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

Residents in France with UK licences issued before 2021 do not have to swap them unless it is lost, stolen, or about to expire

Rules on swapping UK licences to French licences only relate to people who are moving to France as their main home Pic: Syda Productions / Shutterstock

Reader question: I am a British national who owns a French property but I am not a French resident. I own a French-registered car with French insurance and carte grise. I have a British driving licence and have heard that British drivers have to change over to a French driving licence by 2023. Is this correct? P.R. 

No, it is normal for your car, kept in France, to be registered here, but it remains acceptable for British ‘visitors’ to France, which is what you are considered to be, to drive on a UK licence in France. 

Rules on swapping UK licences to French licences only relate to people who are moving to France as their main home. 

Read more: Check codes: Clarifications on UK driving licence swaps in France

Where this applies, the rules depend on the date of issue of their UK licence. 

UK licences issued before 2021 are still valid to use in France as long as they are in their validity period, but residents of France should apply to swap them for a French licence if expiry is approaching in less than six months. 

Note that the issue date refers to the issue of your current licence, not the date you passed your test. 

Britons coming to France with a licence issued in 2021 or later must apply within a year of issue of their carte de séjour, or, if they come with a visa de long-séjour valant titre de séjour, then from the date of validation of their long-stay visa by the foreign residents’ body OFII. 

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