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Online driving licence route gridlocked

Readers talk about the process of applying for a driving licence exchange in France

Here is an update to your article on delays when exchanging a UK driving licence (Prefecture explains permis delays, September).

My application was received in Nantes on January 11, 2018.

I received a letter saying my application had been registered on August 7 and with a request to send in my licence. Nantes received my licence on August 14 by recorded letter. I now wait but contacted them (using the email you gave: to try to speed the process up as I need a licence for travel outside of France.

I have now been advised in an email that they are currently dealing with applications received in December 2017!

So the improvement you report in your article is non-existent. The process for me has so far taken nine months and still no licence.

The solution for my foreign travel problem is to apply for an international licence and to do this you need... your current licence. I would advise anyone wishing to change their licence to get an international drivers permit before they surrender their actual driving licence.

Jon Lethbridge, Maine-et-Loire


I sent off my application in May this year and thanks to the email contacts you made available I got an email reply in September which confirmed that the recorded delivery of my application had arrived at the office in Nantes.

Since then I have heard no more and am still waiting to be processed. But with time rapidly running out for these driving licences to be processed, how do we obtain a British International Driving Permit (IDP) so that at least we are effectively still allowed to drive in France and the rest of Europe after Brexit?

Can we get assurance from the French authorities that as long as our applications for exchange have been acknowledged we can carry on driving on our UK licence even after March 29, 2019?

Anna Brunsdon, By email


Editor’s note: The prefecture at Nantes admits it has not yet been able to deal fully with the backlog but hopes to clear it ‘as soon as possible.’ It is prioritising demands where the licence is expiring. Officials previously told us that if you have an attestation de dépôt, which lasts 12 months, you can drive while waiting for the new licence.

It says gendarmes are aware of the delays and should be understanding if someone is driving on a recently-expired licence while waiting for an attestation.

We are not aware this would change, even in the case of a no-deal Brexit, but the prefecture did not respond to request for clarifications on this. As for obtaining an IDP, a document which should usually accompany a non-EU/EEA licence in France, the UK does not issue them to people without a UK address. An alternative, should it become necessary, is a sworn translation of the licence.

See this article, about car insurance during a swap.

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