Exchanging a non-European driver’s license

 

Helpful tip: Holders of a European driver’s license are not required to exchange their foreign license for a French license as long as they have not contravened the French highway code. Holders of a European driver’s license can drive with their European license after their first year of residence in France.

To exchange a European license for a French license, click here.



Foreign nationals with a non-European driver’s license, and whose country of origin has signed a bilateral agreement with France, must exchange their foreign license for a French license after their first year of residence. 

To view the list of countries whose citizens may exchange their driver’s license, click here.

 

Where to apply

Driver’s licenses must be exchanged at the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture of the département in which the holder resides. In Paris, license exchanges take place at the local police headquarters (Préfecture de police).

Locate the relevant Préfecture

You must exchange your driver’s license before its expiry date, or one year after the start date of your first residence permit, or one year after the date on which the French Immigration and Citizenship Office (OFII) approved your long-stay visa equivalent to a residence permit (VLS-TS).


List of documents to be provided

It is recommended that you check the detailed list of documents to be provided, which is available from the Préfecture or Sous-Préfecture that deals with this procedure. Depending on the authority in question, these formalities may be performed by mail, online or in person.

  • Cerfa form no. 14879*01 to request a license exchange.
  • Cerfa form no. 14948*01 for color printing.
  • Two color copies of each side of your foreign license and, if applicable, a certified translation.
  • An official document attesting to your right to drive, recently issued by the country in which you obtained your license. It must specify the origin, scope and validity period of your right to drive and should be accompanied by a certified translation, if applicable.
  • A copy of a proof of address.
  • Two passport photos (some Préfectures require three or four).
  • A self-addressed stamped envelope (required by some Préfectures).

If you are a non-European national, you must also provide:

  • A copy of your residence permit or, if you have a visa equivalent to a residence permit, a copy of your passport with the French Immigration and Citizenship Office (OFII) sticker.
  • If your license was issued by a country other than your country of origin, documentary proof that you resided in this country for at least six months. This period of residence must include the date on which you obtained your foreign license. You may also be asked to provide a document attesting to your position as a diplomatic representative in the country in which your license was issued.


The French 12-point driver’s license supplied to you will be valid for 15 years. If you obtained your foreign license less than three years ago, you will receive a provisional license. Provisional licenses are issued with six points. If you commit no driving offenses for a period of three years, you will be awarded a 12-point license.

You will receive a French license in exchange for your original driver’s license. The latter will only be returned to you in exchange for your French license.


Licenses issued in countries located outside the European Economic Area and which do not appear on the list of countries that have signed a bilateral agreement with France will no longer be valid in France after a period of one year. Holders of such licenses will need to take the French driving test.

Individuals who do not speak French can take the driving theory test (the code) with the help of a translator.