Driving in France with a foreign driving license
While driving in France with a foreign driving license is allowed, two different situations have to be distinguished:
- Holders of a driving license issued by an EU country
- Holders of a driving license issued from a non-EU country
Holders of an EU driving license
Any driving license issued by an EU country is recognized in France. As such, and during the period of validity of their driving license, any person permanently residing in France is entitled to drive.
Warning: in the event of a traffic violation or when applying for a new category of driving license, any person residing in France shall have to exchange their driving license for a 12-point French one.
Holders of a driving license issued by a third country (non-EU country)
A driving license issued by a third country to the European Union entitles their holder to drive in France for up to one year, upon their arrival in France. Depending on Resident Permit, the starting date to be considered can vary:
- Issuance date of the French Resident Permit
- Issuance date of the OFII sticker for holders of a VLSTS (Visa Valid as Resident Permit)
The driving license exchange application must be submitted to the Préfecture (French Administrative center) prior to the end of such date. Beyond the time-limit, exchanging the foreign driving license is no longer possible, and the driving license holder will have to take the French driving test.
Exception : foreign students
During the period of their studies, foreign students may drive in France with their non-EU driving license (provided that they hold a valid student Resident Permit). The latter must be valid and accompanied by an international driving license, or an official translation.
For more information, please visit the French government website.
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