Frustrated at lack of licence advance

I was interested to read in the August issue of Connexion that people approaching 70 should apply to exchange their UK driving licence for a French one. Good luck with that.

As my wife and I will hit 70 in January, I decided to get ahead of the game and sent off our dossiers in July 2018 (18 months before our birthdays). I heard nothing.

In November 2018, I got through to the CERT office in Nantes by phone. The receptionist told me it was far too early to expect a reply and I should be patient.

She told me there are only two people working in the office dealing with all licence exchanges for the whole of France. She did confirm that our dossiers had been received.

In January/February this year I started trying to recontact CERT. I sent emails begging them to read my mail but received only generic comp-uter-generated replies telling me how to contact them.

I have rung their phone number in excess of 300 times, only to go around the automatic switchboard several times before being cut off. I have sent letters asking for acknowledgement of receipt to CERT and the Préfet de Nantes without receiving a reply.

In mid-July I managed to get through on the phone. The receptionist stated our dossiers were with her colleagues who are dealing with them. She could not put me through nor give me a reference number.

 She would not give me her name and just told me to be patient and the dossiers would be dealt with before January.

Please excuse my scepticism and pessimism.

I will be visiting the UK this month and intend to obtain international driving permits, which last three years and may be long enough for our French licences to be dealt with.

On the other hand, our applications for a carte de séjour permanente were dealt with efficiently at the sous-prefecture de Draguignan and issued in four to five weeks.

Peter ARNOLD, by email

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