Can I hire a car in France with a UK driving licence?

Additional paperwork may be required for those without a French licence

Drivers visiting from the UK should be able to hire a car without too many difficulties, even after Brexit
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Reader question: I want to hire a car for my holiday in France using my UK driving licence. Will this pose any issues and what extra documents may be required?

If you are visiting France for a holiday, it is possible to hire a car using your UK driving licence, either by booking one online before your trip or in person during your stay.

Unlike some other foreign licences, UK licences are legal for driving on visits to France, or for hiring a car in the country, without either an official translation of the licence or an International Driving Permit (IDP).

However, rental companies may have their own additional requirements.

Age limits should also be borne in mind – the minimum age to rent a car in France is 18 but a higher minimum age, often 21, may be applied for both domestic and foreign drivers.

Drivers will also need to have held their licence for at least one year before hiring a car.

In some cases drivers aged under 25 or 26 will be asked to pay a young driver surcharge.

What documents do I need to hire a car?

Because of post-Brexit agreements, you will not usually be required to give any additional documents than those which are usually required for French drivers, with the exception of a valid passport (French citizens can show their ID cards).

In addition, a valid method of payment under your name – debit cards are not always accepted (you should ask first if you are planning to use one) however credit cards are always accepted.

Note that if you reserved a car in advance of going to France you may need to show the card you used for this.

You will also need to pay a deposit.

This is unlikely to be required for a short holiday car rental in France, but the UK government notes that some overseas car hire firms may ask to see your driving licence history (eg. any penalties) when you collect the car, and in this case you may apply for this online, up to 21 days before leaving on holiday.

How does car hire insurance work?

Hire car contracts will probably come with a basic insurance policy, but in many cases this only covers damage to third parties, not to yourself or the rental car, which could leave you having high costs to cover in the case of an accident.

You may be offered fuller cover at an extra cost.

Insurance for young drivers may be at a premium or have a higher excess.

Can you take a UK hire car to France?

It is possible to hire a car in the UK and drive it in France.

To do this, you will need an international motor insurance card (‘green card’) although this can be arranged with the hire company in the UK, to be collected on arrival.

The British government also states that you need a VE103 vehicle on hire certificate.

Note that if hiring a car in France, you may also be able to drive it abroad, under certain conditions – you should check with the rental company to see if this is possible.

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