Which official French documents can you now carry on your smartphone?

Digital copies are accepted for many purposes

The move to digitising documents became widespread with the Covid-19 vaccine pass
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Many key documents are now accepted in France as digital copies. We look at which official documents you can already upload onto your smartphone and which ones might follow.

People have been permitted to carry an electronic version of their French driving licence on their smartphone since February 14 using the official France Identité app.

The move comes as part of a wider trend of simplifying habits by digitising the wide range of papiers that people in France have to carry.

The precursor of this trend was the TousAntiCovid vaccine passport mobile app, which gained widespread use in 2020 to allow people to prove their vaccination status in order to access public spaces.

While that app has long fallen out of use, and indeed stopped working on June 30, 2023, the move to digitalising people’s papiers is continuing apace.

What documents can you carry on your smartphone in France?

Identity cards: People with a ‘credit card’ style French identity card (dating from after 2021) can upload it to the France Identité app as a valid digital copy.

This electronic version cannot replace the original in all cases and its use via the app is at present largely limited to administrative websites (via FranceConnect).

Read more: What is the ‘FranceConnect’ button used for on websites?

However, there are plans to test its use on trains to let ticket inspectors check that passengers have tickets under their own names.

It will also be trialled in 50 communes during the upcoming European parliamentary elections as a means of voting by proxy.

Read more: Under what circumstances can French police ask to see my ID?

The app is also expected to work for cartes de séjour in the future, however no date has been given for this.

Driving licences: The France Identité app also lets you upload French driving licences that have been paired with a pre-uploaded identity card.

In case of a police stop, drivers can present officers with the electronic copy, which the police can scan using an NFC (near field communication) tag reader.

The system works all over France, following a successful trial in Rhône, Hauts-de-Seine and Eure-et-Loir in 2023.

The authorities point out that the app is voluntary and that there are no plans for it to replace physical driving licences or identity cards.

The app does not work for foreign driving licences

Cartes Vitale: You use an electronic copy of your carte Vitale on the Ameli app in certain regions, with a national rollout expected in 2024.

The electronic version confers the same rights as the card, but only works with services (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc) equipped with NFC tag readers.

Since 2023, it is available in:

  • Alpes-Maritimes
  • Bas-Rhin
  • Loire-Atlantique
  • Puy-de-Dôme
  • Rhône
  • Saône-et-Loire
  • Sarthe
  • Seine-Maritime

Cartes grises: The vehicle identification paper, la carte grise, is earmarked to be integrated into the France Identité app over the course of 2024, however details on this have not been finalised.

Car insurance papers: From April 1, it will no longer be required for drivers to display the green insurance sticker on their windscreen. The stickers are to be replaced by a digital registry, accessible to police.

Read more: Car windscreen insurance stickers to disappear in France from April

A copy for drivers will ultimately be made available on the France Identité app as well. While no date has been announced for this, tests are expected to begin in 2024.

Note: the France Identité app requires a NFC compatible smartphone with Android version 8 or iOS 16.

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