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New laws and changes in France: September 2020

Medical check-ups, language tests, licence swaps - here’s what changing in France this month.

1: Lycée grants

Students  from less well-off families who are heading to lycée have from September 1 to 15 to apply for financial assistance. The means-tested allowance can amount to as much as €933 a year to help students carry on their studies. You can find out if your family is eligible for assistance by completing the simulator here:

2: Medical check-up

Free medical checks for vulnerable people who were unable to access healthcare during confinement will end on September 15. These fully-reimbursed in-depth consultations complexes are for people in “at risk” groups for Covid-19 or with designated long-term conditions (ALDs) and who were unable to see their doctor for usual check-ups during the confinement period. The aim is to check any health impacts of confinement, to ensure they are maintaining healthcare regimes, and to advise on safe deconfinement.

French scientists review Covid-19 saliva testing

3: Language tests

ANYONE taking a language test to apply for French natio­nality should note that they have been toughened and now include a written test. They are also now obligatory to all unless you have a doctor’s certificate giving a medical exemption. The new TCF and TEF tests last 1h50 in total, with listening, written comprehension, a three-question writing test, and an oral.

4 : Cigarette prices

Cigarette prices for certain brands are to change again this month, just two months after others were modified. Some will see increases of 10 centimes for a pack of 20, but others will drop by 20 centimes.

Road speed cuts significantly reduce pollution in France

5: Car pound fines

The cost of picking up your car after it has been towed away has risen. Anyone who has their car removed in France, outside Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse, where the scaling it set by the local authorities, faces these charges:

  • Immobilising boot fitted to wheel: €7.60;
  • Moving the vehicle prior to impounding: €15.20;
  • Collection of the vehicle: €121.27;
  • Daily charges: €6.42;
  • “Expert” fee: €61.

6: Licence swaps

Residents of France who drive on non-EU/EEA licences and need to swap to a French one (an obligation in the first year) must now do it via an online procedure at You need to create an account on the site or use the FranceConnect service.

How to spot unmarked speed control cars on French roads

7: Green bonus

Eligibility criteria for the prime à la conversion – money to scrap a polluting car and buy a new, greener one – have changed again. For it to apply to buying petrol or diesel cars, you must now have a low annual income of less than €13,489 per family quotient part.

Dates for your diary

Tour de France

The delayed grand départ is in Nice on August 29, and the race finishes in Paris on September 20. Strict health measures will be in place.

French rugby

A packed 2020/21 rugby season kicks off on September 3 at Biarritz, who face Perpignan.

Masks and no selfies: Tour de France’s coronavirus plan

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