon as possible. It’s important you still apply to regularise your status and to protect your rights in France.

If you’re not sure where to start, see our online Living In France guide, and for those people who need additional support, the government-funded UK Nationals Support Fund can provide more tailored help. If you’ve applied and are waiting to hear back, please be reassured that prefectures are working their way through applications. If it has been several months, check your prefecture website in case they have posted information about processing times.

If you have a particular concern, you may wish to contact them directly, or the Interior Ministry via the email address in the application portal.

I am delighted this month to be able to give you some good news about driving licences. If you have a valid UK licence issued before January 1, 2021, you can drive in France until it expires, at which point you can exchange it for a French licence. If your licence was issued after January 1, 2021, you should exchange it within one year from the date of your residency permit.

If your UK licence has expired, or has less than six months’ validity remaining, you should apply to exchange it on the Agence Nationale des Titres Sécurisés (ANTS) website. Although you won’t be able to drive immediately, once your application is registered, you will receive a document confirming your right to drive, which you can use until your new licence arrives.

You can find more information about this in our Living in France guide. 

June has been a busy month.

At the beginning of the month, I travelled to Toulon where the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group completed three days of joint exercises with the French Navy’s aircraft carrier FS Charles de Gaulle, aircraft and ships. The landmark UK Carrier Strike Group deployment will cover 26,000 miles, visiting more than 40 countries and it was fantastic to be there as it arrived in France: a powerful example of our two countries’ long-standing co-operation on defence.

I was reminded again of our long history of working together at the opening of the British Normandy Memorial, a few days later. Under a blazing June sun, I inaugurated the monument which records the names of all those under British command who died in the Normandy campaign of 1944. We were honoured to be joined by a British veteran who now lives in Normandy – David Mylchreest – and an American, Charles Shay, a combat medic on Omaha Beach.

Sadly, Covid meant veterans were unable to join us from the UK, but many watched the ceremony online and I hope it won’t be long before they are able to visit in person.

Later in June, in Cornwall, world leaders gathered for the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay. I remember accompanying the Prime Minister to the G7 Summit in Biarritz two years ago, and the sunny, coastal pictures reminded me of that trip.

This year, the G7 made great progress on climate change, distributing coronavirus vaccines across the world, agreeing a deal to create a fairer global tax system, and improving access to education for girls.

With that, I will wish you a lovely July. I hope you are able to make the most of the (hopefully) pleasant weather, and the re-opened cafes, restaurants, shops and museums.

Related stories

Official French driving licence site now open to swap UK licences

British Ambassador to France: June 30 deadline for WA cards is looming

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