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Do I need an international driving permit for a holiday to France?

We look at the rules for British licence holders as well as for Americans, Australians and other non-EU citizens

Some non-EU citizens may need to get an international driving permit to drive in France during their holidays Pic: Kzenon / Shutterstock

Reader question: I am British and I am planning to drive to France this summer for the first time since Brexit came into effect. Will I need an international driving permit? 

If you are planning to drive in France as a British tourist you can simply use your British driving licence. This will be valid for the full duration of your stay. 

You do not need to get an international driving permit or translate your licence into French. 

This is due to a post-Brexit agreement. 

Normally, people driving in France for tourism purposes on non-EU driving licences must either obtain an international driving permit or an official translation of their licence into French. These documents should be used in addition to the standard driving licence.  

This is the case for those driving on a US and Australian driving licence, for example. 

You can see more information about getting an international driving permit in the US at this link, in the UK at this link, and in Australia at this link. Be sure to only go through official sources. 

This option is usually simpler than the translation. 

If you opt for the translation, you must make sure to get the document translated by an ‘official’ translator. If using a French-based one, you should use a traducteur agréé. 

France’s Cour de Cassation has a list of official translators operating in different parts of France. You can find a list of these at this link. Note, though, that it will involve going into a list of all certified experts (not just translators) in whichever area of France you select. It means you will have to search through a long document to find a translator’s details.  

It can be even more complicated to use a French translator living abroad, for example in the US. The French consulate in the US, for example, recommends checking the list of certified translators on the American Translators Association website. 

Related articles

Explainer: Using a UK driving licence as a British resident of France

How to contact ANTS for help swapping driving licences in France

Must British holiday home-owners with cars here get a French licence?

How long does it take to swap foreign driving licence to a French one?

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