Speeding fine in France: Do I need to swap to a French licence?

British residents of France with valid driving licences are not generally required to change to a French licence, but there are exceptions

The UK driving licences of people living in France must be exchanged for a French licence in certain circumstances
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Reader Question: I am living in France and have a UK driving licence. I have received a speeding fine. Do I have to change to a French licence and, if I do, how do I change it?

Generally, British people who are resident in France can continue to use UK driving licences issued by January 1, 2021 and which are still valid.

If your UK licence was issued after January 1, 2021, it will remain valid for one year after the date when your long-stay visa is validated after coming to France (or from issue of your carte de séjour if your visa requires you to apply for one within three months) and you need to apply to exchange it before then.

However, France’s Code de la route highway code states: “The exchange of a [UK] driving licence for a French licence is obligatory when the holder has committed, on French territory, an infraction of this code which has resulted in a penalty or a suspension, the loss of points or the loss of the right to drive.

“Failing to carry out this exchange [...] is punishable by a fine of the fourth degree [€135].”

So, if you are resident in France and have received a speeding fine, yes, you will need to exchange your UK licence for a French one.

You would also be required to carry out the swap if your UK driving licence expired, was stolen, lost or damaged.

How to exchange licences

If you have an EU licence – or British licence issued before January 1, 2021 – and you are required to exchange for a French permit because of a driving offence, you can apply online.

Read more: Official French driving licence site now open to swap UK licences

Swaps are carried out through the ANTS service at permisdeconduire.ants.gouv.fr, which will ask you to create an account, enter your details, upload your supporting documents and provide a photograph of yourself.

However, Connexion readers have repeatedly reported issues and delays with the driving licence swap process, which is taking about seven months to complete as of this month.

If you are experiencing such problems, you can call ANTS on 09 70 83 07 07 at quieter times of the day such as 07:45 until 08:30 and 12:00 until 14:30.

ANTS also has an instant messenger service available, which can be accessed by clicking ‘Aide & Contact’ and then ‘VoxUsagers’ under ‘objet’ on its website.

Read more:How to contact ANTS for help swapping driving licences in France

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